I hate to, but have to admit that there’s a lot about Obamacare I don’t like. However, it is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame that, because Republicans have forced so many cuts in the number of government employees, the design and implementation of the website had to be outsourced to corporate contractors. What we’re really seeing is a failure of the too poorly regulated free market to deliver goods and services as promised. However I agree with the best solution, the one Paul Krugman suggests.
The good news about HealthCare.gov, the portal to Obamacare’s health exchange, is that the administration is no longer minimizing its problems. That’s the first step toward fixing the mess — and it will get fixed, although it’s anyone’s guess whether the new promise of a smoothly functioning system by the end of November will be met. We know, after all, that Obamacare is workable, since many states that chose to run their own exchanges are doing quite well.
But while we wait for the geeks to do their stuff, let’s ask a related question: Why did this thing have to be so complicated in the first place?
It’s true that the Affordable Care Act isn’t as complex as opponents make it out to be. Basically, it requires that insurance companies offer the same policies to everyone; it requires that each individual then buy one of these policies (the individual mandate); and it offers subsidies, depending on income, to keep insurance affordable.
Still, there’s a lot for people to go through. Not only do they have to choose insurers and plans, they have to submit a lot of personal information so the government can determine the size of their subsidies. And the software has to integrate all this information, getting it to all the relevant parties — which isn’t happening yet on the federal site.
Imagine, now, a much simpler system in which the government just pays your major medical expenses. In this hypothetical system you wouldn’t have to shop for insurance, nor would you have to provide lots of personal details. The government would be your insurer, and you’d be covered automatically by virtue of being an American.
Of course, we don’t have to imagine such a system, because it already exists. It’s called Medicare, it covers all Americans 65 and older, and it’s enormously popular. So why didn’t we just extend that system to cover everyone?… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Click through for the rest, please.
The answer, of course, is that Medicare for all could never have survived the Republican filibuster preventing its passage. Even during the few brief days that Democrats had a super-majority in the Senate, a very small number of DINOs took payola from Big Insurance and goose-stepped with the Republicans. Medicare for all remains the best solution, and we’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, Obamacare, with all the website problems, is a big improvement over RepubliCare, which offers only the RepubliCare Death Benefit. If you cannot pay, you get to die for free.