Lion of the Blogosphere

Republicans and Obamacare

NY Times article about Republican strategy to attack Obamacare.

The Republican strategy is entirely a hatchet job of anecdotes and the crappy website, which doesn’t address any of the real issues.

Is it a good idea that people should be able to shop for health insurance online as easily as they can shop for consumer goods at Amazon.com? My answer to that question is a really big yes. Just because the website sucks doesn’t mean the idea of a website was a bad one. If the government can put a man on the moon, then eventually and with enough wasted money, the government can get a website to work.

Should the government mandate what should be covered? My answer to that question is another really big yes, and the reason is that the difference in coverage between health plans is way too complicated for the consumer to understand. Genuine competition between providers can be increased if the government mandates what has to be covered, and then the providers can compete on things that customers can actually understand such as price and customer service.

What about anecdotes? Well here’s my anecdote. I have the same plan next year that I have this year. A few worst-case anecdotes doesn’t mean that Obamacare is bad for the country as a whole. If it sucks for 0.5% of the people, they just need to suck it up. When Social Security was introduced, it sucked for people who were in their twenties at the time, but now everyone loves Social Security. Even Republicans love it. Ronald Reagan loved it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

53 Responses

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  1. “Should the government mandate what should be covered?”

    We definitely need to mandate obesity related problems for the sake of the newly-amnestied.

    Toad

    November 21, 2013 at 1:32 PM

  2. you’re freakin’ nuts on this issue. Obamacare is clearly another wealth transfer from whites to NAMs and illegals. Everything you’re talking about is gibberish. This isn’t a good idea in any respect.

    “Everyone loves Social Security. . .” You’re losing your marbles. More like all most everyone is dependent on the system; a system which is ponzi scheme illusion. Namely because of NAMs and illegals.

    fakeemail

    November 21, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    • it also helps corpulent diabetic ridden pre-existing condition prole whites also will do will in ACA. ACA is crappy law, but not because of the mandate. It is crappy because it doesn’t behave like santesuisse on the cost side of healthcare.

      uatu

      November 21, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    • How is it that the current system, which overspends by nearly 2 trillion dollars a year compared to the average developed country is not transferring wealth to anyone?

      reynald

      November 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM

  3. Lion, why did you support Romney, anyway?

    Obamacare is basically a huge tax, a huge welfare and transfer scheme. Middle class and above derive no benefit and only cost.

    Dan

    November 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    • Obamacare is an improved version of Romneycare.

      eradican

      November 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      • Improved? Its incoherent. Plus Romneycare was for non-vibrant, high income Massachusetts.

        Dan

        November 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      • On what planet?

        Joe Walker

        November 21, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      • The same planet where it was passed, upheld, and saw Barry reelected.

        eradican

        November 22, 2013 at 2:09 AM

  4. “Just because the website sucks doesn’t mean the idea of a website was a bad one. If the government can put a man on the moon, then eventually and with enough wasted money, the government can get a website to work.”

    An idea is vapor without execution, and even the best idea is harmful when it is implemented poorly. Also, come on, you seriously can’t believe that the government today has the same expertise, intelligence and competence as NASA did in the 60s. So while the government can bring about such a website, there will be tremendous waste – and how many eggs do you want to break for a two egg omelet? That money is better spent elsewhere, or not at all, because of our rising debts.

    “If it sucks for 0.5% of the people, they just need to suck it up.”

    There are some estimates that 50 to 100 million health insurance policies will be canceled. When is it enough? When it sucks for 5% of people? 10%? 30%?

    Sid

    November 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    • Got any links to these “estimates” they sound like partisan conjecture.

      eradican

      November 21, 2013 at 3:12 PM

  5. Obamacare cannot possibly work as intended from an actuarial perspective, silly Lion. It is already breaking all its projections as new signups are almost 100% financial losers for insurance companies. Healthy young payers aren’t signing up. The only ones signing up are the old, sick and the poor, who get more free stuff.

    If people can get sick and then get health insurance after that, then the whole concept of insurance breaks down. If I can buy flood insurance after the rains start, the whole concept of flood insurance breaks down.

    Of course Obamacare is a good deal for many. It amounts to a giant welfare handout, whose costs are not accounted for. Just one handout you and I will have to pay for indirectly as taxpayers.

    Dan

    November 21, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    • Eventually the tax for not signing up will have to go up and get punitive enough to force the young and healthy to sign up. What is odd are the discussions where hospitals and other providers could pay the premiums for the chornically sick and make up the costs with the insurance payments.

      superdestroyer

      November 21, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    • Although I oppose the idea of a mandate on liberty grounds, I recognize that it could work in forcing young people into buying health insurance if the Mandate penalty is high enough. But you would have to have it as high or higher than the cost of health insurance to pull that off. Otherwise, the actuarial disaster you describe seems likely. In the original version of the bill, the mandate was higher, but they lowered it to avoid critics saying they were taxing the poor to buy something the couldn’t afford or some such nonsense. Doing that doomed Obamacare, as the health insurance companies noted. Up to August of 2009, they were enthusiastic supporters because of the visions of new customers. After the mandate was changed, they realized they were screwed.

