Monday, March 31, 2014

The Truth About Obamacare in One Short Article

Paul Krugman surpasses himself in his description of the problem with the Republican problem with Obamacare. After reading it, I realize that the GOP has been more than disingenuous about the whole thing (granting that it might be that some of them are inordinately stupid and can't analyze their way out of a brown paper bag).

Here's why the GOP can't replace Obamacare with a plan suitable to conservative sensibilities:
But Ross Douthat, in the course of realistically warning his fellow conservatives that Obamacare doesn’t seem to be collapsing, goes on to tell them that they’re going to have to come up with a serious alternative.
But Obamacare IS the conservative alternative, and not just because it was originally devised at the Heritage Foundation. It’s what a health-care system that does what even conservatives say they want, like making sure that people with preexisting conditions can get coverage, has to look like if it isn’t single-payer.
That's it in a nutshell. If we can't please the conservatives with a plan of their own device, we can never please them.
I don’t really think one more repetition of the logic will convince many people, but here we go again. Suppose you want preexisting conditions covered. Then you have to impose community rating — insurers must offer the same policies to people regardless of medical history. But just doing that causes a death spiral, because people wait until they’re sick to buy insurance. So you also have to have a mandate, requiring healthy people to join the risk pool. And to make buying insurance possible for people with lower incomes, you have to have subsidies.
And what you’ve just defined are the essentials of ObamaRomneyCare. It’s a three-legged stool that needs all three legs. If you want to cover preexisting conditions, you must have the mandate; if you want the mandate, you must have subsidies. If you think there’s some magic market-based solution that obviates the stuff conservatives don’t like while preserving the stuff they like, you’re deluding yourself.
So I'm not deluding myself. What are we left with?
What this means in practice is that any notion that Republicans will go beyond trying to sabotage the law and come up with an alternative is fantasy. Again, Obamacare is the conservative alternative, and you can’t move further right without doing no reform at all.
That's it. This is about denying Obama and the Democrats anything resembling a victory. It has nothing to do with ideological differences. The GOP already won the ideological battle. Dems gave them their dream healthcare reform. The GOP rejected it because Obama. That's the only thing that makes sense.

Right? What am I missing? I suspect nothing.

Update. A poll shows Obamacare support eclipsing opposition for the first time. Progress...

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