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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

80% of Americans liked their health insurance before Obamacare

I guess for want of a better acronym I'll just throw this mania into the LDS category. No, that has nothing to do with Latter Day Saints rather it's a chronic mental disorder known as Liberal Derangement Syndrome. Witness this exhibit from Kevin Drum from Mother Jones entitled Republicans Nearing a Dead End on Obamacare.
Given all this, it's hard to see Obamacare being a huge campaign winner. For that, you need people with grievances, and the GOP is unlikely to find them in large enough numbers. The currently covered will stay covered. Doctors and hospitals will be treating more patients. Obamacare's taxes don't touch anyone with an income less than $200,000. Aside from the tea partiers who object on the usual abstract grounds that Obamacare is a liberty-crushing Stalinesque takeover of the medical industry, it's going to be hard to gin up a huge amount of opposition. And that's doubly true since, as Sargent says, the Republican Party will have no credible alternative for a benefit that lots of people will already be getting.
So where will the GOP find people with grievances in large numbers? It shouldn't be to hard judging from a Gallup poll that appeared before Obamacare was passed. Notice that a full 80% of respondents were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their health insurance while only 61% liked the price. To date 5.6 million have lost the care they were satisfied with and when employee health plans are cancelled next year that number may be 10 times greater. If only 61% were happy about the price one doubts if they will be happier paying a higher price with a higher deductible for insurance no one will take.

Doctors and hospitals will be treating more patients? Certainly with Medicaid expansion more people may have a legal right to medical care but there will be no increase in the number of doctors participating in the program. One supposes that Obama can convince the newly eligible that the mere legal right to care was something they did not previously have and sometime in the indefinite future the right will morph into treatment.
We have, on this blog, identified 4 Democratic Senators; Begich, Hagan, Landrieu, and Pryor whom we deem as vulnerable and whose political fortunes have exhibited a steep decline as individuals have found that they may not keep their insurance nor their doctors. One doubts that the outrage is apt to abate simply because millions of other Americans have found healthcare that they like. Two new possible entries into the high risk pool are Senators Mark Udall of Colorado which I wrote about on another blog and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota who achieved a whooping 39% approval rating in the St. Cloud State University Survey. Franken only won with 42% in a 3 way race and that included the dead who somehow managed to vote.
Maybe Kevin Drum is not deranged. Maybe he has deadlines that impair his judgment but screwing up a system that 80% of the population was satisfied with does not strike me as a winning strategy.

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