      Secondly, Lion, you’ve been able to buy health insurance online for years. All of the insurance companies sold online and ehealthinsurance.com sold almost all insurance plans available in your area online. Obamacare sure didn’t invent the idea, they just figured out how to fail at it.

      Mike

      November 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

  6. “Well here’s my anecdote. I have the same plan next year that I have this year.”

    That’s because employers mandate has been delayed.

    How much does your insurance plan cost, both to you and to your employer? If it’s more than roughly $10k per year (I assume you are single) you’ve got a Cadillac plan, which will be taxed 40% or more likely canceled.

    Hamster of the Blogosphere

    November 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    • Very true. Then again, I haven’t read much health care posts by lion/hs so i’ll give him a pass for not hitting all the notes right when he does post on health care.

      uatu

      November 21, 2013 at 10:03 PM

  7. Genuine competition between providers can be increased if the government mandates what has to be covered…

    Actually, that’s cartelization. It’s the practical equivalent of the government setting a price floor. It’s why you can’t bargain for a car without airbags.

    Insurance is a terrible way to pay for anything, and health insurance in particular is just transfer payments from healthy individuals to neurotic women and NAMs with terrible lifestyles. Insurance means insurers competing for good risks. Otherwise, it’s just a pre-paid services plan that rewards claims-conscious individuals and shafts everybody else. Obamacare won’t work because it can’t work. The smartest thing for Republicans to do is let this massive trainwreck happen, then say “I told you so” into every microphone they can grab.

    The only reason we’re going about it this way is because everybody knows a single-payor plan would be swamped by all the hopelessly obese, diabetic, addicted, promiscuous NAMs and smart doctors would leave the field by the thousands.

    The Anti-Gnostic

    November 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    • I like the term “claims-concious.” I have always argued that any system in any aspect of life that requires the underclass to act like the middle class will eventually fail. I would argue that single payer will also have problems because it will require the poor and short sighted to be able to make appointments and comply with medical advice at the same rate as the middle and upper middle classes.

      superdestroyer

      November 22, 2013 at 4:18 AM

  8. Another good reason to head up to Canada for socialized medicine with less BS politics.

    JS

    November 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    • Brazil and India are socialist also, and nobody is singing their praises. Why the difference? A riddle, wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

      Dan

      November 21, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    • How about we send you 38 million African-Americans and see how well it works then?

      CamelCaseRob

      November 22, 2013 at 2:47 PM

  9. The exchanges are, in themselves, not a bad idea. The problem is that the government is so screwed up that they couldn’t be made to work with a three year lead time. The private sector could have done it faster, better and cheaper.

    I’m not a fan of mandates. One size fits all is not usually a good idea. The mandates are always subject to lots of political pressures. for example, the chiropracters always want their services included, even though some people never use them. And why should men or women over 40 pay for contraceptives (which are dirt cheap anyway)? Consumers are used to making cost-benefit decisions all the time – best to leave the choices to them rather than the politicians and bureaucrats.

    But the real problem with Obamacare isn’t the the failed websites or the controversial mandates – .it’s that the basic economics don’t make sense. For example, a single 25 year old individual in Chicago making $40,000 annually could purchase a subsidized silver plan with a deductible of $2,000 – $3,000 for about $1,965 per year. The penalty for not purchasing it would be $1,000 in 2016. Young people use very little health care anyway, and, if disaster does strike, insurance can be acquired readily without regard to preexisting conditions. It’s the older, sicker patients who will sign up.

    Black Death

    November 21, 2013 at 6:19 PM

  10. Of course Lion, you are correct.

    Yes, Obamacare is far from ideal, but it is better than what we had before.

    The commenters here are confirming what I said: people hate Obamacare because of the race issue, above and beyond anything else.

    Healthcare and the American Nations | JayMan’s Blog

    JayMan

    November 21, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    • People hate it because they see millions losing their insurance and fear they’ll be next. Lion’s post contains straw men. No one is against health insurance being regulated (as it already was). No one is against buying insurance online. The devil is in the details. When you regulate away the most affordable plans. When your regulations cause full time jobs to become part time jobs, etc.

      It would have been a lot simpler to maximize health insurance coverage without causing a train wreck. Simply:

      1) Mandate that everyone have at least high-deductible, catastrophic coverage, or pay a fine.

