Health Care

Right wing sets out to wreck Obamacare

I’m not a big fan of Obamacare.

I think it is much too complex and doesn’t do enough to hold down inflated medical costs. I continue to favor a single-payer plan modeled on the system in Canada— which has its own difficulties, but where everyone is covered by the same insurance, where healthcare costs per person are much lower than in the US and where people are, on the whole, healthier.

On the other hand Obamacare will enable millions of uninsured people (including those with pre-existing conditions) to obtain insurance and will set minimum standards of coverage for those with often-inadequate insurance– which is far better than what we had before. So while I recognize the program’s flaws, I want it to be fixed where needed rather than repealed– as Congressional Republicans have wasted lots of time trying to do.

Of course if Republicans want to make fools of themselves by repeatedly trying to overturn the law, knowing they have no chance of success, that’s their business. What’s far more disturbing is this:

With the Obama administration poised for a huge public education campaign on healthcare reform, Republicans and their allies are mobilizing a counter-offensive including town hall meetings, protests and media promotions to dissuade uninsured Americans from obtaining health coverage.
FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s – the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.

“We’re trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange,” said Dean Clancy, vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million supporters. The group is designing a symbolic “Obamacare card” that college students can burn during campus protests.

So if they can’t repeal it, some Republicans have concluded, at least they can try to wreck it by keeping young and healthy people out of the insurance pool. It comes down to politics: If Obamacare is successful, Republicans who oppose it will pay a political price. If not, the Democrats who supported it will suffer at the polls.

(The idea of requiring everyone who can afford it to have health insurance was once a favorite of conservatives— personal responsibility, no free riders, etc. It only became an issue when Democrats adopted it.)

I’ll be curious to see how FreedomWorks and AFP plan to convince uninsured people to remain uninsured. Will the Koch brothers offer to pay the medical costs of anyone who refuses on principle to obtain insurance and subsequently suffers a serious illness or injury? If not, isn’t what they are trying to do here rather indefensible?

Perhaps we’ll see a revival of self-reliant Gus Porter, American Mountain Man. Except even ol’ Gus had enough sense to have health insurance back in the States.

Update: Texas Senator Ted Cruz is denouncing fellow Republicans for lacking the guts to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is defunded.