RSN August 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Reich writes: "Every Republican in Washington has been programmed to use the word 'disaster' whenever mentioning the Act, always refer to it as Obamacare, and demand its repeal."

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)


Three Obamacare Truths That the Republicans Ignore

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

23 November 13

 

aving failed to defeat the Affordable Care Act in Congress, to beat it back in the last election, to repeal it despite more than eighty votes in the House, to stop it in the federal courts, to get enough votes in the Supreme Court to overrule it, and to gut it with outright extortion (closing the government and threatening to default on the nation's debts unless it was repealed), Republicans are now down to their last ploy.

They are hell-bent on destroying the Affordable Care Act in Americans' minds.

A document circulating among House Republicans (reported by the New York Times) instructs them to repeat the following themes and stories continuously: "Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance." "Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs." "The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk."

Every Republican in Washington has been programmed to use the word "disaster" whenever mentioning the Act, always refer to it as Obamacare, and demand its repeal.

Republican wordsmiths know they can count on Fox News and right-wing yell radio to amplify and intensify all of this in continuous loops of elaboration and outrage, repeated so often as to infect peoples' minds like purulent pustules.

The idea is to make the Act so detestable it becomes the fearsome centerpiece of the midterm elections of 2014 - putting enough Democrats on the defensive they join in seeking its repeal or at least in amending it in ways that gut it (such as allowing insurers to sell whatever policies they want as long as they want, or delaying it further).

Admittedly, the President provided Republicans ammunition by botching the Act's roll-out. Why wasn't HealthCare.gov up and running smoothly October 1? Partly because the Administration didn't anticipate that almost every Republican governor would refuse to set up a state exchange, thereby loading even more responsibility on an already over-worked and underfunded Department of Health and Human Services.

Why didn't Obama's advisors anticipate that some policies would be cancelled (after all, the Act sets higher standards than many policies offered) and therefore his "you can keep their old insurance" promise would become a target? Likely because they knew all policies were "grandfathered" for a year, didn't anticipate how many insurers would cancel right away, and understood that only 5 percent of policyholders received insurance independent of an employer anyway.

But there's really no good excuse. The White House should have anticipated the Republican attack machine.

The real problem is now. The President and other Democrats aren't meeting the Republican barrage with three larger truths that show the pettiness of the attack:

The wreck of private insurance. Ours has been the only healthcare system in the world designed to avoid sick people. For-profit insurers have spent billions finding and marketing their policies to healthy people - young adults, people at low risk of expensive diseases, groups of professionals - while rejecting people with preexisting conditions, otherwise debilitated, or at high risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And have routinely dropped coverage of policy holders who become seriously sick or disabled. What else would you expect from corporations seeking to maximize profits?

But the social consequences have been devastating. We have ended up with the most expensive healthcare system in the world (finding and marketing to healthy people is expensive, corporate executives are expensive, profits adequate to satisfy shareholders are expensive), combined with the worst health outcomes of all rich countries - highest rates of infant mortality, shortest life spans, largest portions of populations never seeing a doctor and receiving no preventive care, most expensive uses of emergency rooms.

We could not and cannot continue with this travesty of a healthcare system.

The Affordable Care Act is a modest solution. It still relies on private insurers - merely setting minimum standards and "exchanges" where customers can compare policies, requiring insurers to take people with preexisting conditions and not abandon those who get seriously sick, and helping low-income people afford coverage.

A single-payer system would have been preferable. Most other rich countries do it this way. It could have been grafted on to Social Security and Medicare, paid for through payroll taxes, expanded to lower-income families through Medicaid. It would have been simple and efficient. (It's no coincidence that the Act's Medicaid expansion has been easy and rapid in states that chose to accept it.)

But Republicans were dead set against this. They wouldn't even abide a "public option" to buy into something resembling Medicare. In the end, they wouldn't even go along with the Affordable Care Act, which was based on Republican ideas in the first place. (From Richard Nixon's healthcare plan through the musings of the Heritage Foundation, Republicans for years urged that everything be kept in the hands of private insurers but the government set minimum standards, create state-based insurance exchanges, and require everyone to sign up).

The moral imperative. Even a clunky compromise like the ACA between a national system of health insurance and a for-profit insurance market depends, fundamentally, on a social compact in which those who are healthier and richer are willing to help those who are sicker and poorer. Such a social compact defines a society.

The other day I heard a young man say he'd rather pay a penalty than buy health insurance under the Act because, in his words, "why should I pay for the sick and the old?" The answer is he has a responsibility to do so, as a member the same society they inhabit.

