NYT Defines Obamacare Success: Fewer Options, but Better Coordinated

Contrived in secrecy; approved in a sordid backstairs intrigue that took place, like all true debauchery, in the deepest hours of a Saturday night; signed in a muted, regretful ceremony; unpopular with voters; hated by states; inflationary, monopolizing and cruel: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yet reigns, according to The New York Times’ Reed Abelson, Gardiner Harris and Robert Pear. 

The 2,000-word piece sings the triumph of the state, wheeling in disinterested bystanders such as Blue Shield of California COO Paul Markovich to applaud PPACA as "a statement that things need to change and that the status quo doesn’t work" which sent "a loud message to all the players."

A song to government triumph does not seek to prove the rightness of the crown’s cause. It is enough to praise the state’s triumph and marvel at its desolating grandeur. 

So Los Tiempos takes note of the ways PPACA, informally known as “Obamacare,” leads to industry consolidation, loss of choice among hospitals and insurers, higher prices, rationed care, and depressed hiring. In fact, I can find only one argument – other than the fact that it prevailed – in favor of Obamacare: 

[S]ome patients with insurance will probably find their choices more limited. But their care may be better coordinated.

That’s as close as America’s newspaper of record comes to arguing that Obamacare may lead to better outcomes for patients. So why is the Times so happy that the law’s effects are "already well cemented and popular"? 

And by the way, the article’s only further mention of popularity seems to argue the opposite: “The law is increasingly unpopular with the public, including Democrats, according to recent surveys.” As for the claim that Obamacare is “cemented,” the only things that should be cemented in this world are your house and your enemies.

Finally, I’m form-and-legalese averse almost to the point of paralysis, and yet I have never in my life wished that my options of doctors and dentists were “better coordinated.” I’ve wished they were cheaper, more plentiful and better able to cure what ails me and mine. But “coordinated”? Just wasn’t on the wish list. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    “Obamacare,” leads to industry consolidation, loss of choice among hospitals and insurers, higher prices, rationed car, and depressed hiring.

    Say it ain't so!

    [S]ome patients with insurance will probably find their choices more limited. But their care may or may not be better coordinated.

    Remember, there is no difference between "may" and "may or may not".

  • ||

    Good catch. That is horrible writing. The Times really has hit rock bottom. It used to be that it was at least well written mindless leftist trash. Now they don't even bother to edit it to ensure it is well written.

  • ||

    What's horrible writing by the Times? The "rationed car" thing wasn't in the Times, and neither was the "may or may not."

  • ||

    "May" was. I was merely clarifying their semantic fog.

  • ||

    I assumed John's complaint was that "may or may not" was redundant, and hence bad writing.

  • ||

    I assumed you were quoting from the Times RC. May or may not is horrible style. I was suprised that it made it through the editors. Apparently it didn't. My mistake.

  • ||

    May or may not is horrible style.

    Less misleading, though.

  • ||

    And I don't think typos or pedantic grammar issues are the usual benchmarks for "good" or "bad" writing. There's more to it than that.

    The Times' writing standards may (or may not!) have fallen, but this particular stuff wouldn't have been evidence of it, even if it had actually, you know, appeared there.

  • ||

    I think it is a good example of falling writing standards because it shows a lack of good editing. If they missed that, what else did they miss?

  • ||

    Well sure but explain the rules for a compound vs not compound words i.e. is lawnmower one or two words, is stair case one or two. What is the formula for compound words or not. There, at last, I've said it.

  • Forgettable Paul||

    A song to government triumph does not seek to prove the rightness of the crown’s cause. It is enough to praise the state’s triumph and marvel at its desolating grandeur.

    When I started reading this post, I didn't check the author and assumed it was Suderman. Then I got to this quote and I immediately knew I was reading Cavanaugh.

  • ||

    Tim,

    You just don't speak Times Newspeak. "Better coordinated" is Times Newspeak for more controlled. Now do you understand why the Times views that as an end all be all positive?

  • rts||

    higher prices, rationed car, and depressed hiring.

    When Obama takes over ALL the automakers...

  • JoJo Zeke||

    [S]ome patients with insurance will probably find their choices more limited.

    "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

    -- Hillary Clinton, 2004

  • Forgettable Paul||

    Finally, I’m form-and-legalese averse almost to the point of paralysis, and yet I have never in my life wished that my options of doctors and dentists were “better coordinated.” I’ve wished they were cheaper, more plentiful and better able to cure what ails me and mine. But “coordinated”? Just wasn’t on the wish list.

