The Obamacare Fiasco
I think Schadenfraude nicely sums up what I’m feeling about Obama’s troubles with his signature health care bill, though I do feel sorry for people who are being hurt by Obamacare.
It’s not the website that is killing Obama, of course, it’s the cancellation of pre-existing policies (though the website is an unforced mistake). Obama told people they could keep their policies, but that decision was never his to make, it was up to insurance companies. Since there is no robust public option, Obama does not have any significant leverage over the insurance companies, there is nothing he can do to them, so why shouldn’t they do what is in their best interest?
Please don’t say something like “because that would hurt people” because I’d laugh so hard I might rupture something. Insurance companies are run by evil people as a class, and they make their money, not by providing care but by denying it. The more care they deny, the more money they make. One of my friends once designed medical “interest free” loans for people who needed life-saving operations. Sounds like a deal, doesn’t it? Of course, that’s zero interest on list price, not on what the insurance company was paying. The company was making a hundred to two hundred percent profit per policy. Nice business to be in, if you have no soul.
When you are dealing with bad people, you must assume bad faith; bad behavior. You must plan for it. The best option was always Medicare-for-all (and I was told by at least one House staffer that they could pass it if they really wanted to and were willing to go nuclear.) The problem with Obama has always been this sickening need to be one of the boys. He appears to genuinely like and genuinely admire the people who have “made it” in this society—people like Jamie Dimon and the people who run insurance and drug companies. He thinks you can make deals with these people, and make sure everyone wins.
You can’t. These people are the most successful parasites ever produced by our nasty form of sociopathic capitalism. You can only give them what they want or you can rip them from the body politic, so they stop sucking the blood from the host they’re killing.
So the insurance companies have bitten the hand that fed them. Obama gave them everything they wanted and made sure nothing of importance they didn’t want (like a public option) was in the bill. Now they’re chomping and chewing, destroying what remains of his presidency.
He has reaped as he sowed.
This is going to get worse. As Corrente has repeatedly pointed out, the provider networks on the low cost plans are extremely thin. People are going to find out that they’re only covered in theory, that there is no hospital that treats their type of cancer anywhere near them, for example. They’re going to find out that they’re paying for coverage they cannot, in effect, use, for any number of reasons. Drug costs will continue to rise, as well, since Obama carefully made sure all methods of reducing them were made illegal.
Obamacare was, and is, a subsidy. A way of keeping the insurance companies going; of keeping the current healthcare system going. The good, gold-plated private insurance plans, unless you’re an executive, are pretty much gone. As such everyone had to be forced to buy a shitty private insurance plan. It will definitely help some people, some people will win, but many people will lose.
I will point out, for what feels like the millionth time, that simply putting everyone on Medicare would have been less expensive per person and produced better outcomes. Even a robust public option would have given Obama leverage, because the insurance companies would have been scared everyone would migrate over to it, and so would have needed to treat people well.
But this… this is the worst of all worlds, and that is how it was designed to be.
It’s unclear to me how much of this is corruption (rest assured, Obama, like Clinton, will make tens of millions miraculously quickly on leaving office) and how much is some pathological need to be one of the boys, but I am clear that this failure is the inevitable product of how Obamacare was designed.