The Act also depends on richer people paying higher taxes to finance health insurance for lower-income people. Starting this year, a healthcare surtax of 3.8 percent is applied to capital gains and dividend income of individuals earning more than $200,000 and a nine-tenths of 1 percent healthcare tax to wages over $200,000 or couples over $250,000. Together, the two taxes will raise an estimated $317.7 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Here again, the justification is plain: We are becoming a vastly unequal society in which most of the economic gains are going to the top. It's only just that those with higher incomes bear some responsibility for maintaining the health of Americans who are less fortunate.

This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it, perhaps because they're reluctant to admit that the Act involves any redistribution at all.

Redistribution has become so unfashionable it's easier to say everyone comes out ahead. And everyone does come out ahead in the long term: Even the best-off will gain from a healthier and more productive workforce, and will save money from preventive care that reduces the number of destitute people using emergency rooms when they become seriously ill.

But there would be no reason to reform and extend health insurance to begin with if we did not have moral obligations to one another as members of the same society.

The initial problems with the website and the President's ill-advised remark about everyone being able to keep their old policies are real. But they're trifling compared to the wreckage of the current system, the modest but important step toward reform embodied in the Act, and the moral imperative at the core of the Act and of our society.

The Republicans have created a tempest out of trivialities. It is incumbent on Democrats - from the President on down - to show Americans the larger picture, and do so again and again.



Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+43 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-11-23 08:05
With my own reluctant attempt at being "Fair and balanced", I do occasionally begrudgingly pause on Fox to sniff what O'Reilly, Stossel, and Hannity are promoting.

'twould be easiest to count the times they are NOT focused on "Obamacare disaster" nor on the venerable fall-backs, Benghazi-gate and IRS-gate.
 
 
+7 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-23 19:51
Never offer Stossel, O'Reilly or Hannity Ex-LAX. They have corks up theit butt.
 
 
+11 # jmcg 2013-11-24 01:46
Never give Stossel, O'Reilly or Hannity an enema. They'd disappear.
 
 
+3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-24 10:07
Funny, but "true."
 
 
+1 # jmcg 2013-11-24 14:48
Funny because it's true! :)
 
 
+38 # jshearouse 2013-11-23 08:16
It should be obvious that in order to maintain our position as "the Greatest Country in the World", we must have at least 30 million (and perhaps fifty or one hundred million) citizens without access to medical care. Isn't that part of what makes us so great?
 
 
+35 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-23 08:56
Good post. We will know when and if Democracy is working when the Republicans start to complain about the world of hurt they endure because of the world on hurt they place on the U.S. citizens. And the citizens fight back.
 
 
+34 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-11-23 11:55
Recently, traveled to Oregon. My uncle's funeral. His daughter is a nurse, doctorate in psychology. Comment from me to her:"countless times the House has repealed the Affordable Care Act. Your take?" Her reply,"remember , the saying, 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." She suggested that the House is, angry, mad, therefore insane. Up until that moment,suggesti ng insanity, the House, I did not consider the House to be insane. At least in this instance, I do now. Progressive's take note:you're winning on this matter, the Affordable Care Act.
 
 
-85 # MidwesTom 2013-11-23 08:36
It is my understanding that the when they talk of the 30 million without health care, that number includes 12 million illegals, and 13 million young adults who simply have chosen not to buy insurance. This leaves roughly 5 million US citizens without health care who will benefit. The biggest winners are those with pre-existing conditions who could not get insurance before.

The financial success of the program is dependent on cutting doctors pay, and signing up young people. In Kentucky the target was for 38% of the signees to be between 18 and 38, however, as of yesterday only 19% of the signees are in that age bracket.

The program wil be successful, but it is either going to cost taxpayer s a lot of money, or decrease the benefits now being offered by the various plans.
 
 
+33 # Madmedic 2013-11-23 09:02
Quoting MidwesTom:
It is my understanding


With these four words you admit that you don't know WTF you are writing about. Give it a rest. No one on this site is interested in your neo fascist "understanding( s)."
 
 
+12 # Freedom13 2013-11-23 09:12
Not everyone wants just one side of the story. Please don't speak for the rest of us. I happen to be married to a Republican with whom I disagree on almost everything political. He bashes RSN because it's one-sided. I would like someone to respond with more factual information on this than just you bashing the originator.
 
 
+42 # Madmedic 2013-11-23 10:01
[quote name="Freedom13 " I would like someone to respond with more factual information on this than just you bashing the originator.