    This is the final goal of all statist policy wonks. "Better coordinated" can be more succinctly stated as "Controlled". Mission accomplished.

  • ||

    We offered the world order!

  • T||

    And the world refused it. Chaos comes again.

  • ||

    Nothing about this, Tim? I'm surprised.

    That Mr. Obama went to such lengths to keep Mr. Geithner, after not having done the same with others on his economic team who had left at midterm, underscored how much he had come to rely on Mr. Geithner.

    The question for outsiders as varied as Tea Party Republicans and liberal Democrats is why Mr. Obama would be so insistent that Mr. Geithner stay. As Treasury secretary, he was the highest-ranking member of a team that underestimated the depth of the downturn, and he has managed both to anger Wall Street firms and to be a target of criticism at Occupy Wall Street rallies.

    For Mr. Obama, however, Mr. Geithner has emerged as the indispensable economic adviser who has outlasted every other member of the original inner circle and whose successes easily outweigh his missteps.

    Where would we, as a nation, be without Timmay?

  • Forgettable Paul||

    Where would we, as a nation, be without Timmay?

    In a Great Depression, or so I'm told by Occupy sympathizers-- who, by the way, got kicked out of Zuccotti Park by the po-po.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Coming up.

  • Abdul||

    I've got to try this on my kids.

    You all have fewer choices for dinner, but the spinach lasagna delivery system will be highly coordinated.

    Your christmas option are not diverse, but the socks and underwear will be coordinated.

  • Forgettable Paul||

    Make them get in line to unwrap their gifts and get their dinner and the circle will be complete.

  • chris||

    OT, but great googly moogly:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....whitehouse

    But in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3. The midterm elections were held Nov. 2, and led to Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    “DOE continues to be cooperative and have indicated that they will fund the November draw on our loan (app. $40 million) but have not committed to December yet,” a Solyndra investor adviser wrote Oct. 30. “They did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd – oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date.

    I knew the fucker was Keaton5^2 cantigion cell in a culture of corruption the first time I saw him smile on stage at the 2004 convention. How did a majority of voters in '08 miss that?

  • ||

    He is a Chicago machine politician. Who would have possibly thought him corrupt? Don't you want hope and change Chris?

  • JoJo Zeke||

    This is what noted clownshoes apologist Jonathan Altar blusteringly referred to just a week or two ago -- without even the merest scintilla of intentional irony, mind -- as being behavior consistent with "an entirely scandal free" administration.

    Feel free to point and laugh.

  • JoJo Zeke||

  • ||

    Obamacare is to the NYT editorial board what a free porn subscription is to a 16-year-old boy--an unbounded opportunity to revel ecstatically in the primal joys of life.

    But in the teen's case, it's naked women and sex. In the NYT's case, it rule by technocrats and an increased citizen dependence on a benevolent federal government.

  • MNG, Tony, o2||

    [I]n the teen's case, it's naked women and sex. In the NYT's case, it rule by technocrats and an increased citizen dependence on a benevolent federal government.

    So... wait. Wait. That's NOT sex, then?

  • ||

    That photo reminds me of all the jokes/ horror stories about how Soviets would get in any line they came upon, in the vain hope there would be something worth getting at the other end.

  • Forgettable Paul||

    But it brought people together.

  • ||

    In Russia line forms you.

  • Almanian||

    In Soviet Russia, "horror story" IS the joke!

  • ||

    Sadly there are dumb fucks running around this country who will tell you those lines were a good thing. That at least Russians were not a slave to consumerism like we are.

    Yeah, they really are that stupid.

  • ||

    Hey, at least Stalin made the trains to the gulag run on time.

  • rts||

    ... and the Berlin Wall was to keep people out.

  • ||

    Your reply, Sir, practically made me spit out my tea I was laughing so hard!
    What a great retort.

  • Abdul||

    Little aside, but seeing Uggs boots on hot chicks always makes me think that they are about to wait in line for a day and a half for toilet paper.

  • ||

    Uggs are just a sorry replacement for leather riding boots. A woman with nice legs, a skirt, hose and leather riding boots always looks good.

  • Abdul||

    They're even better with just the boots.

  • Lord Humungus||

    ^^ this ^^

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    ...and a riding crop.

  • T||

    Any kind of good knee-high boot, really. Except Uggs, which look like fuzzy house slippers run amuck.

