Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Salon's Brian Beutler thinks Republicans are about to make a big mistake. He thinks if they succeed in enacting their latest Obamacare ploy -- the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which would reverse cancellations of existing policies -- it would eventually be recognized as the cause of the cancellation of many other policies:
Like many other Republican attacks on Obamacare, this one is subterfuge -- a proposal that sounds great but in reality would plant the seeds of the law's destruction. The real goal is to deny Obamacare marketplaces across the country the critical mass and demographic balance they’ll need to function properly.
Allow certain people, mostly upscale and healthy, to opt out of the system, and eventually the ability to provide health insurance to those who struggled to get it (or keep it) before Obamacare will be lost.

But, of course, it isn't just Republicans who are seeking to do this -- many Democrats are now backing this approach, goaded on, in part, by Bill Clinton. And -- accurately or not -- we're hearing this from CNN's Dana Bash:
CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash told her network's anchors on Tuesday that the end of the week is the "de facto deadline" at which point the White House needs to have settled on a series of fixes to address the crisis of Americans losing their health coverage. After Friday, Bash reported, House Democrats are going to be backing GOP proposed fixes to the Affordable Care Act against the wishes of President Barack Obama's administration.
Meanwhile, it's looking as if the White House's best counterargument -- stay the course because we're getting the website fixed -- is not going to hold up. The Washington Post reports:
Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.
So if all this is true, the White House needs a plausible set of kludges to get us over this hump and save Obamacare. Otherwise, a lot of Democrats are going to jump ship.

On Monday, Steven Hayward of Forbes predicted with a cackle that Obamacare will be repealed before 2014, with Democrats joining Republicans in the hope of saving their own political necks:
... if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal -- from endangered Democrats -- will occur very rapidly. The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more. Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable....

Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break. They'll call it "reform," and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies. But it is probably too late to go back in many cases. With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.
But Jonathan Bernstein continues to insist that even if Obamacare is modified, it will still be the basis for what emerges, because we can't possibly go back, can we?
But regardless: the law is here, it's being implemented, half a million people have signed up for Medicaid, young adults are on their parents' plans, the donut hole is disappearing and other Medicare benefits have begun, lifetime and yearly caps and rescissions are gone...all of that is going to be very, very, difficult to displace.... Repeal? No, we're never going back to the status quo ante.
Why does he believe that? Republicans don't care about these people -- to Republican officeholders and voters, people availing themselves of most of these benefits are "takers." (This is true even of Republican voters who are beneficiaries themselves.) And it's not as if the beneficiaries themselves are going to take to the streets or airways or op-ed pages in effectively large numbers to demand the preservation of these benefits -- if there's anything we should have learned in the 33 years since Ronald Reagan's election, it's that America's have-nots simply don't have the inclination or ability to fight on behalf of their own economic self-interest. And even if they do fight, the wired-for-Republicans Beltway establishment will be much less inclined to highlight these victims than it has been in recent weeks to highlight the Dylan Ratigans and Lori Gottliebs whose Obamacare sticker-shock complaints advance the message of the right-wing noise machine.

And besides: if benefits are lost and voters are upset, Republicans will just blame it on the Democrats. They will have signed on to the changes, after all. Republicans would love to have Democrats' fingerprints on this, the same way they want Democrats' fingerprints on a budget "grand bargain" that guts Social Security and Medicare, because it would really undermine the perception that Democrats care for ordinary people.

All of this is a long way of saying: this thing needs to be saved or it really might be completely lost.

Would we ever repeal a health benefit program that's been enacted? Hayward reminds us that, in the not-so-distant past, we did:
This wouldn't be the first time that a health care entitlement was repealed. The same thing happened in the late 1980s with catastrophic coverage for seniors. Because seniors were made to pay for their benefits under that scheme, the uproar forced Congress to repeal the measure barely a year after it went into effect.
Ordinary people aren't like the rich. We don't treat everything we get from government as a birthright. We won't fight to save Obamacare's benefits. So it's up to the White House and congressional Democrats to save them -- right now.


Victor said...

Don't these gutless Democratic weasels realize that if they go through with this, they will all 'hang separately?"

And that the only hope that they have NOT to hang separately, is to STICK TOGETHER?!?!?!

No, of course not.
We're talking about gutless Democrats.

Thanks, Bill Clinton - you triangulating motherfucker!

Make that "Intern-fucker!"

If you stuck to fucking Chelsea's mother, this country wouldn't be anywhere near the mess we're in!!!


Steve M. said...

Kos has been on Twitter this morning insisting that there's no Democratic split, because the White House is promising a fix. I hope he's right.

Victor said...

First off, many of the people bitching about their issues with PPACA are like that Ms. Gottlieb, who wrote that NY Times Op-ed.

They had really sh*tty high-minimum/low-cost plans, because they ARE AFFLUENT, and could subsidize the minimum, and any additional costs, out of their savings - or, by cashing in some investments.

There are genuinely poor people who also had really sh*tty high-minimum/low-cost plans who AREN'T AFFLUENT - they could afford the low-monthly bill, but who couldn't afford to pay the high-minimum, let alone any additional costs.

If something serious happened, they were seriously f*cked!!! Like 'sell your house, be homeless, and live in your car - if you've still got one,' F*CKED!!!

THOSE are the people we should be worried about - not the people frequently written about in the NY TImes "Styles" section. You know the articles - about how tough it is for a couple who "only" makes $600,000 a year, to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, and still keep up their lifestyle.

Second, and finally, when Bush's Plan D fustercluck rolled out, I was living in NC, and it took me over two weeks, and pretty much every waking moment I had from my job, for me to figure out which plans my parents, who lived in NY, should take.

Did the Democrats try to endlessly repeal it, did they grandstand over the problems, did they try to roll the plan back, did they come up with some bullsh*t like this 'Keep Your (Sh*tty) Health Care Act?"


They worked with the Republicans to help fix it!!!
It took a long time - but eventually, Part D was fixed!

Don't look for the same courtesy in return.
NEVER look for courtesy from Conservatives.
They are ruthless motherfuckers!

And certainly, no courtesy has been, and won't be, extended in this case.
The Republicans HATE that Kenyan SocialiFasciCommiMusliHeathen N-word Usurper WITH THE HEAT OF A TRILLION SUNS!!!

Steve M. said...

Exactly right.

Examinator said...

I'm confused!
Grandfathering simply means allowing those who have existing plans can be maintained.
It doesn't allow for other rich to swap or new members.

In essence the numbers for these "existing" plans would drop below critical mass and economic cross subsidising...(see opportunity costs) and eventually the Insurance companies would kill them off.
Short answer the pool of rich "existing plan holders would find them selves in a dead end plan"
As technology expands , new procedures etc they would be excluded from the existing plans"... in effect...planned obsolescence.
I understood that was the point of the next post.

In Aus they use that same reasoning from discouraging plan hopping by including the exclusion clause "previously existing ailments" on new members.
E.g. If I were to change insurance companies my existing issues would be excluded or there would be an extensive 'no claim period' i.e. (confinement.. birth) are excluded for 12 months. Not that it's possible for me or my wife.