See reiverpacific's excellent rebuttal.


I'm sick of liberal's having to apologize whenever they disagree with a right winger who simply spouts the neo fascist rhetoric they are hearing from Rush, Sean and Faux news. With such supposed "progressives" it's no wonder that the Republicons are able to get away with all of the gerrymandering, voter denial crap they are engaging in.

BTW, "it is my understanding" is one of the oldest tricks in the book to set up a hasty retreat when a particular speaker (usually a lawyer, politician or other self anointed expert on a subject) doesn't know what they are talking about and knows full well that what they are going to say (or write) may very well be proven wrong.

As for the figures MWT cites, what is so dastardly or shocking about there being "12 million illegals" in the 30 million in this country without health care (if that's even true)? Just another right wing straw man argument against any kind of health care reform.

Actually, it's a neo-fascist "twofer" as it not only maligns the affordable Care Act as supposedly offering health care to 12 million of "those people" but implies (as reiverpacific so aptly rebuts) that these "others" are interested in getting something for nothing.

Study various propaganda techniques to figure out what MWT is trying to do here.
 
 
+1 # kitster 2013-11-26 17:37
there are plenty of right wing sites on the internet that won't even take comments from people that don't agree with them. your hubby should shut up and sign on to one or more of these sites. it seems his thirst for misinformation that violates his own best interests is unquenchable. or are you part of the "favored" 1%?
 
 
-32 # Merschrod 2013-11-23 09:28
FOUL! Easy Madness, let's be civil; Tom has his right.
 
 
+10 # bingers 2013-11-24 04:20
Quoting Merschrod:
FOUL! Easy Madness, let's be civil; Tom has his right.


Yes, the right to always be wrong. I can't remember any rational and true post from him ever. There must have been one or two?

Of course he has an absolute right to post, and the contents of his posts are a perfect reason to mock him and denigrate him.

It's far more civil to call him a moron than it is to post the nonsense he's famous for.
 
 
+60 # reiverpacific 2013-11-23 09:17
Quoting MidwesTom:
It is my understanding that the when they talk of the 30 million without health care, that number includes 12 million illegals, and 13 million young adults who simply have chosen not to buy insurance. This leaves roughly 5 million US citizens without health care who will benefit. The biggest winners are those with pre-existing conditions who could not get insurance before.

The financial success of the program is dependent on cutting doctors pay, and signing up young people. In Kentucky the target was for 38% of the signees to be between 18 and 38, however, as of yesterday only 19% of the signees are in that age bracket.

The program wil be successful, but it is either going to cost taxpayer s a lot of money, or decrease the benefits now being offered by the various plans.


You really must get over your preoccupation with "Illegals", it's blurring your vision.
How the fuck are "Illegals" supposed to buy ANY kind of health insurance when they are a) trying to keep a low profile until they can get a green card and b) Be able to afford it if they earn the shit-level wages from what work is available to them as "illegals"or even new "legals"?
It's hard enough affording the lottery called for-profit, insurance-dicta ted coverage in this backward nation if you are self-exploited (employed) or on a low wage job as things are just now.
I've been there.
Please get over your blinkered view of the rainbow nation we should all hope for in time.
 
 
+32 # angelfish 2013-11-23 09:28
As ALWAYS Reiver, you're right on the money!
 
 
+35 # MJnevetS 2013-11-23 13:32
Quoting MidwesTom:
It is my understanding that the when they talk of the 30 million without health care, that number includes 12 million illegals, and 13 million young adults who simply have chosen not to buy insurance.
Well Tom, once again, you are wrong.
First of all, the uninsured in this country are not 30 Million, that is the number who will get insurance through the Affordable Care Act. According to the most recent figures, in 2009 there were 50.7 million people in the US (16.7% of the population) who were without health insurance. (Wikipedia.com) From this number, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (Citation also from Wijipedia.com) "most of the uninsured in the US are citizens (78%)" Thus, there are actually about 39.5 million uninsured CITIZENS, as opposed to 50.7 million HUMAN BEINGS. The 30 Million additional that will be covered under the ACA does not even include all American citizens! (Who ever sees those other 9.5 million citizens anyway?) Your next assertion that 'young people have chosen not to buy insurance', is thoughtless and asinine. If you have no money to pay for food, shelter, education loans, then your 'choice' not to purchase health insurance is no choice at all. It is the lack of finances, not the lack of desire to have protection. I should probably stop fact checking your posts and assume you're full of $h!t, but I'm always scared that another intelligent person with limited time may accept your BS as fact.
 