      2) Subsidize those for whom such coverage (or more extensive coverage, if they have chronic conditions) would cost more than, say, 15% of their gross income.

      3) Enforce immigration laws. That would eliminate ~40% of uninsured by itself.

      Dave Pinsen

      November 22, 2013 at 1:00 AM

      • Pinsen, maybe your solution is better than Obamacare, but Republicans weren’t interested in any sort of solution at all, so the only choice was Obamacare or the pre-Obamacare system which was flawed even more.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 22, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      • Lion, I agree that the Republicans should have offered a constructive solution, but Obamacare is worse than what we had before. Democrats should have followed the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm. There was no crisis, no need to ram through such a flawed and poorly designed piece of legislation.

        Dave Pinsen

        November 22, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      • What we had before was so bad that even Obamacare will turn out to be better, which will be very embarassing to Republicans in a few years.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 22, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      • Politicians are concerned about the average person, no more than your boss who cares about you when you’re sick and can’t be his tool.

        JS

        November 22, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      • Your solution does nothing to lower the overall level of per capita health care spending or to reduce the approximately 200,000 preventable medical deaths that occur each year.

        More than anything else we need more extensive price controls and strict safety regulation.

        reynald

        November 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    • Race has nothing to do with the hate
      The animus is rooted in income redistribution, forcing people into Medicaid, and Medicaid-recovery forcing people to pay for services they don’t desire, lies regarding keeping insurance and doctors,
      Your race card doesn’t play here.

      jz

      November 22, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      • It has a lot to do with race. People would rather have a system that overspends by 2 trillion dollars a year and funnels the money to tiny white and asian elite than one that costs them (and society overall) much less but where poor blacks and hispanics have more access to treatment and the white elite receives less.

        You fall into a very common fallacy where you assume that the present pretax income distribution is a pure, fair, and rational one and that “redistribution” only occurs through government spending of tax revenues or through new policies that change existing pre tax incomes. Our huge overspending on health care compared to every other developed country is an example of government policy creating a huge redistribution of pre tax incomes.

        reynald

        November 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM

  11. Lion, good point about plan standardization. When I tried to buy health insurance for my employees last year, I gave up because it was completely impossible to compare plans side-by-side. The whole process of even getting a quote involved a huge loss of privacy.

    Tile

    November 21, 2013 at 8:53 PM

  12. “Obamacare is clearly another wealth transfer from whites to NAMs and illegals.”

    This retarded BS is getting tiresome. The big winners are WORKING people with incomes too high for medicaid but too low to afford real insurance because of their age and pre-existing conditions.

    They get lower rates for two reasons: increased competition and standardization on the exchanges, plus the subsidy that goes all the way to 400% of the poverty line and well into the middle class. Working people without health insurance in their 50’s and early 60’s get the single biggest subsidy. This is a heavily white age group.

    NAMs don’t get much benefit because they are much more likely to fall into two groups who already were covered before the ACA: no income or assets and get medicaid, work for the government/university and get great benefits.

    There is no benefit for illegal immigrants, who will continue using a combination of charity/public clinics, emergency rooms, and low-rent docs on a cash basis.

    Tile

    November 21, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    • “The big winners are WORKING people with incomes too high for medicaid but too low to afford real insurance because of their age and pre-existing conditions.”

      This is, basically, the only group that had a problem under the pre-Obamacare system. The poor were taken care of. Illegals were taken care off. Working whites were screwed by the system. All that was really needed was to open up Medicaid to higher income levels, even as a partially paid insurance plan (e.g. you must contribute something, like a co-pay per visit). Fraud cleanup of Medicaid alone could probably have paid for the extra load.

      But the point of Obamacare has always been to take over the medical system by destroying private insurance, which is exactly what’s going to happen. The clownish failures of the website are a side show — albeit a totally predictable one. Obamacare is yet another Democrat plan to turn people into Dem voters over the long haul (like flooding the nation with non-whites).

      peterike

      November 22, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      • “Obamacare is yet another Democrat plan to turn people into Dem voters over the long haul (like flooding the nation with non-whites).”

        I don’t see the connection. You acknowledge those who benefit the most are middle and lower-middle class whites who are self-employed or working in private-section jobs without insurance.

        You don’t have to like amnesty or anything else on Obama’s agenda to think the ACA is better than the previous system and not a NAM givaway. Lion, Derbyshire, Jayman, and a number of other realist bloggers get this.

        Tile

        November 23, 2013 at 3:17 AM

  13. It’s time for you to shut your mouth when it comes to Osamacare, Lion. The only reason you lurv Osamacare is that it doesn’t personally affect you. That’s all.

    yerwrong

    November 21, 2013 at 9:42 PM

  14. The only entities who are going to really benefit from Obamacare are the big insurance companies. For most low income people – the ones Obamacare was supposedly created to help – it offers few if any benefits.

