Sunday, October 19, 2014

For Democratic candidates, it may be time for the sinking ship to desert the rat.

Since he was elected president, Barrack Obama has betrayed, reneged on, undermined, lied and sold out every Democratic party ideal, principle, promise and pledge he ever made and that Democratic voters expected to be fullfulled by him and wasn't.

The list is so long it's pointless to go into every one,and most of his failures were and still are the result of horrendous judgement and capitulations even when no capitulation was needed or neccessary, all the result of sheer political and policy cowardice. There is no other word to describe it. Nothing Obama has ever  done or not done has ever been the result of principle or conviction or a willingness to stand up to or for anything and fight for it.

But when it comes to Obamacare it is impossible to overstate how complete a disaster, betrayal, sell out,  abject failure and act of political and policy cowardice Obamacare actually is, a truly ineffective peice of "junk", as Howard Dean once called it  despite the latest cheesy and dishonest fund raising emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out in Barbara Streisand's name or Nancy Pelosi thanking heaven for Obamacare and trying to raise money based on supporting the last two years of the Obama presidency, a strategy so dumb its painful.

Dishonest Democratic party fund raising emails signed by Nancy Pelosi, Biden, Harry Reid and Obama himself(how dishonest? Some use my zip code and claim if they don't get x amount of contributions from my zip code by midnight they may as well throw in the towel)   literally beg and plead ( in many cases actually groveling) for contributions to get a Democratic majority for Obama for his last two years. What they hope everyone will forget, is that Obama had a Democratic majority in congress in the first two years of his presidency, the biggest congressional majority any president has had in 60 years and he wasted it with his unnecessary capitulations, none greater than Obamacare.

And since Obamacare is called his "signature legislative achievement", it's worth examing why the signature is a forgery.

First,  Obamacare is the most underhanded and egregious sellout of a government policy to a special interest group ( the health insurance lobby) in American history. It was a bait and switch  healthcare reform bill that would have made the sleaziest used car dealer in America cringe. Obamacare was  healthcare reform designed to benefit, not the people who needed healthcare but the insurance companies. It was a bill that Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, presidential candidate, governor and physician said was junk before the senate vote, and publicly said right before the Supreme Court decision that he hoped Obamacare was overturned. There is nothing in Obamacare that has any value that wouldn't have been automatic with the public option. But there is a lot of good the public option would have done which the Democrats had the votes to pass, that that went down the drain with Obamacare.

Here are the facts related to Obamacare: of the 50 million Americans who were uninsured before Obamacare, 48.5 million Americans are still uninsured because they can't afford even the cheapest plans offered by Obamacare which comes with high premiums $6,000 deductibles, 40% co-pays and often require those who did enroll in policies to travel over 100 miles to get to a provider that's in the networks of the cheapest plans.  If it sounds like healthcare reform designed by the insurance companies, its because it is (see the PBS  Frontline documentary on Obama's sell out of healthcare reform to the insurance lobby "Obama's Deal"). Of the 32 million young healthy uninsured that Obamacare needs to succeed, about 3% bought polices,with the rest saying no thanks.And when those who did buy see how little their policies will  cover, they may opt out too the second year.

This what the New York Times reported on Obamacare as recently as October 18 under the headline: "Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor."

The article interviewed and outlined a number of people for whom Obamacare is a colassal failure and its safe to say their stories are true for most who decided to enroll which is why 97.8% of the uninsured in America after looking at what was being offered chose not to. 

Patricia Wanderlich needed brain scan monitoring, but the policy she bought under Obamacare, a bronze policy, the cheapest offered, came with a $6,000 deductible, meaning her medical expenses were not going to be fully covered until she spent $6,000 out of pocket. So she is skipping the brain scan. She cant afford it under the Affordable Care Act.

The deductibles on these plans run from $5-6,000 for individuals to $10,000 for families. And remember that under the wonders of the ACA, these are for plans on the lowest tier, healthcare reform that was supposed to insure those who previously couldn't afford insurance.

The Times article quoted Katherine Hempstead director of health insurance coverage research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who said, " unfortunately the people who are attracted to the lower premiums ( in the cheaper plans) are the ones who are going to have the most trouble coming up with the cost sharing if they want to use their insurance".

Whats worse, the deductibles for those who have employer sponsored health plans, those who didn't need Obamacare are considerably lower than the lowest Obamacare deductibles. on average of $1,217 a year compared to an average of $5,081 for an individual on the cheapest Obamacare policy and $10,386 for a family. This is the healthcare reform that Nancy Pelosi, doing her best Marie Antoinette impersonation recently called "affordable, affordable, affordable".

