Obamacare Merged With Private Insurance Raises Hackles on Both Sides of the Aisle
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz received a lesson in Iowa last week.
A citizen told Cruz a story about his brother-in-law, a man who never had health coverage because money was tight. He got coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare” and then found coverage had not come in time.
Nothing would save him from terminal cancer.
The man asked how Cruz would change the rule that may have protected his brother-in-law. All he heard was a rehearsed response about government laws and the frequent claims that Obamacare has ruined thousands of positions and made premiums go through the roof.
What can we discern from the encounter between Mr. Cruz and the voter? First, the ACA is now producing well. It didn’t come quick enough to preserve the voter’s brother-in-law, however it will save countless others.
If that’s the case, why do we hear progressives — as well as conservatives — wrecking President Obama’s signature policy achievement?
A portion of the solution is that Bernie Sanders has worked to make single-payer health care the highlight of his crusade. Some Sanders followers have turned to denouncing Obamacare as a broken policy.
Turn the calendar back to 2008 and we see something similar happening. Some Obama fans briefly become hostile foes of the individual fiat — the provision that everybody buy coverage — which Hillary approved, but Obama rejected.
Back to 2016, Sanders is only repeating left-wing reviews of health reformation that were previously around. Some of the critiques have value — others don’t.
The amount of Americans without coverage has fallen steadily and sharply. The decline has been especially noticeable in regions that have attempted to see the legislation work. But many are yet without coverage, and in relative few instances, high deductibles make protection less valuable than it could be.
This isn’t fixed in a non-single-payer method. Other nations have Obamacare-type healthcare such as the Netherlands and Switzerland. Obamacare, as it currently exists, may not rise to the level of either country because it is underfunded.
Meanwhile, cost restraint is looking healthier than even advocates have anticipated.
Much of the noise of the progressives is not a criticism of how the change falls short as it is indignity that insurers get to have a seat at the table. The idea, it seems, is that any position for the value angle colors the entire attempt.
The administration has already dealt with this by pointing out that Obamacare has language which states that government payment to private insurance companies to help cover health care premiums is compulsory and not subordinate to Congress’s annual spending bills.
Yes, Obamacare did maintain private coverage, largely to circumvent big, politically perilous transitions for citizens who already had sufficient protection. But Obama also wanted to get support from the insurance industry. The reality that some carriers are profiting from reformation isn’t a basis to deny that improvement. The whole point of Obamacare is to help those without coverage, not to discipline insurance companies.
To be clear, whoever ends up being the Democratic nominee, the general election will be a referendum on whether to preserve the real, if incomplete, progress we’ve made on health, financial reform and the environment.
The last thing progressives should be doing is trash-talking the progress and impugning the motives of people who are basically on their side.