Class Warfare Blog

September 25, 2013

A Republican Failure to Calculate

Congressional Republicans are threatening to take out the government and/or the full faith and credit of the U.S. if they don’t get their way regarding The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The reason is, they say, is that it is a bad law, it “sucks,” and it will fail. So, unless Mr. Obama agrees to repeal it, they will destroy the economy, maybe the global economy. (Images of Cleavon Little holding a gun to his head in Blazing Saddles comes to mind.)

So, why not just say “we opposed this when it was passed by a Democrat Congress, we opposed this in front of the Supreme Court, and we opposed this by trying to repeal it 42 times, but we have just run out of ways to oppose this, so don’t blame us when it fails.”

It is the perfect out. Obamacare is a bad law, it will fail, Republicans did everything in their power to prevent it from happening, but it ends up getting implemented, failing, and the Democrats are blamed. What’s wrong with this scenario? Government of the type they detest is undermined, more Republicans get elected in the aftermath, etc. What’s wrong with this scenario?

What’s wrong with this scenario is summed up by Gene Robinson of the Washington Post, one of the more level-headed observers of our politics “Republicans scream that Obamacare is sure to fail. But what they really fear is that it will succeed. That’s the reason for all the desperation. Republicans are afraid that Obamacare will not prove to be a bureaucratic nightmare — that Americans, in fact, will find they actually like it.”

So this last ditch effort is a manifestation of Republicans failing to calculate reality: under Obamacare, insurance costs will be held down and more people will be insured, so the public won’t have to pay for the care of the uninsured as much (fewer freeloaders is always a good thing with the conservative crowd, heck even I like that), and for the vast majority of us there is nothing we need to do.

Clearly Republicans don’t believe their own rhetoric, nor can they do political calculus worth a damn.

And get this: I hate Obamacare! The reason I hate it is: why should we allow insurance companies to skim up to 20% off the top to just do paperwork when Medicare has proven that the actual cost of the paperwork is only a few percent? I believe everybody should get basic health care services paid by all of us. Rich people can then supplement the basic service with all of the Cadillac services they want (but not tax deductably) on top of that. The “Basic” doesn’t cover exotic cancers, Siamese twin births, weird shit like that, just the basics. Bad luck happens, but it is not our job collectively to ensure against the worst, just the ordinary (prenatal and postnatal care and births, women’s plumbing issues, broken bones, common diseases, etc.). The taxes needed to pay for this should be less than what the corporations are paying for medical plan premiums right now.

Republicans can’t do this calculation either.



  1. Basic should cover all rare diseases as well. The fact that they are rare makes them much cheaper to insure than common cancers or heart conditions – and no one should be told, “sorry, your codnition is too rare, so we won’t cover you”


    Comment by List of X — September 25, 2013 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

    • The “basic” nature of “Basic” coverage is to make it politically feasible. If reare diseases are chaep to insure, many people will buy that insurance and, down the road, the “Basic” coverage can expand to pull it it. The problem with the Clinton Healthcare Initiative was that everybody wanted in on the action which resulted in a bloated effort that could never be adopted. Start small, expand when possible.


      Comment by stephenpruis — September 25, 2013 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

      • I think it’s not really politically feasible to refuse treatment for certain rare diseases – even for a disease that strikes one in a million, there’ll be 300 people affected. And you know how media and politicians love to take an anecdote and present it as if it were a rule.


        Comment by List of X — September 27, 2013 @ 12:41 am | Reply

        • That’s the challenge. That’s why basic coverage would be called BASIC. Possibly a criterion for inclusion in the BASIC coverage is that a disease must affect a certain proportion of the population over time (has to be somewhat large). There also needs to be a private insurance market for those with the money for more coverage and then charities can hone in on what’s left, the real charity cases. Remember when some medical sob story would be reported and then some poor foreign child would be flown in to the U.S. for special surgery paid for by donations? If that is still happening I haven’t seen it reported (Damned freeloaders!) but that would be well within the realm of current charities, charities that are currently overwhelmed trying to provide ordinary care for huge numbers of folks.


          Comment by stephenpruis — September 27, 2013 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  2. ““Republicans scream that Obamacare is sure to fail. But what they really fear is that it will succeed.”

    Here , here gene. Also, something the Repubs fear is that once Obamacare becomes the law of the land for good is that it will eventually lead to something we progressives want to see – a better platform to catapult a single payer plan into the social mix.


    Comment by lbwoodgate — September 25, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

    • Absolutely! I was shocked when I got my first Medicare bills with the “normal” charges and the charges accepted from Medicare as payment in full. Often the medicare payment was only half that of the ordinary billing. That is the power of a large plan. I want what Canada has.


      Comment by stephenpruis — September 25, 2013 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

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