 
0 # bigkahuna671 2013-12-01 09:21
You have to forgive MidwesTom, he gets his facts from Faux News. Most of these people who are losing their health insurance are youngsters under 40 who prefer to use the emergency room as their personal MDs, then claim they don't NEED required insurance under the ACA. They've gone out and purchased bogus insurance from companies who only cover paper cuts (without the bandaids, of course). These policies are not up to ACA standards which is why these kids are losing their so-called health plans. The GOP and Faux, along with their cronies like Hannity, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly, twist the facts to support their lies. Here in my state, more and more people have been registering, getting health coverage for the first time. Our Republican Gov., Jan Brewer, was smart enough to enroll our state in the ACA, and even though I don't really like her, it's been the one smart thing she's done!!!
 
 
+22 # kalpal 2013-11-23 14:35
You are misunderstandin g, possibly willfully, which indicates you are a typical RW tool. It is obvious that you choose to believe that the only people lacking healthcare coverage are just those who don't want it or are illegals. While I know lots of Walmart employees who don't have it. Maybe they are all illegal aliens but they sure do speak English very well.
 
 
-5 # AMLLLLL 2013-11-23 17:28
Methinks thou hast pronounced too soon. On the right (knee-jerk) and the left (hand-wringers) no one is cooling it until the 1st week of December to assess the viability of online #AffordableCare . There are 2 separate issues: online insurance enrollment and what is effectively group insurance for all. Let's see what transpires here before we go off half cocked.
 
 
+7 # ericlipps 2013-11-24 05:09
[quote name="MidwesTom "]It is my understanding that the when they talk of the 30 million without health care, that number includes 12 million illegals . . .{/quote]
How do you know there are 12 million? They're illegals, after all, which means they don't want to be noticed--so how do you accurately count them?

As far as I'm aware, the "12 million" figure is a wild guess made for political effect. The real number is certainly in the millions, but could be anywhere from 3 million to 30. And it's not going down anytime soon, as long as a lot of (chiefly red-state) employers find illegal immigration from Latin America handy in doing an end run around the Thirteenth Amendment.
 
 
0 # lawyerguy 2013-11-26 17:56
Did I miss something or did MidwesTom engage in a hit and run troll post? I wonder how many other comments he has posted on other websites to divert attention from the issues at hand.
 
 
+53 # ligonlaw 2013-11-23 08:38
To prove that Obamacare is a disaster, the right wing media paraded individuals before the cameras to claim they were harmed in some way. Some of those stories were discredited. As hundreds of thousands of Americans get coverage and treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to them, some of those stories should be told. Lives have been saved by the ACA. These stories would have the added advantage of being actually true. As the Republicans come before the press to complain about the Affordable Care Act, each of them should be asked. "What is your plan to replace the ACA?" Short answer - they don't have one.
 
 
+46 # Working Class 2013-11-23 08:50
I think this is by far the best explanation of why we needed insurance reform I have read to date. How can we justify the pre-Affordable Health Care Act system whose main function was not to care for those in need, but to fatten the pockets of the insurance companies and those who own their stock? The corporate model has no place in health care. The corporate model demands an ever increasing profit margin, with each year's profit surpassing the last. A companies stock to compete in the "market" must continue to grow in value or investment funds go elsewhere. This is nuts when it comes to health care and it results in the schemes described by Reich's article to preserve and increase profit. Never mind the terrible cost to society - growth for the sake of growth is the model practiced by the modern corporation. It is also the philosophy of the cancer cell. We all know what happens to a host if cancer is left untreated.
 
 
+26 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-11-23 08:59
"The corporate model has no place in health care." Mr. Reich continues the chant that the Republicans are the cause of our bad (or non existant) health care in this nation. Both of the two corporately funded political parties have the same agenda---serve the needs and desires of the wealthy people in this land. These greedy people are destroying the earth and harming the working people in their endless quest for more wealth and power. I agree with the Repukelicans and want to trash Obama care, but I want to replace it with Single Payer, Medicare for all! and I am in the majority in this nation. Too bad we don't have democracy where the voice of the people is heeded in the government.
 
