March 10, 2015

#Obamacare — I thought Robert Reich knew better

Look, in the name of having a semi-unified opposition to the GOP, I can understand former Labor Secretary Robert Reich not openly criticizing Obamacare.

But, to outrightly fellate it, as in this Facebook post? Wrong:
Remember when opponents of Obamacare claimed it would bankrupt America?
 New cost projections, published yesterday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, show the law costing 29% less over the next five years than the CBO first estimated. The reason: Healthcare costs are rising more slowly than previously assumed. Why the slowdown? (1) Larger co-payments and deductibles have caused consumers to rein in their own spending on healthcare, (2) Obamacare has caused providers to improve efficiencies in delivering healthcare, and (3) The law has also created incentives for more preventive care, thereby reducing the incidence of costly chronic diseases (heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes).
Bottom line: Obamacare is on the way to proving itself a huge success. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Republicans who are still out to kill it.

It's not a "huge success," first of all.

Larger co-payments also push working poor and lower middle class people away from even preventive care, thus undercutting Reich's point No. 3.

Related to that, on Point No. 1, Reich doesn't say whether doctors and hospitals have reined in their charges to any significant extent (answer is a probable No), whether insurers, to riff on Point No. 2, have gotten even more efficient on refusing to pay for such such charges — without doctors and hospitals then trying to dun patients (answer is a probable No), whether electronic patient records so beloved of many O-care advocates starting with Dear Leader have done much to rein in prices (answer is an almost definite No), and how much of these cost savings are from insurers booting yet more doctors out of their network, and making network changes on a more frequent basis (answer is a huge Yes, and one that Reich knows exists, unless he's stopped reading the news about Obamacare nine months ago.)

In short, Reich, who theoretically eschewed neoliberalism after Slick Willie's presidency ended, is either vocally or tacitly touting purely neoliberal drivers of health care savings.

On Point 2, Reich doesn't even tell us what these "efficiencies" are. And, doesn't this smack of Republicans always talking about "waste, fraud, and inefficiency" in Medicare and Medicaid? Survey says yes.

Point 3 is nugatory if your doctor is out of network or you can't afford the copays, per Point No. 1 being wrong.

Bottom line? 

Reich still seems to put rallying the party wagons above other things, and didn't run so far away from his neoliberal roots after 2001, after all.

Oh, well, at least he's showing his true colors. Which is "Democratic Partisan."

Because, per Media Matters, six years ago, Reich was severely lamenting the lack of a public option. And, he was talking about how this was making the CBO price Obamacare so pricey.

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