Why Obamacare Is Here To Stay

July 11, 2012

With the stroke of a pen, the Chief Justice made the November election about a single issue.

I decided to wait before I reacted, at least online.

I wanted to watch what unfolded.  The temperature of the election skyrocketed immediately.  Both sides started devising strategies for the coming months.  Healthcare workers are trying to figure out what is going on.  The President’s legacy is secure…for now at least.  But his challenger is promising to undo all that he’s done.  68% of people seem to want to undo what the President has done.

But I’m not sure it’s going to ever get done.

And if it is, it’s got a huge…massive hill to climb.

And even if all the people get elected to make it happen, it still might not happen.

Here’s why.

Traitor or Genius?

First of all, there sure are a lot of people who think Justice Roberts is a traitor.  Maybe he’s craftier than that though.

We all know what the talking points would be if the law was shot down.  “Five white guys took away your health care.”

Instead, the Chief Justice did the conservative opposition a huge favor.  If he struck down the law, it would take away a huge reason to elect conservatives this November, including a lukewarm Mitt Romney.  Now, he’s made it the singular issue to elect conservatives, and get the law demolished democratically.

Three Things That Never Die

Of course, to uphold the law, it had to be called a “tax.”  That’s ironic, since the PR campaign before, during, and since has denied that it’s a tax.

So, how often does our government repeal taxes?

Almost never.  Taxes may get trimmed or reduced, but they almost never go away.  They are like roaches and twinkies.  They could survive a nuclear holocaust.  If you survive armageddon, you can be sure you’ll still get a tax bill.

I know that’s painting with a broad brush.  But you’d have to have the investigation skills of an IRS auditor to find many significant taxes that have actually been repealed.

The government can never do without your money, once it’s gotten used to spending it.  The odds, as history shows, are stacked hugely in favor of keeping the status quo, no matter how unpalatable it is.

No Such Thing as “Infinite”

Complicating things is the dogged belief that most of us have that healthcare is an unlimited resource.  We think everything is a bottomless pit.  Most of us have never lived through food rations.  The concept of finite supply does not compute.  I will buy as much of anything as I want!

At the heart of this law is the belief that America has unlimited healthcare resources, that we have infinite hospital beds, medicine and doctors, and we just have to make this infinite supply available to all the people who can’t get it..  It’s not true.  There are dozens of medicine shortages all the time, for example.  When demand on a limited resource goes up, either the price increases, or rationing has to happen.

Would You Eat This?

For everything that people hate about the law, the problem is there’s two parts just about everyone loves.

Everyone loves the part about letting kids stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and everyone loves the part about insurance not being able to deny you for pre-existing conditions.  85% of people like those two parts.

It’s like someone gives you a delicious, piping hot chocolate chip cookie, but they tell you that one of the chocolate chips is actually dog feces.

Those two popular parts of the law make this feel like an “ethical” issue, and everyone wants to be on the right side of ethics (or at least appear to be).  Especially politicians.  They’ll talk a big game before the election, but there aren’t going to be many people who have the balls to actually set about reversing this thing.  Most politicians would rather eat the chocolate-chip-dog-turd cookie.

At Least They Tried

I’ve seen people on Facebook defend the law as “the first meaningful attempt to reform a system that allows us to be 28th in healthcare…”

What?  The people who say this are trying to tell you that it doesn’t matter how things turn out, at least they tried.  They had good intentions.  The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions…and tax dollars.

But, good intentions will win the day.  As long as you can convince people your intentions are pure (even if your results suck), people will forgive you.  We’ve been forgiving bad policies for decades because of “good intentions.”  But if they think you have evil intentions, there’s no miracle you can perform that will change their minds.  And the President has a lot of people who believe he has good intentions.

What do you think?  Will the “fix” ever get fixed?  Is the election in November now about this single issue?

18 responses to Why Obamacare Is Here To Stay

  1. It is doubtful that healthcare will get repealed. It is doubtful that the big spenders in Washington will ever cut back – after all they invented bankruptcy and executive order.

    This big lie was cost savings and it still is. You can’t add 30 million people to a broken system and expect it to work more efficiently, That’s like adding 15 more kids to every class room in America to cut costs.

