Thursday, November 28, 2013


It's Thanksgiving, and hope and optimism ought to be contagious, even for an old curmudgeon like me, but I'm not feeling it. Yesterday Josh Marshall wrote "A Realist's Take on Obamacare," which is a series of reasons why it's rational to expect Obamacare to be preserved and, ultimately, to be a success. One reason Josh doesn't think repeal will ever be possible is this:
By early next year you will have millions of new people enrolled in Medicaid, large numbers of people who have health care covered who couldn't get it at any reasonable price before who now have coverage and you will have large numbers of people who have care that is better or cheaper and often both than it was before. Yes, you will also have people who had barebones policies who will have to buy into more expensive policies with fuller coverage. On balance, those people will tend to be more politically connected and visible, person for person, than the people on Medicaid for instance. But all evidence shows the first three groups will vastly outnumber the last group. I do not think anyone will be able to claw that back. It's one thing to have millions of uninsured or people boxed out because of pre-existing conditions. But once they have affordable coverage, I don't think you're going to be able to take it back.
But he says this at the same time the right is altering the concept of citizenship in a number of different ways. We see this in the voter-suppression efforts in the red states, we see it in Citizens United, we see it, really, in the broad-based acceptance among conservatives of the notion that elections simply don't have consequences if they're won by Democrats. And while we don't know how the Supreme Court will rule on the contraceptive mandate, the right-wing position did get me thinking about Mitt Romney a couple of days ago:

I think the right really does believe that Hobby Lobby is a citizen and people just now learning that they qualify for Medicaid aren't citizens -- or at least the right believes that second-class citizenship should apply to those who are happy that they qualify for Medicaid or subsidized health insurance. I think the right's efforts to dehumanize the less well off would make it a lot easier than we think just to strike millions of people from the health care rolls. I think the right-wing worldview is headed more and more in Mitt Romney's direction -- it just won't have Richie Rich as its figurehead in the future.

I suppose eventually the GOP-voting white heartlanders who also benefit from Obamacare will understand their self-interest -- or at least it seems logical that they will. But I've been waiting for self-interest to change heartland voting patterns for a long time now. When does the future begin?


Frank Wilhoit said...

The Hobby Lobby thing is about faith-based nullification. Never think or talk about it any other way.

aimai said...

Where the ACA changes things a bit for individuals is that it shifts the discussion of healthcare from the rights of the employer (to give or withold) and onto a notion of every citizen as entitled to continuous, affordable, healthcare regardless of the employer. The hobby lobby nullfication movement (thanks Frank!) is part of the pushback but ultimately individuals are going to become used to *being entitled* to health care coverage whether through their employer or in some other fashion.

Lets say that the Supreme Court rules "For" Hobby Lobby--the next congerss will simply fix the issue by creating a new part to the law which entitles people to portability in health care--and which strips Employers of their tax credits for providing health care if hte health care is substandard. There are about a million ways for a Democratic Congress--if we ever get one back--to fuck over Hobby Lobby and other corporations trying to use the religious dodge.

Meanwhile: individual workers will start to recognize that their health care is in fact something that they pay for, and that they are entitled to, whether the employer is the pass through or not.

Frank Wilhoit said...


I'm afraid you're holding the ratchet backwards. Once the "right" to disregard laws because of one's deeply-held beliefs (ohhh, so deep!) has been granted, it will be impossible to take it away.

If personhood is transitive from individuals to corporations, then it must also be so the other way round. And that why I say that this is not about the status of corporations, because some forms of the "deeply-held-beliefs exemption" are already in place for individuals.

This, for example, is what "stand your ground" is really about: the right to assassinate your neighbor in cold blood, because he is too that, or insufficiently this.

Grung_e_Gene said...

'I have coverage for my pre-existing conditions?!? No Take Backs!!!' I shouted.

'Ha ha ha, you're part of the 47% my friend, you don't matter,' retorted Mitt Romney.

'Awww,' says I. 'Well can I at least pay a higher percentage of my paltry poverty levels wages in taxes than you do on hundreds of millions of defered income you claim?'

'Of course, that's what the poor are for,' grinned Mitt as he pressed the button for the 4th floor of his car elevator.