It Takes Two to Tango

The U.S. government shutdown over Obamacare moves into its 3rd day without an end in sight.

As usual, conservative Republicans get the blame from the get-go via a liberal dominated national press.

For example, CNN TV news anchor Ashleigh Banfield browbeat and ranted at her Republican guests who tried in vain to explain a very reasonable Republican compromise position passed by the House.

That position is to delay the start of Obamcare’s individual mandate for a year, just like President Obama quite arbitrarily did for the employer mandate. The Senate has flatly rejected four House compromise proposals without any compromises offered of its own.

Yet, all you hear on TV from the likes of Banfield and others is how Republicans want to shut down the government. Please, people, think about it!

Ms. Banfield, it takes two to tango! The government would not be shutdown today if the Senate hadn’t taken an intransigent, uncompromising position. It is the Senate, not the House, that has negotiated in bad faith.

Is it right for Republicans to tie Obamacare to funding the government? Absolutely! Why???

Between Banfield rants, Congressmen Marsha Blackburn calmly attempted unsuccessfully to explain that healthcare is now government’s fastest growing expenditure and the rising cost needs to be fixed through tax reform.

That, folks, ties directly to passing a budget!!! Therefore, it is a legitimate topic for compromise negotiations. The Senate flatly refuses to budge.

Blackburn even added the now-broken healthcare law isn’t ready for prime time. She explained it has already had 19 delays and missed 47 regulatory deadlines while President Obama has doled out 1,200 waivers to political friends.

The only Americans being made to suffer now are the middle class who get no breaks at all.

In the meantime, Obamacare staggers forward under the burden of its own weight. Now the computer systems for exchange signups are full of glitches.

There you have it, more support for Blackburn and the Republican compromise position.

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About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Oct 3, 2013, in Business, Debt, economics, Government, Health Care, news, Obamacare, Opinion, Politics, Taxes. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Better to stop it starting than to try and stop it once it is up and running. Let’s hope the Republicans stay the course because even that POS POTUS knows that this is a bullshit bill to hand the American who takes responsibility for himself and his own.

  2. Couldn’t the administration’s delay of the employer mandate itself be considered a compromise? The President isn’t oblivious to claims that implementation of the law might hurt economic growth, and so he pushed employer penalties back a year. It could be argued that Republicans were taking advantage of Obama’s decision to delay employer penalties in the summer, and maybe asking for too much this time around. Plus, pushing the individual mandate back a year while keeping all the other restrictions on insurance companies in place could cause premiums to skyrocket. The individual mandate is what is keeping premiums from shooting up in the first place because the “fairer coverage” provisions of the ACA are costly for insurance companies.

    I’ve been posting about the ACA and have a few more posts coming out, I hope you’ll check out my blog and feel free to comment!

    wheresthebeefblog.wordpress.com

    Thanks!
    Anthony

    • It could equally be plausible that the reason the President delayed the employer mandate but not the individual mandate is because it forces more people that MUST buy insurance to sign up for health care through the exchanges which puts us once step closer to a single-payer system. That, coincidentally, is the President’s ultimate health care goal. This move makes that happen faster.

      The terrible rollout of the buggy exchanges supports the conservative suggestion that the individual mandate should be delayed a year as well.

      I will check out your ACA writings.

  3. I don’t quite see how delaying the employer mandate moves us closer to a single-payer system, although I don’t doubt that is what he (and many Democrats) would have wanted if not for opposition from insurance companies and Republicans. What boggles me is how the people that so avidly wanted a single-payer system in the 1990s (Bush, Republicans, and conservative thinktanks) are the biggest opponents now. And public opinion has changed right along with them. The same goes for the Democrats opposing it before but wanting it now.

    I’m also not sure how delaying it for a year would have avoided the issues with online enrollment. CBO does project that delaying the individual mandate would reduce the deficit by about $35 billion over 10 years, but at the same time, the CBO projects that repeal of the program altogether would would add about $100 billion to the deficit over 10 years. We also have to ask about the costs of having 11 million people go uninsured that would have been penalized under the individual mandate in 2014, and how this will affect hospital costs and health care spending.

    I don’t see a delay as a compromise because this wouldn’t be the end of it. McConnell has assured that the ACA won’t be part of negotiations in January and February, but there would be nothing stopping Republicans from bringing it up a year from now, right before the individual mandate would kick in if delayed (and around midterms). We all know the Republicans’ goal is to eliminate the program altogether, delaying it is just the first step to that.

    • Allow me to explain about the single-payer push…
      1 – Employers do not have a mandate requiring them to provide insurance in 2014
      2 – So, those that don’t already, don’t give health insurance in 2014 either
      3 – Individuals are required, by law, to have insurance in 2014
      4 – Individuals MUST buy insurance
      5 – Where do they get it? (President hopes the exchanges)
      6 – Net result, law compels more Americans into de facto single payer in 2014.