  • ||

    Uggs are a triumph of capitalism. For centuries women with disfigured ankles have been mocked and ridiculed. Uggs have solved all that. If ever woman wears Uggs every woman looks like they have elephantitis of the cankle, giving cover to the women who actually do.

  • ||

    They also are the great equalizer for women whose calves are too fat or feet too wide to wear leather riding boots.

  • Brett L||

    I grew up going to country bars in Houston, I promise you that boots come in every possible width. And, frankly, they improved even the girls who looked like a denim-covered couch from the back.

  • ||

    My wife has square feet. She buys boys sizes. Those are the only ones that are wide enough. But they only make boys sizes for cowboy boots not come fuck me riding boots.

  • Brett L||

    Ah. Got it. Riding boots. I would rather see a tight skirt and western boots, so I just inserted the cowboy boots where you had riding boots. To each his own.

  • Abdul||

    I don't know about triumphing over capitalism, but they have defeated the Male Gaze on more than one occasion. What good are elevator eyes when you can't go to the ground floor?

  • ||

    Triumph of capitalism. They saw a market for covering up a disgusting physical defect and moved in.

  • Invisible Finger||

    How much coordination between doctors is really necessary when their choices for courses of care are "wait another six months" and "wait another twelve months"?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    As medicine moves from a cottage industry to one dominated by large organizations...

    I stopped reading at this point because the bullshit:word ratio got too high. This dumbass is about 50 years too late to cry about Big Medicine.

  • ||

    I am sure in his mind he thinks medicine was all Markus Welby until that God damned Reagan got in there. It is difficult to imagine how sheltered and stupid you have to be to write for that paper.

  • Ted S.||

    You mean MarKKKus Welby. It's not as if you ever saw black doctors on these shows.

  • ||

    They were too busy tending bar on the Lido Deck.
    *points, smiles*

  • Anonymous Coward||

    And the comments...

    Headdesk. Apply directly to the forehead.

    But no one seems to mind the AMA throttling the supply of doctors via school accreditation and licensing, and their annual CPT licensing fees. Naturally the answer is not to break the medical cartel, but to pile an additional layer of bureaucratic shit over the top it (in addition to past shit layers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and HMOs).

  • ||

    You never saw Dr Kildare filling out forms, did you? He just HEALED TEH SICKS.

  • Almanian||

    How about Trapper John? He mostly healed the sick with snappy witticisms, IIRC.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I loathe Pernell Roberts. He just looked like a douche.

  • Almanian||

    But “coordinated”? Just wasn’t on the wish list.

    See, Timmeh, this is why it's good that your Betters in Warshington came up with this! Cause it WASN'T EVEN ON YOUR WISH LIST! You were so ignorant you DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU WANTED IT!

    But your Betters? They knew. THEY knew you wanted it.

    All praise our Betters! Amen!

  • Your Betters||

    We've taken care of everything
    The words you hear, the songs you sing
    The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
    It's one for all, all for one
    We work together, common sons
    Never need to wonder how or why

    We are the priests
    Of the temples of syrinx
    Our great computers
    Fill the hollowed halls
    We are the priests
    Of the temples of syrinx
    All the gifts of life
    Are held within our walls

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Obamacare simplified:

    Deli Diner #1: This sandwich tastes like shit.

    Deli Diner #2: Yes, but the portions are so big!

  • ||

    Deli Diner #3: Tongue with mayo? But I ordered pastrami with mustard. And an MRI. Six months ago.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Deli Owner/Operator: "RAAAAAAAAAACISSSSSSSSSSST -- !!!"

  • Diner Apologist||

    In truly civilized places, like (oh, say) Venezuela, absolute diner control over entree selection and portion size is an accepted, everyday fact of life! WHY, OH WHY DO YOU WANT US TO BE A THIRD-RATE DINING ESTABLISHMENT -- ?!?

  • ||

    And....well-coordinated.

  • ||

    "Our intentions are good, you ungrateful whiners. Just wait 'til you see the mental health benefits we have in store for anti-social nutjobs like you."

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Paul Markovich to applaud PPACA as "a statement that things need to change and that the status quo doesn’t work" which sent "a loud message to all the players."

    I don't think it's applause to say that a 2000 page document manages to tell people "the status quo is broken".

  • ||

    Any solution that is 2000 pages is the wrong solution. If ObamaCare is struck down, and Ron Paul manages to win the primary and then the general, and proposes a 2000 page "free market" solution, it will still be wrong.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    I detect more wreckers and saboteurs in here than the O permits. Kindly take your counter-revolutionary drivel elsewhere.