The anecdotal stories are a nightmare. People with low end Obamacare policies who had to use an emergency room getting bills for $1,000 for the ER visit because their Obamacare insurance wouldn't cover it. Had they had no Obamacare  insurance they would've gotten the same emergency room care for nothing.

Another who bought a bronze plan under Obamacare said, "$6,000 for a deductible? Do they think I have that under my mattress? Im just going to do what I can to stay healthy". So not only did Obamacare fail to cover almost 98% of those who couldn't afford health insurance, it provided little or nothing of value to those who decided to buy. Which is why the vast majority of Americans didn't.  In other words to most people Obamacare is worthless, justifying Howard Dean's characterization of it to begin with as "junk".

One of the most egregious examples of why Obamacare is 95% of everything the insurance companies wanted and is doing very few people any good compared to what the public option would have accomplished,  is the case of Dr. Rebecca Love in Moab, Utah. She has a host of self described health problems and her Obamacare insurance came with a $6,000 deductible. But after spending more than $6300 in out of pocket medical expenses she learned none of it was applicable to her deductible because the doctors she was seeing was not in her bronze plan network. In order to see those doctors she would have had to drive more than 100 miles each way.

All of this is for one reason:  Obama didn't have the integrity, the backbone, the principles or conviction to stand up for what was right and what was promised by both he and the Democrats in the public option, which was also a vastly superior healthcare reform policy and a policy that the majority in congress wanted along with the majority of the American people.

Obama had the votes to pass it but instead did what he has done time and time again during his presidency -- reneged on promises, backed down, caved in and sold out in the face of even the slightest pressure, this time to the health insurance lobby who leaned on him to drop the public option because it was going to cost them money.

This lack of conviction or principle or a willingness to stand up for both has been the hallmark of the Obama presidency. And the betrayal of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in going along with Obama's sell out is what cost the Democrats their majority in the House and eroded their majority in the senate.

Whether its about his weak and anemic foreign policy that consistantly backfired, whether on Syria,  being mistrusted by both the Israelis and Palestinians because of his public reversals of policy and so had no influence with either, being intimidated by Putin in Ukraine resulting in the annexation of Crimea and a wider war in the east, his failure to live up to his own red line over the use of chemical weapons against civilians,being caught unawares and napping with Isis, along with his domestic failures on any kind of meaningful gun safety legislation, the disastrous  Unaffordable Care Act,  his failure to close Gitmo and his expansion of NSA spying on Americans to name a few, any  Democrat running anywhere will go a lot further by honestly repudiating Obama and his failures including Obamacare,  than embracing Obama's presidency or trying to defend what can't be defended.

Obama's failures and how most Democratic voters feel about it predictably escapes every Democratic strategist and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee itself which is still sending out fund raising emails to Democratic voters to raise more money by offering free "Proud Obama Voter" bumper stickers for a president with a 43% approval rating and 65% who say the country is going in the wrong direction. Democratic political strategists at their best.

As for party loyalty, Democrats need to keep in mind that when health insurance policies started being cancelled, and Republicans began attacking Democrats and Obama over the promise " if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance", Obama preferred to put Democrats backs to the wall and take the hit to his credibility and approval rating rather than tell the truth: that he never made that promise about Obamacare, but said it about the public option in response to Republican attacks that the public option was a government take over of health care. That Obama would throw congressional Democrats under the bus rather than tell the truth, which would have invited comparisons between Obamacare and the public option he didnt want made, or how and why Obamacare became a substitute for the public option is all Democrats need to know about loyalty.

Standing up against and running against Republican policies is one thing. Supporting a failed, duplictious, less than honest and weak Obama presidency is another. And with the election only a few weeks away and polls showing Democratic candidate leads shrinking in many close elections, the only question for Democrats now is, is it too late?


I told you so.


Anonymous said...

Obama will probably get a job working for Karen Ignani.

Anonymous said...

Ted Raicer: Well I would argue the Public Option was never anything but a ruse to shut down Single Payer. Once that goal was achieved, Obama abandoned it.

Of course, I agree with every bad thing you've said about Obama. Which is why I'll never understand your voting for him. He was not "the lesser evil" because unlike a failed GOP President (and McCain or Romney would have failed) he moved the country to the Right. Obama didn't save us from the Right-he revived it. Which, I suggest, was what his monied backers always intended.

Marc Rubin said...