 
+23 # Working Class 2013-11-23 09:24
wantrealdemocra cy: "Both of the two corporately funded political parties have the same agenda---serve the needs and desires of the wealthy people in this land." Well said friend. I also support a single payer system and the total elimination of the profit motive from health insurance. In the 90's my union, the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, worked to educate the public on single payer. The OCAW is now part of the United Steelworkers. You are absolutely correct that polling has always shown support for a single payer system. However, I don't see it happening until we address the core problem with government. We must establish once and for all time that only human beings are "persons" with Constitutional rights and money is not speech and can and must be eliminated as the major driver in determining our public policy. Unless and until we do address money in politics our government and our representatives who run it will continue to be nothing more than bought and paid for servants to the few at the cost of the rest of us.
 
 
+37 # jorspe 2013-11-23 08:59
Beautifully done and well connected to the version of reality that I endorse as a yank living in Canada and well positioned to see and understand how an excellent system here has been perpetually and grievously undermined by the right wing in pursuit of their individually self-absorbed goals. Thank you Mr Reich. These sorts of pieces are a public service offered to a society that seems to prefer propaganda. It is so sad and FRUSTRATING to watch from afar.
 
 
-20 # brux 2013-11-23 09:02
> The White House should have anticipated the Republican attack machine.


I hate to say it, after all I voted for Obama twice now, but I could tell in his intlal run that his management style and experience was severely lacking.

He hid his egotism well behind a lot of words, but here was a guy with no experience, and when he got into office - Obama HAD to appoint the people that were already in their jobs BECAUSE HE DID NOT KNOW OR HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH ANYONE ELSE.

Hilary Clinton would have known more people and had a better network, but Obama got everyone excited.

OBAMA HAD TO GO WITH THE ADVICE OF THE GENERALS AND PENTAGON, BECAUSE HE HAD NO OTHER IDEA OF WHAT TO DO AND NO ONE TO TELL HIM.

OBAMA IS STILL DOING THE SAME THING, JUST SO HE CAN BE PRESIDENT - FOR A LARK.

Robert Reich is totally right here, Obama has dropped the ball on almost every occasion and I wager that when the tell-all books start to come out Obama is going to look like a deer caught in the headlights, because he has not really done anything but sit back, delegate and make speeches.
 
 
+13 # Philothustra 2013-11-23 13:48
Good point about the first meeting with the generals, when it was made clear to Obama that the military-indust rial war
machine was going to keep rolling, with or without him.
But Obama did withdraw the troops from Iraq and now from Afghanistan, something the Republithugs would never have done.

Anyway, a clumsy rollout of the ACA is by not means the catastrophe that its being painted as... Who died? Are we
being bankrupted by trillion dollar wars? Is Obama blowing up the World Trade Centers as a false flag operation to drag us into an Iraq occupation?

No. Keep some perspective please...
 
 
+1 # politicaleconomist 2013-11-24 16:47
>>Obama did withdraw the troops from Iraq and now from Afghanistan, something the Republithugs would never have done.

Wrong.

Iraq forced the US out by not agreeing to US demands .. and now Afghanistan seems about to agree to US terms and US bases and troops will be there indefinitely, maybe for only another 11 years.
 
 
+20 # pjmd 2013-11-23 09:04
I continue to be amazed at how naive the Dems are at times. They need to read and re-read George Lakoff's Moral Politics so that they can prepare and anticipate the tactics used against them rather than cry foul when they get blindsided, the way Kerry was with the Swiftboaters.

Knowing that he faces implacable resistance from those who's loyalty is to their party's power, why was Obama so caught off guard? '
The ACA rollout fiasco bears the Mark of Rove, like the Swiftboat attack or "ClimateGate." You've got to admit that they are really good. Why was this not anticipated?? It would have been easy: they attack the strengths, not the weaknesses, of their enemy. You can bet on it.
 
 
+14 # Madmedic 2013-11-23 10:43
Quoting pjmd:
I continue to be amazed at how naive the Dems are at times. It would have been easy: they attack the strengths, not the weaknesses, of their enemy. You can bet on it.


Dang PJMD, Thank you for reminding me of something that I often forget. Rove's main political tactic is to attack the opponent's strongest positive. Once that's eliminated, or a least whittled down to a manageable size, it's all downhill for them from there.

Rove's minions are already employing this tactic in a good number of states in a long range effort to keep the House and win the Senate in 2014.

They are also employing the corollary tactic of getting out there very early with a negative message, so that they can define their opponent in the most negative way possible before he/she has a chance to define him/herself.
 
 
+1 # bingers 2013-11-24 04:26
Which is why, despite his enmity toward Howard Dean, Obama should put him back in charge of election planning.
 