  • ||

    It's odd to read Cavanaugh's summary of article and then go back and read the Times article for myself. It's a classic example of confirmation bias, as Cavanaugh's ideology make him unable to absorb data that contradicts his biases.

    Cavanaugh writes that after reading the Times piece, "I can find only one argument – other than the fact that it prevailed – in favor of Obamacare."

    Here. Let me help you find some more:

    More people have access to health care: "the expansion of coverage to one million young adults."

    Cheaper premiums: "The new rules appear to have had some effect, with some insurers deciding to hold down premiums."

    Cost savings: "Dave Jones, the state’s insurance commissioner... credited closer review of insurance rates for saving residents about $87 million a year."

    Simplifying bureaucracy: "state programs will soon be transformed through a provision that tries to standardize some of the byzantine eligibility and other rules."

    I don't mind thoughtful arguments for or against any government policy. But I hate when Reason opts to take a simplistic, ideological approach rather than a genuinely well-reasoned one.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    A 2000 page law simplifies bureaucracy?

  • Brett L||

    Confirmation. Bias. Not like those open-minded people on the NYT editorial board.

  • ||

    Brett L, that's your defense? "They're doing it too!"

  • ||

    Yes.

  • KDN||

    More people have access to health care: "the expansion of coverage to one million young adults."

    Lack of insurance =/= lack of access. And why exactly is the expansion of insurance into a low-risk demographic a good thing for anyone but the insurance companies?

    Cost savings: "Dave Jones, the state’s insurance commissioner... credited closer review of insurance rates for saving residents about $87 million a year."

    WITH NO ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS! It's like nobody teaches microeconomics to the successful. Oh wait, they just don't want to learn.

  • ||

    "Lack of insurance =/= lack of access. And why exactly is the expansion of insurance into a low-risk demographic a good thing for anyone but the insurance companies?"

    You're arguing that insurance is wasted on young adults because they don't need doctors?

  • ||

    Copley - can we get a bit of perspective here on your cost savings quote? Dave Jones is the insurance commissioner in CA. CA has about 35 million residents, give or take. CA is now saving $87 million a year through review of rates. $87 million divided by 35 million residents = a cost savings of approximately $2.50 per resident per year. My insurance in 2008 in CA cost approximately $7,500. A $2.50 person per savings or a crisp new $10 bill for a family of 4 is hardly a savings worth mentioning, especially given that the insurance rates rose nearly 10 percent in 2009 in CA. Its nice to know that my insurance would have only gone up $747.50 that year, instead of a full 10 percent increase of $750.00 for a total of approximately $8250. That 87 million savings would have saved me a whopping .02857% on my premium. I am truly underwhelmed.

  • ||

    Blue Button,

    How many people in CA have health insurance? LA Times, 2009: "Among those over age 18, nearly 1 in 3 had no insurance for all or part of 2009."

    I wonder if things have gotten better... or worse since then?

  • ||

    More people have access to health care: "the expansion of coverage to one million young adults."

    Coverage =/= care. That expansion comes at a cost, too. Its one of the mandates driving costs higher.

    Cheaper premiums: "The new rules appear to have had some effect, with some insurers deciding to hold down premiums."

    "Appear"? "Some"? Correlation =/= causation. This is one of those unverifiable counterfactuals that no sentient person should accept as an argument.

    Cost savings: "Dave Jones, the state’s insurance commissioner... credited closer review of insurance rates for saving residents about $87 million a year."

    So, an insurance commissioner is saying that he is doing such an awesome job that he saved $87 million? Well, that settles that.

    Simplifying bureaucracy: "state programs will soon be transformed through a provision that tries to standardize some of the byzantine eligibility and other rules."

    "Soon". "Tries". C'mon, man, they're just phoning this in. And that's even if you believe that layering a federal bureaucracy on top of state bureaucracies is going to simplify anything.

  • ||

    R C Dean, I couldn't agree with you more.

    As you point out, the text of the NY Times article hedges throughout. The most it will say is that there "appears" to be "some" indication that the health law is having a positive effect in several small ways. Or maybe not.

    Somehow, Cavanaugh read all those hedges that you cite above and concluded that the "2,000-word piece sings the triumph of the state."

    My entire point is: There is no way to rationally read the article and come to Cavanaugh's conclusion. Thank you for making this even more obvious.

