Monday, January 27, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude - It's Back!

After yesterdays short hiatus:

Young People’s Health-Plan Options Are Fine, as Long as You Ignore the Deductibles!
. . .Sure, procrastination is a reason young people haven’t signed up for Obamacare, but I doubt it’s the primary reason.

The administration insists most uninsured young people will be able to buy plans for less than $50 per month.

Sounds great, right? The GAO offered statistics that show the catch. A non-smoking woman, age 30, buying the plan with the lowest possible premium in the state of Virginia would pay $564 per year, or $47 per month. Affordable! . . . Until you realize the deductible is $7,500. That’s how much she has to pay out of pocket before her insurance pays anything. Maybe in a terrible year, full of ailments, she’ll hit it in autumn.

And that’s a bargain compared to some other states. In Vermont, a 30-year-old non-smoking woman can find a plan with a monthly premium of just $56 per month! Except that the deductible is $100,000, according to the GAO report. Sure, you can get a plan with a $3,500 deductible . . . for $292 per month.
While I'm a proponent of no frill, low cost, high deductible policies for young people, these are so high as to be out of the reach of most young people.  We were willing to pay for such a policy on our kids for sometime after they finished school.  But that was because we expected to pay the deductible if a serious problem happened, because we didn't expect them to have the cash on hand to cover it.  But a $100k?  Why bother?  And why are they so high?  It's the mandates for pre-existing conditions, routine treatments, and the age differentials that are a feature of Obamacare.  Didn't you read it, before you passed it?

How Americans can kill Obamacare, legalize pot:
...there seem to be more uninsured than there were before Obama took office, leaving Jonah Goldberg to ask, "So what was the point of Obamacare again?"
If the program fails, it won't be because Republicans stopped it, despite all the House votes and defunding efforts. It will be because millions of Americans' passive resistance brought it to its knees. Irish Democracy, indeed.

Meanwhile, on the marijuana front, the people of states like Colorado are engaging in an odd, 21st century variety of nullification. Unlike the 19th century John Calhoun version, state laws legalizing marijuana don't purport to neutralize the still-extant federal laws banning cannabis. But the state, and millions of Coloradans, are simply ignoring the federal law and, in essence, daring the feds to do something about it.

State laws, of course, can't neutralize federal law, as the Constitution's Supremacy Clause makes clear. But, bloated as it is, the federal law enforcement apparatus isn't up to the task of prosecuting all the marijuana users in Colorado. And if it tried, it would have to bring them to trial before juries in Colorado, who would probably acquit most of them. There would also be massive political backlash, amplified in the coming 2014 and 2016 elections because Colorado is a swing state. And in response to Colorado's example, other states look likely to follow suit, making the feds' problem much bigger.

So, despite all the federal laws on the books, Colorado has de facto nullified them, and started a process that may very well snowball, all without directly attacking the federal laws, or the federal government, at all. Meanwhile, millions of Americans may be in the process of effectively killing Obamacare simply by staying home.
Yes, but the administration is more sincere about its war on healthcare than it is about its war on drugs.

Drew M at Ace's warns the GOP against providing an alternative healthcare plan, because it can only split and diminish the coalition against Obamacare:

GOP Senators: We're Kind Of Tired Of All The Focus On ObamaCare So Let's Give The Media And The Democrats Something To Attack Us On
Here's what's wrong with this approach without knowing a damn thing about it (beyond the fact that Orin Hatch is involved).

Right now the focus is on ObamaCare and undoing the harm it's doing to individuals and the country as a whole. At this moment people identify as "ObamaCare opponents" and see other opponents as allies in the fight. This is the maximum number of people you will ever have united against ObamaCare. Once you start saying "not only are we against ObamaCare, we are for A, B and C" you start to fracture the anti-ObamaCare coalition and weaken it. You are taking a binary choice..supporters here, opoenents there and making it supporters vs. people who like the Senate GOP plan vs. people who don't like ObamaCare or the Senate GOP plan.

And once some GOP Senators release a plan, that makes it more likely that the House will release a plan so you will further fracture the unity of ObamaCare opponents. And best of all you'll fracture the GOP unity (such as it is).

Right now the media and Democrats have limited choices in covering ObamaCare...ignore it, pretend it isn't as bad as people know it is or complain that the GOP doesn't have a plan. Now the GOP will give them a new and exciting set of options...attacking the GOP plan (while pointing out how in some narrow areas ObamaCare might be better) and the differences in opinion among Republicans about what to do next. Which option do you think the media and Democrats will pick?

Republicans still hang on to this quaint idea that voters are moved by policy positions and white papers. Worst of all they think the media will accurately and fairly cover their policy positions and white papers. Neither is true.
I'm still thinking about this one.  The final point has a certain ring to it; no matter what is proposed, the media will portray it as the worst thing since the "Black Death". Kill it clean and start over.

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