 
+1 # Michael Lee Bugg 2013-11-24 19:06
pjmd, you make great points! Too many of the Democrats are not very smart and even more of them are cowards! They bring their pillows to a knife fight almost every time! They are usually on defense and don't seem to know how to play offense. Partly it seems that they believe much of what the Republicans say about them and partly because the Democrats are afraid to anger the 1% because the 1% make 90% of all campaign contributions! It is hard to fight for the 99% when you tie one hand behind your own back! Obama hates to be called a Socialist or a liberal because he is neither and he from the start has foolishly believed that if he keeps making concessions the Republican'ts would meet him half way. That was never going to happen! The Democrats never seem to be able to even use basic compare and contrast tactics to defend their positions, and if they don't understand Republican tactics by now they are just blind! Every time the Republicans are down for the count Obama and the Democrats not only let them up but let them reclaim the initiative! I can not believe that neither Obama or anyone of his close advisers did not realize that his promise that if you like your policy you can keep it was stupid because so many people have policies that are a farce! If they had bothered to watch Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko" over five years ago they would have known this. Really sad.
 
 
+33 # Nell H 2013-11-23 09:19
We have become an insensitive, immoral country. Blame the poor for being poor. Enjoy your Thanksgiving food and deny food stamps to the poor. Blame the poor for not being able to find jobs while the rich pay so little that many employees are on welfare -- how else should the government support Walmart?
 
 
+25 # donnazor 2013-11-23 09:32
Only two things that matter:
Why are insurance companies even IN this game? One answer: PROFIT, which has NO place in healthcare and our lives.
And as to the brilliant young man who complained that he didn't want to pay for the coverage of others less fortunate than himself...
Remind him that he already DOES pay for them.
 
 
+12 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-11-23 09:59
I recently spoke up and out for a local official whose ability to enforce extremely vital regs. has been quashed, with dreadful, life, health, and well being of totally disabled being threatened now, all under the guise of the neocon ploy of 'no big government allowed'. I stressed the need for carefully crafted regs. that are heftily enforced.

And, following up on a number of questions re. A.C.A., I also mentioned the need for the aforementioned regs. and enforcement of same. This I said with the addition of a personal experience - suddenly being turned down for payment of my doctor's scripted biopsy, with the biggie insurance company I was using claiming no coverage. I sent them a certified letter immediately, using legal jargon, and telling them I would see them in court. Suddenly, they paid.

A few years later, a recently retired administrator of that same national 'biggie' insurance company opened up to me re. what the company's method of operating was and had been for some time - to at random refuse payment of such legit claims as mine, based on the company's knowing that most of those whom they insured not having the money or the moxie to force payment.

What think you, prof. and RSN readers - could the A.C.A. loom poor/useless, unless put under heftily enforced regs. (i.e. mandatory sentencing and or substantial fines, along with pulling away of corporate shelters and loopholes)?
 
 
+11 # John Escher 2013-11-23 10:04
Perhaps the free world should circulate a memo naming the obstructionists who are even dumber than the others, and making sure that everybody calls them very dumb, over and over, as they actually are.

Is it even necessary for me or anybody to name the most prominent members of the group? No, everybody-- consciously or not-- knows who they are.

The mistake is when somebody suggests that they are somehow smart-- simply not so.
 
 
+11 # Arianna 2013-11-23 10:08
Anyone who reads the CIA country comparison website knows how terrible our health results and health costs are. But is it politically possible to get single payer or medicare for all? Maybe we will have to start state by state? California almost succeeded, but a Republican governor defeated the bill.
 
 
+16 # reiverpacific 2013-11-23 10:51
Re' the title of the article.
Can anyone remember a "Truth" that the current crop of Repiglicans (I really must stop insulting pigs and find a new name for these "Foreheads Villainous Low" clutch of criminals) actual acknowledged or even understood.
Their very currency is unsubstantiated lies, noire fantasy, feudalism, obfuscation, warmongering, divide and conquer, scorched earth and mean-spiritedne ss.
How can any truth or humanitarian value penetrate such a species dedicated to an accelerated rush to the bottom for everybody but themselves and their corporate-milit ary overlords?
 
 
+10 # Merschrod 2013-11-23 11:27
Nell, you have summed it elegantly.

Grapes of Wrath anyone?
 
 
+16 # Sweet Pea 2013-11-23 12:32
The Affordable Care Act may have some problems. As does any large system. However-repeali ng it would be like "Throwing out the baby with the bathwater".
 
