Charles Blows is feeling optimistic:
You can’t promise more than you can produce. When the president told people they could keep their doctors and current insurance plans and that turned out not to be true, that hurt his standing more than any issue with the website ever could. To most people, that sounds dishonest, and dishonesty is an easily understood and widely reviled trait.
Republicans are going to harp on Obamacare and highlight hardship stories for as long as they feel the story has legs — and that may be a while. That happens in politics. You give your opponents a stick, and they’ll whack you with it every time.
That being said, this is not the end of days for this president or his party — no more so than shutting down the government was the end of the Republican Party.
Here is what we must remember:
Obamacare is, in the end, good for America. A report this week from the Council of Economic Advisers found that since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act passed, “Health care spending is the lowest on record,” and, “Health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years.” The report also said that the law has “substantially improved the long-term federal budget outlook.”
Wow. Healthcare inflation has been low during the longest recession in our history. Who could have predicted that?
I hate to break it to Chuckie B. but when you tell people something you KNOW isn’t true, it doesn’t just sound dishonest. I don’t know about New York City but in most the places I’ve been people would call that straight-up lying.
But wait! There’s more!
Fixing our health care system is not only right from a budget and policy perspective; it’s morally right. No one should be turned down for health coverage because of pre-existing conditions. No one should have to live in fear of going broke from getting sick. No one should have to use emergency rooms as his or her only option. As Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Let’s do the math – if you are gonna sell a healthcare insurance policy to a person with preexisting conditions that will cost a lot of money to treat you have two choices:
1. Sell them a policy with some godawful high premiums.
2. Jack up everybody else’s premiums to make up your losses.
You can argue that option #2 is the morally right thing to do, but since this is a democracy you gotta get all them other people to agree to pay more than their fair share. That isn’t what Obama did. He lied and told people they were gonna pay LESS.
There is injustice in healthcare because life is unjust. Some people get cancer. Some are born with diabetes. They didn’t do anything to deserve it, it just happened. Even with the best healthcare insurance in the world people get wiped out financially by illness and injury.
What really pisses me off about this whole healthcare reform “debate” is that nobody is telling the truth in an open and honest way. We can guarantee top-quality, cradle-to-grave healthcare to every person in America, but it’s gonna be very expensive. Or we could do nothing, just leave people to their own resources and/or charity like a third-world country.
I really don’t care for either option.
But we’re reasonable people. We could get most people to agree on some system of providing healthcare that is consistent with our moral principles and our financial sensibilities. Let’s have that discussion.