Nostrovia!

First, they’ll come for your health care.

Why is “Obamacare” so terrible? 20 million people who didn’t have health insurance before the ACA have it now. Why has gutting/overturning it been the singular obsession of the right since day one? Well, it’s the death panels, of course.

No, seriously.

The most common complaint is that it requires everyone to purchase health insurance, and Americans don’t like to be required to do anything, especially by the gummint. Young people in particular resent the requirement, as they are less likely to need the insurance they must buy. In Massachusetts, we’ve had this requirement for a while – we call it Romneycare – so the ACA didn’t really strike anyone here as anything new or horrible.

Another complaint is that some people really can’t afford it. In the past, the uninsured have either let their health problems go untreated, or have sought emergency room treatment. In either case, the rest of us paid for it one way or another. You would think this would be a reason for the right to support Obamacare. Wrong.

Republicans must oppose Obamacare for two reasons, one political and one financial. They cannot confess to either and cannot speak in an honest way about them.

The principle political objection to Obamacare is Obama. It represents a great achievement for a democratic administration and that cannot stand.

The more important objection to Obamacare, and any other scheme that attempts to address the health needs of all Americans, is the financial interests of some very powerful adversaries are at stake. In this country (only in America!), your health is a profit center, and any form of universal healthcare is going to be a drag on profits.

The principle beneficiaries of your poor health are the drug companies (aka Big Pharma), doctors (represented by the AMA), and for-profit hospitals, who would all like to increase their bottom line while lowering costs.

The principle beneficiaries of your good health are the insurance companies, and here’s where the real problem lies. They are highly incentivized to raise revenues (your premiums) and reduce costs (your benefits).

One of the arguments against further government involvement in health insurance is that “you wouldn’t want some government bureaucrat between you and your doctor, would you?” Well, first of all, you already have an army of insurance company bureaucrats between you and your doctor, and, yes, I would prefer a bureaucrat who has no real reason to deny me benefits to a capitalist who hopes to get a gold-plated toilet installed in his Gulfstrem G5 by letting my health deteriorate.

And then there’s the issue of the new tax of 3.8% on income over $250,000 for a married couple has been imposed to pay for it all, and some people are pretty upset about that.

Trump has pledged to repeal Obamacare and there is little doubt that this will now happen. What is the alternative? What will they do with the 20 million newly insured? It will be interesting, and probably disheartening, to see.

The broader lesson here seems to be that there is no point in a democratic administration getting any law passed. It’s only temporary if it happens.

But to the victor goes the spoils. Let’s raise a glass and toast all the red-blooded, red-staters who “won”, or at least think they did: À votre santé!

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