    We knew it was a tax when they added 16,000 IRS agents to the bill to enforce the tax law. DUH!.

    We knew was BS when Pelosi said “we need to pass it to see what’s in it.”

    Yes we like the fact that you can’t be denied coverage, or be dropped – yeah, I like that. I will pay my 1/30 millionth of a percent to cover them. What’s unfortunate is that the poor are covered under various programs, and the rich, we’ll they are self-insured and could give a hoot about this stupid bill. You can up my middle-class contribution to about 12% if my math is correct.

    I broke this story a long time ago.
    http://fireandgrace.blogspot.com/2010/04/they-are-going-to-tax-rich.html

    What we have here is a pay off to health care unions, nothing more. It is has a required coverage clause that could have been passed in a few minutes. There is no reform; in fact I believe in many ways we have gone backwards. The middle class folks that don’t have coverage will probably choose cable TV, flat screen TVs, car leases and cell phones over health care – you did know that is the priority of the average American? We could have bought cable TV for entire US for cheaper, but they probably wouldn’t not have chosen to pay for health care anyway.

    The good news for me is that I lost a 6 figure job and my health care benefits. My lazy butt 20-somethings can now pay for their own care instead of taking trips to Atlantic City and NYC to shop which I can’t afford.

    To make this debate eve more viable, I just had rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery which my Canadian friends called elective! They thought I was so blessed to get a surgery date within weeks instead of 6+ months.

    Honestly, I give up. I will rehab myself from internet videos, and someone else can figure out how to pay for me until I find a job with benefits. Funny, I notice there are thousands of software contract jobs, and only a few low paying full-time positions which I am qualified for.

    I just want to know who this is working for? Who actually benefits from this? Oh, and wait until the fines for not having coverage hit April 15th, 2014. It’s going to be a big news day.

    • Dave–just one quick question and sorry if this sounds dumb–

      What “health care unions” you referring to? Lab techs? Nurses? Manufacturers? (Most of the techs where I live aren’t unionized although nurses are.) Doctors generally aren’t allowed to form unions.

      That’s all I’m going to post on this–blogs like this have been sapping my time and energy and I’m trying to give them up altogether. Thanks.

      • Sorry you feel that way, Abby. :) The good thing for you is we’ll move on to something else on Friday, and never look back!

        • No biggie. It’s not really anything having to do with you or anyone else on here, it’s just that I was on vacation for a bit and had some forced computer-free time and it made me realize a few things:

          1) There’s a reason I don’t discusss politics or religion with people in “real life”. There’s too much tendency to take disagreements personally, which I have a tendency to ruminate about for the rest of the day. I used to think this was because of the type of sites I used to visit (I used to read Salon a bunch but was actually too conservative for those folks), but I think the problem is actually just me.

          2) There’s a lot of stuff that I was getting needlessly worked up about that I was blissfully unaware of before I started reading Christian blogs. I didn’t know there was a reason to fear Rob Bell other than his agregious use of ellipses. I didn’t know that there were people who thought I’d go to hell because I do yoga on my Wii Fit. I used to be able to go all year without ever hearing about the latest dips**t thing that some megachurch pastor had said. And yet, here I’ve been using time that could’ve been better spent responding to all those dip**t things. As if my comments make a lick of difference. It’s really nothing more than venting, but instead of being a stress release it just gets me even more worked up.

          3) I don’t particularly like my online persona.

          4) I’m not really accomplishing anything–I mean, honestly, has anyone ever really had their mind changed by something they read online? I haven’t. It’s all just shouting one’s opinion into the echo chamber and then getting miffed when someone disagrees.

          So, no offense intended but I think I’m going to limit my lunch-break activities to either work or Mental Floss from now on. My dad actually still just has dial-up at his house (really!) because he thinks internet stuff is too great of a distraction (and, since I take after him in the argumentativeness department, I’m becoming inclined to agree.)

          • I appreciate your views, Abby. In fact, based on our last conversation on this subject, I was going to suggest that we put together a grass roots campaign to get the insurance industries to be more customer friendly and standardize their codes. Without doctors, health insurance providers have nothing to offer, do they? Or am I being simplistic? Of course, we can do this in our spare time, right? ;-).