      That clear enough? It just happens to be the President’s original plan for health care. The President then just happens to make an arbitrary one-sided decision pushing in that direction. Coincidence? Believe that and I got a bridge in Lake Havasu City I’ll sell you for cheap, especially given the terrible roll-out of the exchanges.

      Now… about the exchanges…
      The exchanges have basic, fundamental flaws at startup:
      1-No security site certificate validation (the most basic Internet flaw there is)
      2-Sites down for long periods
      3-Customers lost account data after fixes applied to software glitches
      4-Lacked sufficient hardware/software capacity to handle predictable site traffic

      The exchanges were not even remotely close to being production worthy. Probably still aren’t. The State of Oregon realized that last August and set theirs up as a “hand” system.

      A delay in the roll-out of the individual mandate would have given the developers time to fix basic programming 101 errors that should never have occurred in the first place.

      The lack of site certification is especially disturbing given it is a hacker’s wet dream come true!

      I managed a software development team for 18 years. I’d have fired the whole bunch for a national roll-out nightmare of a high profile product like the exchanges.

      Questions:
      A -What 1990s plan did Republican think tanks support? Where can I find it?

      I’d like to cross compare it to Obamacare to find out why ACA was never supported by even a single Republican lawmaker in even a single vote in either the House or Senate.

      B-What specific CBO/JCT references did you use for your ACA Part II numbers?

      I can’t find them. The ones I could find, didn’t quite match yours. The CBO has revised its revenue forecasts since the original ACA estimates back in 2010.

      The original ACA bill that was signed into law – http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:H.R.3590: – has a “CBO Cost Estimate” link that used to work, but doesn’t anymore.

  4. I see your point, but I have to disagree that the President’s primary motive was to move towards a single-payer system. I think he was genuinely trying to appease Republicans and to hold off placing yet another burden on large businesses while the economy is still recovering. Especially since the notion of one big risk-pool doesn’t work as well if every state (that chooses to set up an exchange) is administering its own risk-pool. So no matter what, it would never reach a true single-payer system.

    I also think the success of the law cannot be judged merely by the enrollment website. It is definitely a huge problem, particularly the lack of security, and it’s clear they are working hard to fix it. I’m sure you’ve seen people pointing out how Medicare Part D began much the same way, but it is viewed as a success today. So I’d prefer to judge the exchanges based on long-run success rather than two weeks of enrollment period.

    As for Republican plans, I realize I was mistaken in saying they favored a single-payer system. It was actually the individual mandate – similar to the mandate that Republicans last week were trying to delay. I am also very aware that not all Republicans or conservatives endorsed this. Here are a few articles that discuss Bush-41 and other Republicans’ plans.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/individual-mandate-now-vi_n_517097.html
    “At the time the alternative was thought to be single payer and whatever Senator Kennedy had in mind, which was more or less a single payer kind of view. Conservatives didn’t support that. But they were taking the premise that everyone ought to have insurance.”

    Heritage plan: http://healthcarereform.procon.org/sourcefiles/1992_heritage_consumer_choice_health_plan.pdf

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2012/02/07/the-tortuous-conservative-history-of-the-individual-mandate/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2012/02/07/the-tortuous-conservative-history-of-the-individual-mandate/
    “One such bill, the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993, or HEART, was introduced in the Senate by John Chafee (R., R.I.) and co-sponsored by 19 other Senate Republicans, including Christopher Bond, Bob Dole, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, Alan Simpson, and Arlen Specter. Given that there were 43 Republicans in the Senate of the 103rd Congress, these 20 comprised nearly half of the Republican Senate Caucus at that time. The HEART Act proposed health insurance vouchers for low-income individuals, along with an individual mandate.”

    The motive for many conservatives at the time seemed to be to address the free-rider problem, and that is part of the motive for the ACA.

    Here are also the sources I used for my cost/revenue estimates.
    The CBO estimate of insurance coverage provisions (before the delay of employer mandate): http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/44190_EffectsAffordableCareActHealthInsuranceCoverage_2.pdf

    The JCT estimate on tax provisions (not including individual and employer penalties, or transitional re-insurance fee on insurance companies):
    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/jct_june_2012_partial_re-estimate_of_tax_provisions_in_aca.pdf

    CHRT Impact of ACA taxes and fees (based on CBO and JCT estimates):
    http://www.chrt.org/publications/price-of-care/the-impact-of-aca-taxes-and-fees/

    CBO estimate of effect after delay of employer mandate:
    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/44465-ACA.pdf

    CBO estimate of effect of repeal of ACA (for estimates of Medicare savings, page 13-14):
    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43471-hr6079.pdf

    Please let me know if the numbers still don’t add up, I had to synthesize various estimates from all these reports over 2013-22. I’m glad to be engaging in this conversation.

