Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Obamacare Frenzy

Thought I would collect and post examples of the anti-Obamacare frenzy that is occurring on the Right. In the last few days, we have:

What in the world is the GOP going to do when the rollout goes pretty well beginning October 1; when the subsidies begin flowing January 1; when enrollment targets are being met or exceeded; when young people sign up in good numbers - ensuring the economic viability of the insurance pool; when evidence shows up that many folks that had been in the individual market, and were now buying their insurance in the Exchanges, did in fact end up with significant premium drops after applying subsidies and tax credits; when the numbers come in from existing employment based insurance studies that very few employees have lost coverage and that there was not so much downsizing and part-timing as the critics had said, especially now that the Employer Mandate has been deferred for at least a year - in other words, what will the GOP do when Obamacare works?

My best guess is that they will spend a lot of time putting out stories and "evidence" that in this way or that, there are problems, and that the "train wreck" narrative will come true eventually. Perhaps they will shift back to the narrative that we cannot possibly afford it, that this new entitlement will finally sink our ship of state.

A lot of evidence will be in by next summer. Will the GOP still run against it, calling for repeal? Since I am predicting a 90% chance of a successful rollout, my guess is they will not run against the ACA, and will be hugely vulnerable to smart Democratic campaigns pointing out that the GOP has tried over and over again to kill Obamacare, and that if you send these Conservative guys back to Washington they will try to take all your entitlements away.

Remember, the GOP will not have been simply defeated on Obamacare. They will (I predict) be proved wrong on essentially all of their predictions:

  • The new state Exchanges will work, contrary to all GOP predictions.
  • People with existing employment-based insurance will be able to keep their current plans.
  • Premiums for some will go up in the individual market; but for most, after computing subsidies, they will go down as plan proponents had forecasted, and not one single GOP analyst figured out that this would be the case.
  • Young, healthy people will sign up - contrary to the predictions of every single GOP politician, pundit, or analyst that I have read (and I have read plenty!). Why? Because only a small slice of the 30 million eligible uninsured are young, healthy, with no children, and with incomes over $30,000 when subsidies stop. In fact, only 6% of the under 30 year olds without insurance fit those criteria; 94% do not - hence signups will be healthy.
  • Obamacare will quickly collapse of its own dead weight, mostly because (per George Will and many, many others) there is "no rational reason the young and healthy should sign up."
Can a party be this completely wrong, not in choosing policy, but in simply making reasonable predictions about what the likely outcomes of particular policy decisions will be? Can they be almost 100% wrong and maintain any credibility?

The answer, as we all know, and sadly, is Yes, they can. But it will make the 2014 midterms a very difficult patch for our GOP friends.

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