      • Abey – if you read the bill, you’ll see that supports care guidelines which insure that the nurses unions along with other quasi health care agencies such as, but no exclusive to Planned Parenthood, get funded. The list of recipients is by far and away virtually equal to the donor status of the Obama campaign (how politics works, right?).

        Most of the innovative and hard working doctors will get screwed. They will be placed in a one-size-fits-all HC system with a mandated pay that is based on the national average, so the folks in the hills of West Virginia will net more after the cost of living than those in NY, Boston or LA. The good news for metropolitan doctors is that they can go into unfunded care such as facelifts and tummy ticks making the big bucks.

        I met a bright and dedicated Canadian doctor on my last trip to London. He makes $60K and works 70-80 hours per work. Collective bargaining is hoping to get his schedule cut to 60 hours per week. When he finishes his residency, he make $112Kper year. I am not seeing this working for anyone the way it is set up save the unions.

        For those the think Big Pharma is going to pay the bill, I am laughing all the way to the bank. We’ll tax then 10% and they will raise prices 12%. For those that get drugs cheaper overseas from American companies, take note, if the feds hit them with taxes here, you’ll pay to. Australia has already seen the handwriting on the wall and is no manufacturing it’s own in-country generic meds to offset this projected price increase.

        Once we get beyond the “poor” folks who don’t get coverage, or cannot afford it, it’s pure politics and profiteering.

        There is a better way to cover the uninsured, and we are not even close! (For solutions read my blogs – )

    • Right on. My health cost costs $1300 per month and that is with a high deductible. I am forever paying hospital bills. I shop for my wifes medication overseas because it is cheaper than buying it here with my insurance!! And yet I would never dare go to a hospital emergency room after 4 PM as it is lined with the deadbeats looking for pain pills. I am tired of being responsible for the irresponsible. June created 80000 new jobs and 85000 went on disability. I will be supporting them! The government is broken, Obama is an amateur (am I a racist for saying that?), the media is tainted and all the promises of lower costs will NEVER happen. I wonder what is before us…it doesn’t look good.

  2. So my dad, 64, who has previously been denied health care for pre-exisiting conditions can get it now… The quoted price was $1500 a month. So basically he is still being denied health care, right? Unless all these “not a taxes” are going to subsidize that in a BIG way, he can’t afford it. Period. He’s just hoping he gets through the next year without any “more” issues.

    • Interesting. I hadn’t heard any personal examples on that front. Is the definition of “affordable” flexible?

      • This is the middle class gap that I was referencing in my above comments. You make too much, and still can’t afford it. I’m in the same place. $1300 a month on unemployment (above poverty) is too much to handle.

        • Can’t you apply for Medicare? I was talking to a young man who said that you can make up to $30K a year and still be eligible.

        • My dad is on unemployment too, $450 a week, $1300 rent, too old to be considered for plumbing jobs. Medicare starts at 65…

  3. I tend to be in the “at least they tried” camp. That’s not to say good motives cover every wrong (if this is a wrong) but it has accurately been pointed out that the last president had favorable conditions long enough he could have improved the healthcare system and he did not. He did not even try as I recall.

    I also believe there are a good amount of people (mostly on the right) who say this one issue will be the defining issue of the election. Larger sample polls still have healthcare falling third on issues considered most important in this election (behind unemployment and national debt).

    I honestly believe it’s hard to fully grasp what this health care law means. Every take we seem to get on it is either from the left, who are ignoring it’s flaws, or from the right, who paint it as socialism. Neither group seems to talk intelligently about the issue.

    As far as I know, the new law does not affect me much (if at all). So it will have no impact on who I vote for in November.

  4. This is a very interesting perspective, and I appreciate the insight. I think Justice Roberts was interested in making a stand to say that it is his court and he is going to make up his own mind about the cases before him. I think he was very concerned about his legacy on the bench.

  5. I very much doubt this thing will get repealed. Reformed maybe but not repealed. No entitlement program has been, only reformed. Like you said they are used to spending our money.