Friday, February 7, 2014

Republicans built that!

Updated 2/8/2013:
Key Wilde/Getty.
Jonah Goldberg sez:
the real CBO story should be: “That awkward moment when everyone realizes Obamacare was a huge mistake.”
Yes, yes! How come that's only a false CBO story instead of the real one? Why isn't there any justice in the world any more? He adds,
The same CBO report projects that by 2024 the number of non-elderly uninsured will be — drum roll, please — 31 million Americans.
It's true, that's exactly what it projects:
about 31 million non-elderly US residents are likely to be uninsured in 2024, roughly one out of every nine residents. Without the ACA, the number would be at about 56 million. Of the remaining 31 million uninsured, about 30% (9 million) are expected to be unauthorized immigrants; about 20% (6 million) will be eligible for Medicaid but will choose not to enroll; about 5% (1.5 million) will be ineligible for Medicaid because they live in a state that has chosen not to expand coverage; and about 45% (14 million) will not purchase insurance even though they have access through an employer, an exchange, or directly from an insurer.
That's a million and a half who won't be insured because their Republican governor doesn't want them to be (that's also expected to kill 17,000 people); 9 million who won't be allowed in because Republican congressional pressure kept them out (we can't have any illegal aliens enjoying our delightful medical care, they'll just piss in the pool) even though Republicans continue to insist falsely that they are covered (that's how Joe Wilson of South Carolina became famous, heckling the president at the 2009 SOTU, remember? Good times...); and 20 million who won't have insurance because Republican propaganda (I'm looking at you, Jonah) has frightened them so much they'd rather pay a fine than go near it. (I guess there's still a chance, however remote, they might change their minds and get covered by 2024 and maybe some governors will change their minds and save some of those 17,000 inmates on Healthcare Death Row, but CBO has nothing to say about it.)

Of course without the Affordable Care Act those 20 million wouldn't be faced with such a scary choice. They could just like their emergency room care and bankruptcy and keep it without a second thought. And of course you all failed to get the 56 million uninsured that you were aiming at. Still, Republicans, 30 million uninsured is not chopped liver. Valiant work. F for Effort. I just don't understand why you want to give Obama the credit: guys, you built that!
Photograph of poorly regulated engineering project, supplied by the regulation-loving jackbooted government thugs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Another way in which Republicans are actively working to prevent people from having health insurance is not covered in the CBO report but was noted by Bill Moyers & company in November:
According to Jonathan Gruber, a leading health care wonk at MIT, all private insurance premiums in the 25 red states that are refusing to expand their Medicaid programs will be 15 percent higher as a direct result of that decision....
The victims of Obamacare’s implementation problems being hit the hardest, by far, are those whose incomes fall between the federal poverty line and the eligibility cutoffs in those 25 states rejecting Medicaid expansion. Not only will they be left uncovered, they won’t even be eligible for the generous subsidies that people earning slightly more than they do can use to buy insurance. It’s brutally unfair. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 4.8 million poor adults may fall into that coverage gap — about twice the number of people expected to pay more for their insurance when their substandard policies are cancelled.
And it gets worse. In 40 states, adults without children are ineligible for Medicaid regardless of their income level. In 30 states, the parents of children who qualify for Medicaid may not be eligible themselves. All of these people would be covered under Medicaid’s expansion, but they’re being left high and dry in the 25 states who have rejected expansion.
Oh, and Jonah? From the House Budget Committee questioning of CBO director Douglas Elmendorf:
[Rep. Chris] Van Hollen cited the report’s findings on Obamacare’s impact on labor demand, rather than supply. On page 124, the report estimates that the ACA will “boost overall demand for goods and services over the next few years because the people who will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid and from access to the exchange subsidies are predominantly in lower-income households and thus are likely to spend a considerable fraction of their additional resources on goods and services.” This, the report says, “will in turn boost demand for labor over the next few years.”
“When you boost demand for labor in this kind of economy, you actually reduce the unemployment rate, because those people who are looking for work can find more work, right?” Van Hollen asked Elmendorf.
“Yes, that’s right,” Elmendorf said.
Now we're getting to the heart of the matter: ACA reduces labor supply (affordable health insurance allows people to work less), increases labor demand (people have more money to spend on goods and services). What does that mean? HIGHER WAGES! That's what the Republicans have been upset about all along!

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