Obamacare Will Work


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Thomas Jefferson Street Blog

December 5, 2013 RSS Feed Print

Editorial cartoon satirizing Obamacare.

It is truly amazing to me to read through the blogs, the press releases from the Republican anti-Obamacare war room, the phalanx of Koch-brothers’ sponsored think tanks and web sites – one message: FAILURE.

Let’s leave aside that their cagey rhetoric has shifted from “repeal” to “a fix,” but that their policy position remains the same: kill it. Republicans will continue their onslaught against the Affordable Care Act because they believe it is a political attack that will work for them and unite their party, at least in the short run.

They complain about the problems with the website, yet they love that it didn’t work well. They are euphoric when it fails. Do they want it to succeed? Heck no.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Obamacare.]

They offer up people who have had problems switching their health care plans, with big smiles on their faces. Another Congressional hearing is called for to condemn the ACA, according to the Republicans.

Peter Roff, one of my esteemed colleagues on this blog, publishes a list from the Heritage Foundation on why the ACA will fail (never mind that much of what Heritage called for is in the law, like the individual mandate).

But forget all that. I would cite much of this list as precisely why Obamacare will work (see Roff’s Heritage list here):

  1. The new plans available under the law will provide better coverage for a better price. This is not a broken promise by the president but the end result. Think about the benefits: no pre existing conditions; no canceling of your plan when you get sick; no caps on coverage; no huge costs for women over what men pay; keeping children on the plan until they are 26.
  2. There will be more options for consumers to choose from, not less. They won’t be forced into inferior plans.
  3. The new approach to Medicaid will allow people to shop for and purchase their plans, not arrive in emergency rooms often too late for help and with exorbitant costs. This will be a vast improvement on where we are now. Sadly, many Republican governors want to keep these people from getting insurance by rejecting federal funds to help with the Medicaid expansion.
  4. The ACA will lead to more stable families with better health care, not penalize people for success or getting married, as Heritage asserts.
  5. There will be better care for women, more coverage, and it won’t destroy our religious liberties. Pardon the sexism, but that is a “straw man.”
  6. Probably the most absurd claim from Heritage is that the ACA is a job killer. If we are providing health care to an additional 30-40 million Americans, it will create jobs in the health care field, not kill them. More doctors, more nurses, more ways to care for patients. Businesses will have more productive workers, fewer who are sick and out of work, and costs will decrease as more people are covered.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

I do have one prediction for my friend Peter Roff and those Republicans who are staking the political future of their party on killing the ACA: When this succeeds, voters will not forget, and they will remember the horror stories of the old system.  The more the focus is on patient care, better treatment through R&D, keeping people healthy, access for millions, the more that Democrats will benefit from the contrast. Republicans should be very careful not to argue too strongly for failure, it will come back to haunt them.