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What if Obamacare Works?

If you listen carefully in Washington, you can hear the tiny whooshing sound that dice make when they are up in the air.  The difference is that when politicians throw them you hear a lot more bluster and babbling.

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is up for re-election in 2014, and he knows just how the next 18 months are going to go for his re-election plans.  It’s a steady diet of scandals and a call to repeal “Obamacare”. He told the Washington Post, “I was in favor of repealing Obamacare long before the IRS scandal,” he said. “It’s the single worst piece of legislation in a long time.”  McConnell added that the health-care law “has an overwhelming likelihood of being the most important issue of fall of 2014 campaign.”

We’ve already discussed how ridiculous the scandal-mongering is, but what if Obamacare actually works?  That’s not an idle question, either, because there is considerable evidence that it will work – for very conservative, Republican reasons.  And at least one key Republican has admitted as much.

ObamaDocEven though it’s not going to be implemented until January, the bids from major insurance carriers are coming in under the Affordable Care Act.  Everyone has been watching California, the largest pool and the place where the tab was likely to be the most outrageous.  The result?  Big insurers like Kaiser Permanente were more interested in not being left out and bid low.  Way low.  The “Silver” or medium level plan that was originally forecast to go for $5,200 per year came in at $3,312 ($276 per month) – 36% lower.  And that’s before any subsidies that poor people may qualify for.  The “Bronze” or basic plan is only $2,064 ($172 per month).  That’s against a typical $5,500 that employers are charged today for coverage somewhere in between the two.

Why so low?  Because, for the first time, real competition and transparency is coming to health care.  The present “system” has almost no features of a free market in that information on cost and quality are simply not available – and the tab is usually paid by a third party (the employer).  Obamacare works precisely because of the free market forces that are built into it – the stuff that Republicans Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole were enthusiastic about when they proposed a similar system in the 1990s, and the very thing implemented by Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts.

Oregon is the best example.  There, one insurer came in with a monthly premium of $169 per month (Silver), while other insurers asked to charge more than $400. But then, seeing  how far off they were, two insurers came back to the state’s regulators and asked if they could refile at lower rates so they could be competitive.

That’s why Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has not only backed Obamacare, she refuses to sign a single bill until the balking legislature passes Obamacare.  She’s made good on that promise, vetoing 5 routine bills as the session winds down.  Where she was once a Tea Party favorite, Brewer understands what a good deal this is.  It’s a deal she can’t let pas Arizona by and claim to have done her job.

So why is the politics still so dicey?  Why did the US House vote 37 times to repeal this extremely good idea?  In the interest of fairness, it’s still a big experiment.  We can’t be sure exactly how it will work when it’s implemented, and there are sure to be some big kinks.  But in terms of controlling the insane rise in health care costs, Obamacare is a huge win – and a win based on the amazing power of market forces used by informed consumers.

That does not in any way answer the question as to why the politics of Obamacare is still so defining, or indeed why anyone would stake their career on its failure.  More to the point, it’s an entire political party that is making this bet –and doubling down, as they often do when they are shown to be wrong.

This is indeed going to be the defining issue of 2014, but probably not for the reasons Sen. McConnell thinks.  Obamacare will be a win – the only issue is how big.  Democrats will run on that success, and smart Republicans would be wise to make like Brewer – put down the dice and walk away.   This game is over.

By 2014 there will only be one question to ask those who oppose this program – are you stupid, crazy or bought?   If the Democrats can muster the guts to be aggressive enough to ask this it will be a long time before Republicans can muster a majority againObamacare?  It’s that good, and looking better all the time.

16 thoughts on “What if Obamacare Works?

  1. Eric, you are quite off base! First — the scandal-mongering, as you call it, is far from ridiculous. The evidence points to several very serious problems with this administration. First, Fast and Furious, which is a scandal that was never resolved. The DOJ didn’t just allow guns to walk across the border into Mexico, they insisted the gun shops sell the guns to straw purchasers even when the gun shops objected. Was that a set up to undermine the 2nd amendment? It sure looks that way.

    Benghazi – if you live in a military town like I do, you learn a thing or two about the military. There are laws in place that say that they cannot cross an international border without the authority of the POTUS. There were teams available to intervene at Benghazi. They couldn’t have gotten there in time to save the ambassador, but they could have arrived easily within time to save the other two who were killed. They were left waiting on a tarmac, called up but not given the okay to go. Why? Well, President Obama would like us to believe that he was never asked to give that authorization, but I have it on good authority that such a request would have been made, so that at the very least Hilary Clinton would have known about it. The White House Chief of Staff also would have been informed and under Standard Operating Procedure informed the president. So somebody is lying.

    Eric Holder’s DOJ violated the First Amendment when they went after journalist James Rosen for reporting on news leaked from the administration. You can research the history and find that this is pretty much unprecedented. The administration has a right to prevent its employees from leaking information and they should punish that, but Rosen is a journalist and the job of journalists is to inform the people what OUR government is doing on our behalf. It is a gross violation of the 1st Amendment for the government to prosecute journalists for doing the job the people want them to do.

    Then there’s the IRS scandal. It may not mean a thing to a liberal, but to conservatives, it matters that our organizations are targeted by the IRS. While Media Matters and other liberal organizations have no problem getting tax-exempt status, “tea party” organizations could not. How many “tea party” candidates were unable to get their message out because the organizations that wanted to help them couldn’t provide the funding? Meanwhile, the Sierra Club could bankroll huge campaigns for green candidates. It’s about fairness.