    Anthony

    • You can take the President at his own words about single-payer:

      I’ll believe the President is appeasing Republicans if you can point out actual examples that prove it. I don’t know of any myself that amount to a hill of beans. 😉

      Medicare Part D – the Prescription Drug Program – is NOT working. It was the fastest growing unfunded liability in the federal government before Obamacare came along. Obamacare closed the “donut hole” which makes it cost even more faster!

      Part D is one of the many reasons the debt debates are so contentious.

      If success is defined as affordable to taxpayers then Medicare Part D is a failure. It is not enough to provide a needed service. It has to be a service that can be paid for. Part D right now is unaffordable and piling on to the debt burden for future generations.

      Part D wasn’t any better under George W when he signed it into law and has been made worse by President Obama. Back in 2008 Obama himself blamed Bush and Part D (and the wars and Bush-era tax cuts) for exploding the national debt and then voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was a Senator.

      My… how things do change!

      Thanks for the links… you have given me a lot to review. It will take some time.

    • You are not going to like this…
      There will be others, but these are my initial comments on your very first reference link from the Huffington Post:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/individual-mandate-now-vi_n_517097.html

      When I write articles, I’m anal about checking and understand my sources. I’ve quoted the HP before, but the HP is not the problem with this reference.

      The problem is that it is TERRIBLE support for your premise of Republican support for anything like Obamacare. I’m not surprised, either.

      Never EVER depend on a liberal source to tell you what a conservative thinks. It will always be wrong. The reverse is also true.

      That is definitely true in this reference.

      The Huffington article includes an important quote that has ZERO source reference. Am I to believe that George H said that without a reference? Of course, not! That can NEVER be acceptable to me, nor should it be to you. The only actual article reference is to page 25 in a BACKGROUND PAPER where “individual mandate” is only defined!!

      Clearly, that does NOT support the HP’s statement that George H supported anything even remotely close to Obamacare! He did not.

      Come on… you gotta do better than that if you want to convince anyone that Republicans ever supported anything like ACA. They did not.

    • Regarding Republicans and Health care. Each reference you mention share one thing in common… every one of them were flatly rejected by Democrats! The Heritage one wasn’t even a plan, but a set of talking points they wanted to present to Clinton’s health care team. They weren’t even given that opportunity.

      You failed to mention about 10 health care plans submitted by Republicans in 2009-2010 that Pelosi and Reid didn’t even allow to be discussed in committee, let alone on either house floor.

      Republicans offered two good ideas:
      1-Sell insurance across state lines (like auto insurance works)
      2-Tort reform

      Both ideas were rejected by Obama.

      So, if you want to know why Republicans never supported Obamacare and never will… those are some reasons… not to mention the law is so poorly put together that people still don’t know what is in it.

    • Thanks for the CBO/JCT links. They are enlightening.

      I wasn’t interested in two links estimating the cost of repealing Obamacare because that can’t happen before 2017. I did find it curious, though that the June 2012 repeal estimate had the name of the requester redacted. Why?

      But the other two CBO links are treasure troves of information…
      One estimates insurance coverage provisions, which is timely to what is happening with the exchanges today. The other is the Paul Ryan request calculating the net revenue effect of delaying the employer mandate a year.

      Both of those are fascinating!! Thanks again for directing them to me. I greatly appreciate it.

      However, even with all your links, you still did not provide the source (I don’t think) for all the revenue/outlay data you included in Part II of your thoughtful ACA series. 😦

  5. If you noticed in my blog post, I did in fact say that Democrats wouldn’t even consider some of the proposals, and that the parties’ current positions are BOTH the opposite of where they stood on the individual mandate two decades ago. For different reasons though…Democrats rejected the mandate before because it didn’t accomplish what they truly wanted, a single-payer system. And they took it up now because it is the closest thing they would ever be able to get. It seems nothing more than a compromise position on their part, because, as you’ve mentioned, their ideal solution would be single-payer. Republicans, on the other hand, oppose the mandate now for no reason other than: Democrats are now behind it.

    But you can hardly blame public ignorance on the law itself…when more than half the pundits’ and politicians’ claims out there made about the law are misleading. And that’s the whole reason I’ve endeavored to blog about the law: to clear up a lot of these inaccuracies. I’m writing a post just about public opinion to be posted soon, but one big pattern out there is that once decomposed, a vast majority of people actually support many of the specific provisions in the law, most of which they didn’t know were actually included.

    • Well you are right about Democrats… their rejection was at the 100% level right down to the ‘I’ll-give-it-consideration’ level. lol!!!

