Banking on failure

by | Oct 25, 2013 | Editor's Blog, Health Care, Obamacare | 6 comments

Republicans think they’ve got a winner in Obamacare. They are so sure that the program is going to fail, that they are almost giddy. And in states across the country, Republicans governors and legislatures are doing everything they can to sabotage the implementation.

In North Carolina, as in other Republican controlled states, the legislature and Pat McCrory rejected the expansion of Medicaid and refused to set up state exchanges. As a result, our premiums are higher than those of states that accepted the expansion and established their own market places. Republicans are sure that Democrats will get the blame.

But what if Democrats don’t get the blame? What if people in North Carolina notice that in other states more people are insured and that premiums are not skyrocketing? What if they find that, in fact, health care costs are actually coming down?

Unfortunately for Republicans, the biggest problem with Obamacare so far is the website. That will get fixed. On the merits, the Affordable Care Act is working. In states that accepted the Medicaid expansion and set up their own exchanges, people are signing up and most aren’t finding the exorbitant prices the GOP promised.

The GOP and its allies have spent so much money on advertising telling the American people that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery, that expectations for failure are high. People are expecting premiums to triple, health care costs to rise and coverage to decline. Instead, they are finding substantially better coverage at affordable prices.

Republicans have taken a big risk in putting so much energy into sabotaging health care reform. They forget that the vast majority of people wanted our system fixed. With the exception of the individual mandate, polls show support for the components of Obamacare even if they are leery of the program itself.

Republicans are banking that they can win just telling people what they oppose without telling them what they are for. In North Carolina, GOP leaders are on the record saying people should use the emergency room as their primary source of health care. That’s a sorry position to take. With 300,000 people left uninsured, that ad writes itself.

So while Republicans are running ads telling people that Democrats are letting government take over the health care system, Democrats are going to be telling voters in states like North Carolina that Republicans increased their insurance premiums and left 300,000 without health care at all. I think voters are more self-interested than ideological.


  1. Jim

    Banking on failure indeed. It sure looks like the dems are banking on obamacare failing because the rats are damn sure jumping the obamacare ship. Hell if the republicans don’t get on the stick the dems are going to beat them to the punch running from and against obamacare in 2014. Keep coming up with the new gimmicks, we need the laughs. The newest being blaming republican governors and the Heritage angle is a good one too. And keep telling yourself that premiums are lower and the benefits are better.

  2. Hunter

    This Democrat hopes ObamaRomneyHeritageFoundationCare fails so quickly and spectacularly that we can get this country to single payer without further delay.

    Why we should mindlessly hope a poor system works simply because Democrats passed it is beyond me.

    Good policies matter more than perpetuation of parties.

    However, even if you prefer partisan gain to good policy, it clearly would have been better politics to pass single payer in 2009-10 when Democrats easily could have. That would have avoided the 2010 disaster caused by the horrible “selling” of ObamaRomneyHeritageFoundationCare.

    • Thomas Mills

      Hunter, single-payer was a non-starter in 2009. I agree it would have been the best option but if this effort fails, we won’t see significant health care reform for at least another decade. For better or worse, we have a system based on compromise whether within parties or between them. This is about as good as it gets. And for the record, most folks in MA are satisfied with Romneycare.

  3. Blue Line

    Thomas, you are confusing Obamacare with Healthcare Reform. It is merely Health Insurance Reform. Only time will tell, but I believe there’s a good chance Obamacare will actually result in a degradation of our healthcare system. We shall see, I guess.

    • Thomas Mills

      It’s more than just health insurance reform. An emphasis on prevention over treatment has promising signs that we could actually begin to control costs. But you are right. We’ll see.

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