"Obama will probably get a job working for Karen Ignani."

Selling health insurance would suit him.

Marc Rubin said...

"Of course, I agree with every bad thing you've said about Obama. Which is why I'll never understand your voting for him. "

I didnt vote for him. As for the public option as a ruse to shut down single payer, it was the first and most effective step on the road to a single payer system. And it would have accomplished everything healthcare reform was supposed to do. Obamacare has nothing to do with healhtcare reform. Which is why after Obama cut his backroom deal with the insurance companies he changed the banner behind him at town hall meeting from "Healthcare Reform" to "Health Insurance Reform". Naturally the news media never noticed the change. And Obama never said a word, pretending nothing had changed but giving himself the out with the new banner that he was being "upfront".

Anonymous said...

tdraicer: I recall you posting the "must vote for him as the lesser evil" argument in 2012. But if you didn't vote for him, good.

In any case, you are missing my point about the Public Option: it was not about whether a real PO would be a good thing, it is that Obama only used the PO to shut down any talk about Single Payer. You may have taken it seriously, but I suggest the backroom sellout was intended by Obama from the start.

Marc Rubin said...

"my point about the Public Option: it was not about whether a real PO would be a good thing, it is that Obama only used the PO to shut down any talk about Single Payer."

The only reason Id disagree is that the House had already passed the healthcare reform bill with the public option. Pelosi is the biggest Obama sycophant in Congress but I dont think even she would have wasted everyone's time with open debate on the bill and forcing members to vote on it if she knew Obama was going to ditch it anyway.

The smartest solution was Howard Dean's who advovated a Medicare for All bill because the infrastructure was there and, some instances of doctors committing fraud aside, its been administered very well for decades unlike Obama's web site fiasco. But the public option was supposed to be the stop gap measure as a gateway to that. Obama just caved into the insurance companies who knew it would wreck their business.

Anonymous said...

New York Times Nov. 2, 2014

Braced for Shift in Congress, Obama Sets a New Agenda
Expecting a less friendly Congress after the election, President Obama’s aides are mapping out compromises with Republicans to expand trade and overhaul taxes.
It's because of these "compromises when there was no need, that this is now happening.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Medicare for all would be any different than private health insurance. I've had Medicare because of disability for 12years now, and am still forced to buy private insurance to supplement it. Medicare covers 80% of medical blls for a very good premium price (about #100/month), but if you're elderly or disabled, the kind of people who are eligible for Medicare, you tend to be ill, and have a lot of medical bills, and 20% of many thousands of dollars per year has bankrupted a lot of people who have Medicare as their primary insurance. Therefore, to cover the 20%, I pay $500/month for private supplement insurance. Not all states allow disabled people to buy supplement insurance-the people who need it the most. If you are 65, all states require that you be allowed to buy Medicare Supplement for whatever price the private insurance companies wish to charge, naturally. Of course, you can sometimes keep your insurance from work, thanks to HIPPA, but you have to pay for the entire premium, which most people who are totally disabled can not afford. So, I pay 5 times the Medicare premium, which provides 80% coverage, for private supplement insurance, which covers only 20%. Plus, the private supplement insurance often doesn't cover things Medicare says it's supposed to, and the complaint process via Medicare is a joke. They don't investigate, themselves, just send the complaint to the private insurer, who lies, and them Medicare closes the complaint without even notifying the complainant that there was a response or asking the complainant whether the response from the insurance company was true. Clearly, Medicare, itself, has been corrupted, no doubt by MONEY from the private insurance company to the Medicare administrators.And that's not even addressing drug coverage, where, again, the private insurance companies who run Plan D often take necessary prescription medicine out of their formulary right after the enrollment date ends. So, you're stuck without your seizure medication, unless you can eek the money out of your disability pension. Obamacare includes no improvements to Medicare under the guise of us being well-covered. The best thing for everyone would be to eliminate the private health insurance industry, completely. They can find new jobs some place where they can't do as much harm as in health care, like K-mart. I was hoping that Dennis Kucinich would be elected because of HR 676, and only voted for him in 2008. Unfortunately, when asked about angle-payer health insurance. I recall that Hillary Clinton laughed and said, "This is America." I was disappointed. I'm encouraging my kids to try to find employment in Canada as long as this is what America is all about.

Anonymous said...

Well, they left.

Any suggestion as to how to make that corrupt rotten party realize ex-Dems were voting against the slow-acting Republicans and not for the fast-acting kind? IOW, against Repubican-lite and not for Republicans?