 
+16 # RMolineaux 2013-11-23 13:35
Reich has put the argument exactly where it belongs: It is a question of moral responsibility in a sane civilization.
Very well done!
 
 
+1 # Philothustra 2013-11-23 13:35
I will only point out again that the ACA is not that great, in fact was very ill-conceived. Instead of a rational single payer system with lowcost universal risk pool, they took the expedient path of giving the whole thing to the privateer insurance industry. I realize this was done so they could get the votes, but I don't understand why the billionaries who siphon off nearly 40% of our health
care dollars need further enrichment--?

And it does nothing for the 30 million or so illegal or undocumented who live
here, so its far from a real solution--
 
 
+3 # bingers 2013-11-24 04:29
They took what they could get. To get rational government requires the death of the Republican party and that isn't going to happen because we have a very high % of numbskulls in America.
 
 
+11 # cy31b 2013-11-23 17:37
The young people who do not expect to reach retirement age complain that they should not have to pay into a system to support the elders. They forget that if they are lucky enough to reach old age themselves someday, they will be grateful for the youngsters whose turn it will be to support them.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2013-11-24 15:18
Quoting cy31b:
The young people who do not expect to reach retirement age complain that they should not have to pay into a system to support the elders. They forget that if they are lucky enough to reach old age themselves someday, they will be grateful for the youngsters whose turn it will be to support them.


They are the "me" generation --self-centered , narcissistic, ungrateful and uninformed about what came before they deigned to grace us with their presence.
 
 
+4 # politicaleconomist 2013-11-23 17:39
While liberals are correct to mock conservatives for calling Obamacare a socialist program, aren't liberals even more open to ridicule for supporting Obamacare when, if it had been proposed by Republicans, they would attack it as a corporate-based expansion of the existing system -- which it truly is?
 
 
-8 # Uncle Gordo 2013-11-23 18:13
Why should republicans trash Obama and the ACA.
They are doing a super job of destroying themselves and any of the little credibility they have left
 
 
+5 # tomslockett 2013-11-23 23:09
I do not know what 30 million "Midwes Tom" referred to above (I am not that Tom, there are a lot of us), but 30 million is the number the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported will remain without coverage after Obamacare is completely in effect (10% of our population, in this, the wealthiest nation on planet earth).

I agree with Professor Reich to the extent that it would be unconscionably immoral to repeal Obamacare unless it were to be replaced by actual universal coverage, such as was provided by that "pinko socialist" Margaret Thatcher and is provided by our neighbor, Canada, and all other industrialized nations. It is also provided by out neighbor to the south, one of the poorest nations on earth thanks to our embargo, the once albeit ever less so socialist state, Cuba.

But I'm not certain "moral" is the correct term with which to refer to a four-tiered separate but equal Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum system which regressively heaps more insecurity and increasingly debilitating costs on the insured as it scales back, step by step from the "Cadillac" Platinum coverage for the rich. Lies repeatedly told by Obama and liberal Democrats were not meant to persuade the Republicans. Rather they were effective tools to call aboard the willing pandering Democrats to undermine the progressives and academics like our friend Robert Reich seeking real universal healthcare, medicare for all. Lies from willing liberals were required to stop them.
 
 
+6 # tomslockett 2013-11-23 23:30
It is welcome news to me that a 3.8% surtax on capital gains over $200,000 and a surtax of 0.9% for single income over $200,000 and couples over $250,000 has been levied. Too bad it's for a plan to keep the most expensive health insurance in the world while 30,000 men, women and children are forced to walk the gangplank on the ship Obamacare to pay the price for creating the cruel illusion of cost-effectiven ess. I give you this is less cruel than repealing Obamacare, but moral?
 
 
+6 # mgwmgw 2013-11-24 08:33
Someone should remind the Republicans that if they succeed in preventing Obamacare from working, the alternative will be Single Payer. Hawaii does it. Vermont is about to do it.
 
 
+4 # MichaelSSmithNJ 2013-11-24 12:47
We should have a system where the Fed Gov pays your health care cost based on income the more you earn then the more you pay yourself have that at least 5% of what ever the Fed Gov takes in on Inocome taxes goes to Health care have all MDs Nurses and other health care workers in exchange for the Gov paying for thier education and training have to depending on how many years of School/training serve 1-7 yrs either in USPHS, The VA or some other Federal or State Health service
 
 
+1 # jamal49 2013-11-24 17:56
The Republicans' efforts to destroy the ACA are mirrored in their attempts to obstruct the federal government (and President Obama) at every turn so they can go to their governors' conference in AZ and claim with straight faces that "government doesn't work". Well, it's not that "government doesn't work". It's that government CAN'T work with a Congress full of Republican reprobates. Republicans are a vile pestilence on America. They are fetid cancer on the American body politic. Vote out every last Republican in 2014!
 