    ObamaCare, regardless of whether some Republicans once thought it was a good idea, is an economy killer. It’s already ramping up insurance costs AND medical costs. And, if it did “work”, it would afford us England’s oh-so-wonderful health care system. You see, everybody getting health care provided by government subsidy does not guarantee access to medical care, let alone good medical care. In England, you can go to what they call a doctor, who has the education of a physician’s assistant here, to turn your head and cough, but if that PA finds anything really serious wrong with you, your best bet is to get on an airplane for the United States with a credit card. How do I know that? Well, I have a number of friends who are British immigrants who tell me about it.

    I also live in Alaska, where every summer, the medical clinics here are filled with cars with Canadian license plates. Canadians come here for our medical care and they pay out of pocket for it because we provide timely care and actually treat the condition rather than just give you pain medication.

    That’s the reality of both the “scandals” and ObamaCare.

    • I’ll take these in the order I want to:
      First of all, my main contention is that scandal investigations have become a matter of policy for political reasons in the US House, and that is ridiculous. As written about earlier, the memo is very explicit about this and why the Republicans need to do it. If you have a real matter to investigate, you might be more worried about crying “wolf”.
      The AP Scandal is a very real one for many reasons. Was the AP raid retaliation? That’s a very serious charge, and we can’t say on that. Was it legal? The laws as we have them say so, but are they really constitutional? Being a 1st Amendment issue, I think this is indeed worth a lot of airtime – even if the administration did nothing wrong.
      Benghazi – a major screw-up that has rightly been investigated and changes made. Falsifying emails to make it look like more is ridiculous. There is nothing more here.
      IRS – there is no evidence that anyone outside of Cincinatti had anything to do with the extra scrutiny, if there even was any applied to specific political groups in the end. Only one application was denied, and that was for a liberal group. This is far from a serious scandal, but it may well be worth investigating. Keeping the IRS even-handed is very important – but to imply that the White House had anything to do with this is absurd.
      Obamacare – there is no evidence that this will “bankrupt the nation”, and there is considerable evidence growing every day that it will do just the opposite. You want to bet against me here, fine, but I’m quite sure you are wrong.
      Again, the stated policy of using scandals to keep attention away from in-party divisions in the US House is the real issue I have at this point. If one of these is indeed serious, such as the AP one, it is being buried in partisan politics. And you can’t blame Obama alone for that.

      • Erik — first of all, I am not a Republican and never have been. I’m a conservative non-partisan American CITIZEN who is demanding that our government — which is supposed to work for us — reform itself back into the constitutional republic it was created to be.

        President Obama has not been named dictator … yet, and until he is, he is our employee, not our ruler.

        One of Congress’ jobs is to provide a check against the abuse of power by the Executive Branch. Perhaps the Obama Administration should stop violating the rights of American citizens and attempted to undermine the Constitution. The investigations wouldn’t find anything if there weren’t anything to find and they’ve been finding plenty, despite the Obama Administration’s refusal to admit any wrong doing. A failure to admit wrong-doing is not the same thing as being innocent.

      • aurorawatcherak, I can tell you are sincere, so I will give you a sincere reply. If there is anything to these, you have to realize that the policy of pursuing Obama as a distraction from internal lack of cohesion is a hindrance to getting the truth out, not a help. If you have not read my piece here and followed the links (I do try to provide the most original documents I can) please do, because this is a very serious problem – especially if you think these are worth pursuing.
        Again, I think the AP Scandal has a LOT of merit for pursuing, and I hope it is fully vetted in both congress and the press. The IRS one also needs more investigation, although there are no signs that the White House had anything to do with it – but they still require oversight on a constant basis and even the appearance of a breach of faith is a serious problem for that agency.
        Benghazi I would leave aside. Once the faked emails were leaked, that one was over with. We can’t take any of it seriously no matter what.
        My main point remains – a policy of pursuing scandals does no one any good. It is not a substitute for a budget, as one example – and the policy outlined makes it clear that it may come down to that. Such a trade-off should never be an issue.

      • Really?

        Presidents serve at the pleasure of the people. When a president, or his staff, uses the power of his office to favor certain groups of citizens over other groups of citizens, the people have a right to know. When a president fails in the duties of his office to remove Americans from harms way when its within his power to do so, the people have a right to know.

        I would note that Republicans sniffed and called it partisan politics when it was Bush the media was going after. Now that it is Obama, liberals insist that it is partisan politics and nothing to worry about.

        As I said, the people have a right to know because ultimately, it is OUR government. Obama is representing us and when he does that badly, I want to know.

      • Oh, and btw, reality — that would be in the embassy annex when the mortar strike was coming in. That could easily have been prevented, but the reality is that it wasn’t because a president was quite literally asleep on the job.

  2. If Obamacare works as it is supposed to it will turn out to be brilliant. I hope you are right but a few bids coming in is not enough to tell yet. It looks good for sure but we can’t tell.

    • I have not said much about this because it’s such a hybrid half measure it was never clear to me how it would function. Seeing the big insurers do what they were supposed to makes me think it will indeed work now. The incentives are in the right places, apparently.
      We will see, I agree. But the most challenging part appears to be working properly. Whew!

  3. IF Obamacare winds up saving a lot of money it is well worth it. People may not like being put into pools for insurance but that happens all the time with car, home and other insurance anyway. This only makes sense and it should work for the reasons you listed. We can change car insurance and compare rates easily but not on health insurance? Give me a break. Its long overdue to have a system that people can make sense of and I can’t wait for it.

    • That is my feeling precisely. It’s a practical matter more than anything. I consider this the only viable alternative to an actual socialized plan.

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