Obamacare is a flop

When the push for Obamacare happened back 2009, I remember Anthony Weiner of all people pushing the Medicare for all option. He made sense and this was long before his, er, picture twitters. I thought Medicare for all was simpler and certainly better, but then I assumed Obama was smarter than me and he understood the politics and had access to a whole bevy of health economists to plan his strategy, so Obama’s plan, which I didn’t really understand, must be kind of better, some kind of improvement, the best we can get. I was a Democrat and trusted by Democratic leaders to do something that worked, if not my first choice of what to do.

The law was upheld by the supreme court in 2012, which seemed like a good thing to me at the time, and went into affect in 2014. My kids had good health insurance the whole time through New York State, Child Health Plus. We adults had to scramble and figure out things with employers and employees and it was never good and always changing — filling out new forms every few months, starting over, paying through the nose, not having insurance for awhile. It just sucked.

Obama rolled out the program and the website crashed and stayed crashed for 6 months. That was embarrassing but I figured that was just the tech part of the program and that when the insurance kicked in, Obama’s superior management style would assure that this program worked, like Social Security and Medicare work, I mean you can count on them.

I signed up for the cheapest policy, which wasn’t cheap. About 640 a month then: it’ll be 740 next year. Steady increases. I kind of skimmed the policy but there were only like 5 to chose from and none of them were great. We’re both healthy, so the cheapest policy seemed like the best move.

Then I went dancing in December 2015 and screwed up my knee. It was the first time I needed any medical care (other than a tooth I had to pay for out of pocket) in probably 25 years. I went to urgent care — and only then did I realize that the 7000 dollars I was paying covered NOT ONE PENNY of the cost of seeing a doctor. I had a $2500 annual deductible.

I know people with pre-existing conditions like Obamacare. But those people are much more likely to use health care beyond what they pay in premiums. Insurance is about sharing risk. If the people with low risk at this time feel like they are getting screwed and leave the pool of people, then your insurance structure will fail, as there will be too much risk and not enough people to share it with.

I want out of Obamacare personally. I want the Republicans to repeal it nationally. Obama was an idiot politically: if 90% of the people who have personal experience with the program with your name on it (unofficially) that is your legacy and it doesn’t work for them, they will blame you. It’s nice to take care of the 10% who really need Obamacare, but politically it doesn’t make a lot of sense. He watered down the plan to appeal to Republicans, modeling his program after Mitt Romney’s plan in Massachusetts. But none of them did support his plan.

So you pissed off the electorate, or at least a big chunk of the electorate, in the name of bipartisanship which didn’t happen, and worst of all, your program is not working. If you pass a big national program that affects a lot of people, it had better work.

Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia: there are a lot of models Obama could have considered. Some of these places are quite large with millions of residents and have had national health care for 60 years or more. Instead, he picked a 10-year-old program from tiny Massachusetts as his model.

How can you roll out a program this big and have it collapse? You can’t blame the Republicans. Obama is supposed to be smart. maybe the problem is that you can “smart” you’re way out of being screwed over by insurance companies, drug companies and a select group of specialists in medicine. You have to make them stand down and fight them and put in a plan that is proven to work, regardless of how the shareholders of CIGNA feel. Tough for them.

Obama blew his biggest domestic policy initiative by being to political, trying to work around and with special interests and Republicans from the beginning instead of risking it all on something that might actually make millions of people’s lives better and guarantee Democratic victories in the future by making it clear that the Democrats are for the people, not the special interests. That is far from clear.

Give the people what they need and they will vote for you. Take the money from the rich and use it for the poor. Raise taxes to pay for health insurance that works now and in 30 years for everyone and that everyone knows will always be there. Cut the insurance companies out and let them die. Break up the banks.

The party would win with that program. The people would win. The politicians, like Clinton and Obama, would not be able to cash in and get rich. We should not vote for politicians that cash in and get rich.

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