    Joe Walker

    November 21, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    • The poor are already covered by Medicaid. And Obama is already trying to throw the insurance companies under the bus.

      Dave Pinsen

      November 22, 2013 at 1:03 AM

  15. When Social Security was introduced, it sucked for people who were in their twenties at the time, but now everyone loves Social Security. Even Republicans love it. Ronald Reagan loved it.

    The latest report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees shows an unfunded liability for both programs of $63 trillion.

    destructure

    November 22, 2013 at 5:23 AM

  16. Regardless of the presence of Obamacare, the whole thing is going to crash, even – or maybe especially – if we get single payer. The fact is that there are too many Baby Boomers who will live into their 80s or 90s, there are too many immigrants who pay little or no taxes into the system but are health care consumers themselves, and the government is doing too many things that impede healthy economic growth. That last one is arguably the most important of all, because without a healthy, growing economy none of this stuff can be paid for.

    I’m still betting that one of the unintended consequences of all this will be that medical tourism becomes a big business. I think you’ll see clinics spring up in places like Tijuana and Mexicali with high-end equipment and English speaking doctors, catering to affluent people from San Diego and Orange County who can pay cash for many procedures. And I’ll bet you won’t have a lot of nurses who are gay men or old enough to be your mother either. I’m guessing they’ll be females, mostly young, attractive and single.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    November 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM

  17. Round 1: individuals forced to purchase at higher rates for services they don’t desire

    Round 2: employer mandates ; some employers will drop benefits and employees driven to the individual market.

    the sum total of people buying individually is yet to be seen.
    the portion of physicians willing to participate is yet to be seen
    the payment rates for physicians and hospitals is yet to be seen
    the redistribution of wealth from middle income to those with <133% poverty is yet to be seen

    jz

    November 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

  18. I’m with Lion on this one. The exchanges require insurers to sell equivalent products and compete on price. The ACA incentivizes efficiency and cost-cutting. There was a nice entry on this, a couple of months ago, in the Harvard Business Review blog: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/10/health-insurance-exchanges-fulfill-both-liberal-and-conservative-goals/

    Southern WASP

    November 22, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    • What evidence is there that insurance companies can keep health care costs down? Where does that work in any industry in any country?

      reynald

      November 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      • They kept price increases down so well with HMOs in the ’90s that political pressure forced them to spend more (e.g., to let women stay in hospitals longer after giving birth).

        There are two other benefits to private insurance companies. One is that they have a financial incentive to combat fraud (moreso than Medicare, which wastes tens of billions of dollars on fraudulent claims, by some estimates). The other is that they are succeptible to public pressure if they deny legitimate claims (unlike, say, Britains NHS, where patients have died of thirst in hospitals out of neglect).

        Dave Pinsen

        November 24, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      • And yet we overspend by two trillion dollars a year. So clearly insurance companies are not good at keeping down prices compared to the price controls used in other countries.

        reynald

        November 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    • Transparency isn’t the problem. Banning the most affordable plans is. And the rationales Obama bots offer for banning them are spurious. For example, they say of high deductible, catastrophic policies that if you don’t have the ~$2-$5k saved to cover the deductible, you’ll still be at risk of bankruptcy, so it’s “crap” insurance. What they’re basically saying is that since some people will blow $2500 on a purse rather than saving it, everyone will have to overpay on a monthly basis for low deductible insurance.

      How lion can support a flawed law that punishes the thrifty and prudent is beyond me.

      Dave Pinsen

      November 23, 2013 at 1:28 AM

      • “How lion can support a flawed law that punishes the thrifty and prudent is beyond me.”

        The new law is just the opposite. Previously, you lost qualification for medicare if you saved more than a measly $2500, but now there are no wealth requirements for medicare, it’s strictly income based, and if you make too much for medicare you still qualify for subsidized healthcare on the exchanges.

        So the new law fixes a big problem with the old law in that thrift was punished.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 23, 2013 at 8:26 AM

  19. One more pro-white part of Obamacare: the tanning salon tax. It will discourage whites from disfiguring themselves and getting skin cancer.

    Tile

    November 23, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    • I’d rather have a tattoo tax.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM

  20. or even cheaper shut down ALL restaurants and ALL “food” manufacturers and subsidize fruits and vegetables, etc. make obesity a CRIME.

    americans spend MORE on healthcare than on food.
    http://www.retailleader.com/top-story-consumer_insights-u.s._households_spend_smaller_percentage_of_income_on_food_than_others-1827.html

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/correlation.aspx?v1=67&v2=30

    solomon islands life expectancy at birth = 74.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_Solomon_Islands#Life_expectancy_at_birth

    jorge videla

    November 24, 2013 at 2:28 AM


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