December 20, 2013

#Obamacare: Further slouching toward Gomorrah?

True liberals know how I feel about Obamacare — a giveaway to insurers and if anything, a impediment toward the adoption of single-payer national health care, rather than a step forward in that direction.

Even worse, though, have been the technocratic failures with the implementation of Obamacare that have come out in the last couple of months, along with the ever-increasing Band-Aid fixes, the cheap kludges implemented to try to work around those failures.

The latest? The White House delaying the individual mandate for people who had old insurance plans cancelled. Along with the reason why — losing insurance is a "hardship" and one that falls under Obamacare's exemption hardships. Plus, as Ezra notes, this puts a crack in the individual mandate. With many younger people, especially, already indicating they'll pay the fine instead of buying insurance, chiseling away at your own foundation because of your slap-dash earlier work is pretty serious indeed.

And so, I can agree with conservatives like Arik Roy, even while disagreeing with their motives for attacking Obamacare:
These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.
Problem is, of course, is that Team Obama first tried to do other fixes when the fire started over people losing old plans. However, most state insurance commissioners in states with state-level exchanges said Nyet to that. So, this is Obama's second fix on the same issue. And, like other fixes for other issues, no matter what he says, designed to punt it past the 2014 midterms, to make Senate Democrats, first, and House Democrats, second, breathe easier.

This, in turn, leads to two deeper issues.

One is that, as higher-doller opiners than me have noted, it undercuts the liberal idea that government works. In a twist on that, it undercuts the neoliberal idea that neolibs can make government work even better, and work much better when partnered with the market.

The other is that it further undermines the image of Obama's personal competence, which never was that high in my book. Some may not like to admit this, but his approach to his name project, after it passed, has been highly passive, as if he expected having his name on it, and his mellifluous voice talking about it, was all that was needed.


And, when he was shown to be wrong, we've seen that neoliberals, when scrambling under deadline, are no better, and no more ethical, than the general populace in such situations.

Meanwhile, Christ Mooney, proving yet once again he's an in-the-tank Democrat engaged in just as much motivated reasoning biased thinking as the conservatives he blasted in Republican Brain, now claims Obamacare will be a great tool for expanding atheism in the U.S.

Of course, to make this stupendous claim, he confuses Obamacare with a true national health care system, whether single-payer or not, that exists in other advanced developed nations:
Existential threat, in the form of an earthquake, produces more religiosity; existential stability—in the form of an established rule of law, universal health care systems, and strong welfare states—leads to the opposite. And that, says Norenzayan, helps explain low levels of religiosity in Europe, even as it may also explain why the US is an outlier among developed countries when it comes to religion. "Compared to other advanced democracies, there is much more existential insecurity in the United States,” Norenzayan says. We didn't have health security (until recently, anyway), and we have a large gap between rich and poor compared with many other industrialized countries.
No ... we still don't have "health security," Chris. We have a cobbled-together neoliberal hodgepodge of handouts to the insurance industry, plus the tech industry (electronic patient records).

He then doubles down on fellating Obama in the next graf:
What this line of thinking suggests is that passing a major US policy change like Obamacare could, in the long run, produce more atheism by making people's lives more secure. When life is good, stable, and unthreatening, it seems that you don't need religion so much to give you hope for a better future in the afterlife. You already have that hope—for this life.
We don't have other stability either. Obama's new-found religion on income inequality will be ephemeral. His continued push for "free trade" agreements shows that. His cybersnooping on Americans shows that.

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