      Be that as it may, if the U.S. is going to have a national health care plan that covers the entire population then the individual mandate probably needs to be part of it.

      In fact, the failure of Americans to embrace the individual mandate is Obamacare’s Achilles’ heel. The numbers in the links you gave me compared to what actually happens in 2014 will start to show the carnage. It will worsen after that.

      It’s a ridiculous assertion that Republicans oppose ACA and the individual mandate just because it is from Democrats. That’s the kind of thinking paralyzing this nation.

      They reject ACA for all the reasons I previous pointed out AND they favor an alternative to the individual mandate – Individualized health plans subsidized by the government.

      That removes the government incompetence factor that is so painfully visible with the disastrous roll out of the exchanges.

  6. But I believe I have presented fairly convincing evidence that yes, Republicans did support plans very close to the ACA back in the 1990s.

    • I agree you presented accurate evidence that, at one time or another, some Republicans supported some ideas that got into Obamacare. So what does that mean?

      If you are suggesting it proves ACA is right and good for all Americans because some Republicans supported some semi-similar aspects of it back in 1993 then you were not very convincing.

      Newt Gingrich famously renounced his former support for the individual mandate in favor of individualized health plans. That accurately reflects current Republican thinking on the individual mandate.

      • Glad I could be of help. It really was just an assemblage (Excel spreadsheet) on my part since there was no one place for all revenues and outlays. Unless I’m mistaken, I’m pretty sure I did give you all the resources I used. If you’d like to see that spreadsheet with source citations I can send that along to you.

        Why is that assertion so ridiculous? Today, no party would think of rubber-stamping the most prominent ideas of the other party, even if they agree with it, or if they have supported it in the past. It’s politics, and it sounds cynical, but that’s just the way I see it. It goes both ways too; if (in some crazy world) Republicans were to propose tax increases on the wealthy, I wouldn’t expect Democrats to support it. I imagine that might ring true in the case of Democrats rejecting GOP immigration reform proposals as well. These are the symptoms of severe polarization and desire for credit-claiming. What’s paralyzing the nation is the wealth of misinformation out there, and the inability of people to be skeptical of what they hear. After all, people derive their opinions on issues from the messages they receive from political elites (see Zaller). This explains the shift in public opinion over the years that has followed the shift in positions among the GOP on health care.

        My argument on the Republicans’ shift only points to the fact that people should try to figure out for themselves what is in the law, whether they like it, and what consequences they think it might have, because the parties are not the most reliable sources of information on this. If Republicans feel as Gingrich does now, that their previous positions were wrong, then that’s fine. But people should know the history, and make their decisions based on all the relevant information.

        (If it’s not clear by this point, I personally do not expect the adverse economic consequences that opponents of the ACA predict. That’s also an upcoming blog post I’m working on – and I’m sure you’ll have some comments on that. I also expect public opinion will continue to turn in favor of the law as Republicans lose some credibility with people on the fence about it, as the website gets repaired, as enrollment continues to increase, and the individual provisions start working to improve people’s coverage. I don’t know what to expect about premiums for existing private plans, although I have read that many people who did enroll in the exchanges are very happy with their new, lower premiums.)

      • I was looking closer at the CHRT and it might have it all.

        I was expecting a strait CBO report, not a 3rd party interpretation so did not look very closely at it at first.

        I haven’t looked closely even now, but suspect the originating CBO source (or sources) are in there.

        I find that I am a lot more successful presenting facts then in speculations on the motivations of Republicans and/or Democrats. I can’t know what is in the minds of the parties. So, USUALLY, I just stick with facts and numbers. They speak for themselves.

        Some comments on the cost of ACA…
        Medicare, the last major health care law, was enacted in 1968. Just like ACA now, the CBO did a cost analysis. They said it would cost about $11 billion in it’s first 10 years. It actually cost about $96 billion.

        Medicare cost 8.8 times more in it’s first 10 years than the CBO estimate!!!

        The CBO is notorious for its overly optimistic projections.

        If, lets say, the CBO is closer this time and ACA only costs 4 times the original estimate then it will generate a fiscal crisis that rivals all the other entitlements combined… without a revenue stream to pay for it

        Heck, the President’s arbitrary decision to delay the employer mandate one year reduced ACA’s income by $117 billion. (got that reference from you 🙂 ) That alone wipes out the unrealistic belief that ACA could actually reduce the deficit by 47.3 billion.

        The -47.3 billion deficit reduction, I believe, may be from the CBO’s original estimate before the law ever passed. But I’d have to verify that.

        No matter, by the end of 2014 when 10s of millions more Medicaid recipients become eligible, the ginormous taxpayer cost of ACA will begin raising its ugly dragon’s head.

      • Well, we have different expectations. I guess we’ll just have to see!

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