Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Obamacare - Time Will Tell



Obamacare is like religion. Everyone has their own dogma they fervently adhere to, and although there is no hard evidence that what they believe is true, they'll stick by it to the death. The fact is that's there no proof on either side. No one knows for sure whether the Affordable Care Act will be a huge success or a catastrophic failure but we all think we know....and both sides are working as hard as they can to ensure that what they think is going to happen is what happens.

Do you not find it strange that the anecdotes you read on Facebook all follow the same pattern? Liberals tell positive stories of people who are thrilled to be able to afford healthcare for the first time. Meanwhile, every conservative has had a negative experience - their premiums went up, their deductibles went up, their coverage went down. It hardly seems as if that this could simply be coincidence, does it?

Right-wing millionaires spend millions to spread misinformation and their followers buy into it hook, line and sinker, vowing to allow themselves to be crucified on the cross of socialism rather than "submit" to purchasing health insurance (which is another form of slavery, don't you know?) The Koch Brothers, the richest duo in America, try to convince young people not to fall into the Obamacare trap. Evidently, they believe it is better to get sick and die for the cause, not that they'll ever be put in that situation, of course. They'll let others sacrifice for their principles, thank you very much. Republicans lean on professional sports leagues not to help Obama try to sell the ACA. "Hey, NFL, if you expect us to support your subsidies next time, back off." Sean Hannity  interviews three couples who had bad experiences with Obamacare and happily told us all about it but when a real journalist follows up, he discovers none of their stories were true.

Liberals are not quite so biased. The left-leaning media has been every bit as hard on the mucked-up Obamacare roll-out as conservatives. Unlike Fox, liberals have no qualms about ripping their own. But our millionaires are spending their money, just like the other side, to persuade people to give the ACA a chance.

None of this would be necessary if the media and politics were neutral. They could simply tell us the real pros and cons and let us decide for ourselves whether it was working or not (much as was done with Medicare Part D). Had this not become a ideological battle of almost Biblical proportions, we'd just go along and either discover that Obamacare provides us a benefit or it doesn't. Either it would be popular or it would fall away from lack of interest.

That's ultimately what will happen anyway. Despite the 43 votes to repeal it. Despite shutting down the government to de-fund it. Despite walking up to the edge of a government default to deny it. Despite Republican governors scorning it. Despite our hero, Ted Cruz, riding into town on his white horse to save us from it. None of that is going to happen. The Democrats in the Senate would never allow it. Obama would veto it.

By the time the president is out of office, the ACA will have had a few years to become part of our lives. Either we will be signing up in droves and it will have proven its worth or we will decide it hasn't been able to accomplish what it was intended to accomplish and it will fall of its own weight.

In the end, the people will decide based on real time experiences, not anecdotal "evidence" on Facebook.....which is as it should be.