 
0 # RightForAReason 2013-11-25 09:37
Preexisting conditions and life time caps control costs, making the insurance more affordable.
You cannot buy auto insurance to cover your costs after an accident, why do you think you can sign up for health insurance after the fact? If you get in lots of accidents, why should you get safe driver rates? If you want a million in coverage, why shouldn't that be cheaper than unlimited coverage.

Health care cost is dramatically increased due to the ridiculous costs of malpractice costs. Doctors spend huge amounts of insurance money on defensive medicine to avoid possible malpractice law suits.
Obamacare does nothing to contain malpractice insurance costs, because the trial lawyers would take one on the chin.

Single payer. Great idea. Get your health care approved by the IRS and delivered by the Post Office, after waiting in line at the DMV. With single payer, who do you go to if you don't like the service or care? Canada? Sorry, they come here for better care.

"why should I pay for the sick and the old?" The answer is he has a responsibility to do so, as a member the same society they inhabit. So nice of you to decide how he should spend what he earns. And well, he is already on the hook for TRILLIONS in public debt with NOTHING to show for it, so why not screw him for thousands more a year?
 
 
-3 # RightForAReason 2013-11-25 09:38
Hundreds of millions of Americans are going to loose their personal and corporate health care plans within the next three years. If you can get health insurance at all, it will probably cost you otwo or three times as much, for worse coverage, usually covering lits of scrap you have no use for. Enjoy. Hope you eat your crow cold.
 
 
+2 # Madmedic 2013-11-25 16:04
Quoting RightForAReason:
Hundreds of millions of Americans are going to loose their personal and corporate health care plans within the next three years. If you can get health insurance at all, it will probably cost you otwo or three times as much, for worse coverage, usually covering lits of scrap you have no use for. Enjoy. Hope you eat your crow cold.



AND YOU KNOW THIS HOW? Facts please, or go to some right wing board where they might appreciate your simplistic effort at propaganda.

BTW it's lose, not "loose" in the context in which you used the word.
 
 
+1 # Victhpooh 2013-11-25 10:03
my 2 cents:
I was watching TV last night and an ad came on for the NYS Health care market place/ exchange, touting all of the great, positive things our residents are entitled to. It made me think that if New Jersey, which shares our TV market, didn't have an exchange, and their residents saw the great benefits that NYS residents were getting they'd be mad as hell. So I got to thinking that maybe the President or whomever is trying to expand the ACA should make these great ads for say, the success of Kentucky, and 'accidentally' place them on TV markets all over the red states. The ads wouldn't be 'oh Obamacare is so great' because no one would listen to it. It would be from the perspective of the State already having success and what great stuff their residents can get, including subsidies, etc ... maybe the residents of say, Mississippi, might get annoyed that their Governor won't provide these services to them. Maybe even thank the red states for helping to pay for expanded medicare but not taking advantage of it....
Just a thought
 
 
0 # EverythingSolidMeltsIntoAir 2013-11-25 23:27
"Starting this year, a healthcare surtax of 3.8 percent is applied to capital gains and dividend income of individuals earning more than $200,000 and a nine-tenths of 1 percent healthcare tax to wages over $200,000 or couples over $250,000."

Yes, yes, yes Robert Reich!! Now we're talking about what this law means, now we understand what piques the rage of oligarchy. It is not a moral issue - most 1% cyborgs need tax shelters and therefore 'give' some money away to appear to be benevolent, to fake empathy, to cravenly redefine themselves as supporters of these human beings they've heard about.

This is a sociopathic behavior that should be punishable by incarceration in a secured psychiatric institution.

And here we see why the juvenile moaning, the teenage complaint-monge ring, the sneering preschool infantile whining about everybody else taking their treats - the treats that they deserve.

But those Capital Gains are mine...

Wealth redistribution, my good friend.

The millionaire next door...

Wealth redistribution.

I earn it fair and square by having it in the market...

Wealth redistribution.

My father and his father before him have guaranteed my socio-economic standing...

Wealth redistribution.

The 1% will pay their fair share, and more.

Thank you ACA, for Wealth Redistribution.

Wealth redistribution - it is what the rule of law is for.

Embrace it and live.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN