It must take a special, genetically-engineered blend of arrogance and ignorance to be a progressive pundit these days. Take “wonk” Matt Yglesias, for instance. Today he has the gall to write that while Obama’s “If you like your plan” lie was a no-no, the president told it to the entire nation, 37 times, for our own good. He had to do it, you see. He had no choice.
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” That was the promise Barack Obama made to insured Americans when stumping for his signature health insurance overhaul back in 2009 and 2010. It’s a promise that’s coming back to sting him now that it isn’t coming true. It was an irresponsible promise, a cowardly cave-in to focus-group findings that it was what Americans wanted to hear. But it didn’t make sense as a promise and didn’t make sense as a description of any plausible insurance reform. While Obama ought to be sorry he said it, the idea of actually trying to make it a policy goal is insane.
Rather than (foolishly) try to ensure that nobody could ever lose their insurance, the actual Affordable Care Act accelerated the demise of a certain class of plan. Politically, that’s now an embarrassment for the White House. Substantively, it’s a huge achievement.
The ACA cracks down on insurance rescission. It was famously difficult on the old market for people with “pre-existing conditions” to get coverage. That’s because insurance companies don’t want to cover people who are actually sick. Even healthy people generally want health insurance coverage because they might get sick. But an insurance company has no desire to actually foot the bill for a seriously ill person’s medical treatment. Hence, in the individual market the standard practice was to earn a profit selling peace of mind to healthy people, only to pivot as quickly as possible toward cancellation of the plan as soon as major bills started coming in. The ACA, rightly, puts a stop to this scam.
The “scam” Yglesias slams is largely a myth brought to us by the same people who have declared health insurance a “crisis” for decades. They were lying then and they’re lying harder now. Without the compounding lies, Obama would not have been elected and Obamacare would have never become law.
Let’s walk through the logic of their claim.
If it were true that all insurers dropped coverage as soon as we became sick, no one would ever buy insurance. What would be the point? Health insurance would be the absolute dumbest way you could spend your money. If insurers really acted as badly as progressives claimed, the industry itself would have gone bankrupt long ago because no one in their right mind would buy their product. How could 85% of Americans have had insurance — and been happy with it! — before the glorious onset of Obamacare if we all knew that the product would disappear as soon as we needed it? The charge only sticks if you’re an arrogant progressive allergic to facts and logic, or your a low-info type who tends to just believe whatever you hear some prog pundit claiming.
I realize that I’ve just described most of Obama’s base.
Most Americans found that once they got sick their health insurer stayed right there with them, helping them get well the whole time. I wrote about one here a few weeks back. He is a young, innovative doctor whose health insurance plan (which he liked!) helped him beat cancer twice. What cancer did not cancel, Obamacare has. The healthy cancer survivor doctor and father will have to pay far more just to get back to the level of coverage he had before the glorious onset of Obamacare. For many other Americans whose illness made them more difficult and expensive to insure, some states had developed high risk pools. Other states tried other methods. No one wants to leave people uninsured. The question has always been how to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. That’s what Obama promised he would do, while protecting everyone else. He lied. What Obamacare is really doing is making pregnant, cancer-stricken sex change seekers out of all of us. In the name of “fairness,” it is pricing the entire country according to the needs of the sickest. How on earth can this possibly be fair or even sane, even to an arrogant prog like Yglesias?
It obviously isn’t, and they know it, but at this stage they’re desperately clinging to the hope that they can somehow salvage progressive big government politics from the destruction their own ignorant arrogance has dealt it.
There is no saving Obamacare or progressivism. The former must be repealed, while the latter must be defeated.
Update: JournoList, you have your talking points!