  • DEG||


    How much coordination between doctors is really necessary when their choices for courses of care are "wait another six months" and "wait another twelve months"?

    They need to coordinate morning or afternoon:

    Back during the days of the Soviet Union, it took 10 years to
    get a car after you paid for one.

    Once, a young guy went to the car dealership to order a car.
    He paid the money, and then asked when can he come and get the car.

    "It will be here, waiting for you, exactly 10 years from today".

    The man signed the papers, started walking away and then stopped,
    turned and asked the salesman: "Wait, will it be ready in the
    morning or in the afternoon?".

    "What difference does it make?", asked the salesman.

    "Well", answered the man, "the plumber is coming in the morning".

  • NL_||

    "Coordinated" provision of goods and services is to bureaucrats what a "well-seasoned" populace is to hungry invading aliens.

    The coordination argument only appeals to technocrats who always fear that life is too messy, what with all the personal choices we keep making.

  • Shoe Commie||

    NO SHOE FOR YOU!!!

    You wait one year.

  • ||

    Yes yes. It's true. It's true.

    ever since insurance has been required for my car, auto mechanics have been rationed!

  • Tom Johnson||

    US Constitution Commerce Clause
    14 November 2011
    Folks,
    I have read the US Constitution and carry a copy of the US Constitution with me every day and have a second copy on the dash of my vehicle. The US Constitution is a beautiful, simple document which is the supreme law of the land.
    The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 states, “The Congress shall have the Power...;” Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 states, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”...;.
    Concatenating the applicable parts and restating: The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8 says,
    “The Congress shall have the power To regulate Commerce among the several States”.
    The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8 has an enumerated list of only 18 clauses of powers reserved to the US Congress.
    The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9 has an enumerated list of powers forbidden to the US Congress.
    The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 10 has an enumerated list of powers forbidden to the States.
    It is not in the US Constitution anywhere that the US Government can force any citizen to buy a product the citizen does not want. Think about why this is so. If the US Government could force a citizen to buy a product, any product, the citizen would no longer have control of his economic decision making. There would be no limit on Congressional power. The vote of the citizen would become useless!
    Obamacare, based on the individual mandate, is illegal, according to the US Constitution.
    Respectfully,
    Tom Johnson
    opinionscribe.blogspot.com

  • ||

    its amazing how you use the constitution for your own purposes . where does it say that businesses are people? where does it establish capitalism as our economic system ? i have to wonder about a person who carries around his own copy. you need to get a life.

  • ||

    I am a Texas public high school teacher. As such, my insurance runs from September to September. Teachers like myself are already under the dubious auspicies of the Obama mandate. As such, my takehome pay is $180 LESS even with a pay step increase. Add to that that the premium is so high for the average employee that most are opting for the $5000 family deductible policy. I don't know about you, but with a husband who has been unemployed for over a year and property taxes looming, I don't have that kind of cash to throw around. Add to that that my copay doesn't help pay that down. So any and all medical test, appointments, medication or procedures are billed at the "agreed on" rate from Blue Cross Blue Shield. My doctor informed me that I "must" have several tests in the coming months. I told her no because I simply cannot afford it. If I were "undocumented" I could go to Parkland Hospital and get these same tests for free. So tell me again how this is going to improve the overall health of our nation when the middle class is dying off because they cannot afford the new care while the poor get everything they need. Sounds like class warfare to me.

  • ||

    if obamacare is repealed what will take its place ? how will people with preexisting conditions be able to get affordable health insurance ?

  • Hyphenated American||

    "how will people with preexisting conditions be able to get affordable health insurance ?"

    Exactly! It's like - how will people who wrecked their cars be able to get affordable car insurance that would cover its repair. I mean, this is a problem we need to solve right about now.

  • ||

    If Obamacare isn't repealed how long will employers be able to provide insurance at workplaces?

  • ||

    If Mr. Cavanaugh never thought to wish for better-coordinated care, he is one of the fortunate -- those who haven't been seriously enough afflicted to require several specialists and disciplines. Any cancer patient has to deal with radiologists, chemotherapists, surgeons, oncologists, and on and on. Poor coordination and fragmented care is a real problem, as legions can attest.

  • mineral process equipment||

    It is not in the US Constitution anywhere that the US Government can force any citizen to buy a product the citizen does not want. Think about why this is so. If the US Government could force a citizen to buy a product, any product, the citizen would no longer have control of his economic decision making. There would be no limit on Congressional power. The vote of the citizen would become useless!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement