Obamacare

The Sisyphean Struggle to Sell ObamaCare

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Poor Democrats. They've been insisting for over a year that if they just explain the health care overhaul's "benefits" a little better, the public will eventually catch on and the law will become popular. Every few months they launch a new project intended to sell the law's virtues; here we are, for example, at the law's one year anniversary, and according to The Hill, the law's backers are prepping yet another please-like-me PR mission. Almost inevitably, this campaign, like all those before it, will be followed by someone somewhere noticing that the needle on public opinion has yet to turn in favor of the law.

Why such trouble? Well, as I've argued before, Democrats are actually correct that the law has some popular benefits. But they forget that there are also parts—mostly on the costs side—that are unpopular. Perhaps overall, the public doesn't care for the trade-off.

It may also be the continual run of bad news suggesting that, at minimum, the law is having some trouble: A number of insurers have quit selling child-only health insurance polices; patients are no longer able to use their flexible spending account dollars; and, by passing out more than a thousand waivers to unions, businesses, and now states, the administration has implicitly admitted that parts of the law work about as well as a fake Chinese iPhone. Indeed, I suspect that's the problem for much of the public: Like those cheaply made knockoffs, the whole thing looks somewhat convincing right up to the point where you actually start using it.

The same goes for the factless hosannas that have been sung in defense of the law. They're just not convincing when examined. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either.  The "Fact Checker" column in today's Washington Post, for example, takes a look at a batch of recent assertions made by members of the party responsible for passing the law and finds that, after a year, "House Democrats appear to show little hesitation about repeating claims that previously have found to be false or exaggerated." Their various claims that the law has created millions of jobs, helped boost insurance coverage amongst small employers, and will reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars just aren't believable.

On the other hand, this isn't much of a surprise. Last August, a leaked memo from a coalition of prominent health reform backers in the midst of earlier efforts to sell the law noted that "straightforward 'policy' defenses fail to be moving voters' opinions about the law" and advised pro-ObamaCare activists to avoid saying that "the law will reduce costs and deficit." Meanwhile, earlier this month, Health and Human Services Secretary, after repeatedly denying it previously, finally admitted that the administration's promisess about the health care law employed double counting. Poor Democrats. Poor liberal activists. They can't even convince themselves.  

NEXT: Dissent on Libya

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  1. Roll away the stone
    Roll away the stone
    If you would just move yours
    I could get working on my own

  2. Peter, props on getting through a whole article on ObamaCare without using the dreadful acronym “PPACA”.

    Go ahead, use “ObamaCare”. You’ll be OK, you’ll see.

    1. Personally, PPACA grates on my ears (and eyes) a lot more than ObamaCare.

  3. Are the two ‘d’s on ‘admittedd’ for a double dose of pimpin’?

    1. …Ah – with the double counting. Very clever, Pete.

  4. passing out thousands of waivers

    Hell, just give *everyone* a waiver.

    It’s supposed to be *universal* health care, after all.

  5. “My balls are that big”

  6. Health and Human Services Secretary, after repeatedly denying it previously, finally admittedd that the administration’s promisess about the health care law employed double counting.

    We will not stand idly by as Hit & Run posters mock our deceptive practices.

    1. No Viagra for you!

  7. The Left’s new strategy: If you repeat a lie loudly enough and often enough, it becomes the accepted truth.

    1. How about this?: Bail out of Libya *real quick* and use the savings to improve the cost-effectiveness of ObamaCare.

    2. Did you just Godwin this thread?

      1. Was Goebbels really the first person to put forth the big lie theory? Certainly the most prominent person in our time, but he can’t be the first guy who had that idea.

        1. I think he was the first guy to commit it to paper and give it a name.

      2. Hitler did it before Goebbels, but it was actually something he was accusing the Jews of doing, not something he was suggesting himself. Not at the time, anyway.

  8. It’s about health, and caring. Why can’t you support those buzzwords?

    1. WHAT?!

      I’ve got this godawful buzzing in my ears!

      1. Charlie Sheen?

        1. A warlock?!? Where?!?

          1. Is the warlock winning the future for us?

            1. You go to warlock with the cocaine you have, not the cocaine you want.

              1. I heard that there was a poll that showed that more people would vote for Charlie Sheen than for Palin. . .or for Obama.

                1. I’d vote for him, if only to legalize drug use and spice up foreign policy.

  9. I still want to know why this law was so important to them. It’s given them no end of trouble and lost them their majority. I swear that it was merely “TEAM BLUE is doing this, so we’re doing it”. Nothing else makes sense from the perspective of all of them.

    1. Well if the Supreme Court upholds the mandate as Constitutional, the wet dreams of every statist will become reality. No action will be outside the government’s ability to control.

      1. This. Read it and weep.

      2. This is why and it is a springboard to a single payer system.

      3. Just in time for the next wholly Republican administration to take advantage of. As you sow so shall you reap.

    2. Oh but see, it’s all a clever misdirection: they get PCACA passed, say “look we tried our best, but this private, free market system (lulz) just can’t be reformed! Time for (insert horrible alternative here).”

    3. I still want to know why this law was so important to them.

      We’re the real Party of Principle.

    4. Entitlement programs have kept them in power for decades. This is a new entitlement program and a pathway to the ultimate entitlement program, fully socialized medicine. Boomers aren’t going to live forever… they need to get almost everyone sucking on the sweet teat of government money.

      1. I don’t buy that. Some of these Dems had their constituents screaming bloody murder about this law.

        What it seems like to me is that the Dem leadership got it in their heads that they wanted this and could pull it off with their majority. Then they became obsessed with closing the deal, to the extent that they weren’t thinking straight and even threatened and bullied other TEAM BLUE members to make it happen.

        That’s why I’m not super worried about it at this point. Something that was passed to satisfy Nancy Pelosi’s ego just doesn’t seem capable of holding up over time.

        Sweet Jeebus, I hope I’m right.

        1. Some of these Dems had their constituents screaming bloody murder about this law.

          But this is the terminal stage of ultra-partisanship. Most of the people screaming can either be dismissed as GOPers who would never voted for them in the first place. The rest go down in the “What are they going to do, vote Republican?” column.

          Both parties keep themselves and each other in power. Any appeal to their base pisses off the other party, and so they have just made peace with the see-saw. Democrats know that no matter how badly they fuck up, the next GOP administration will find some spectacular new way to fuck up and give them back the presidency/Congress.

          It happens with such regularity, I find it hard to believe that it is not deliberate.

          1. My only disagreement with this is that for many rank-and-file politicians, this is what gets them handed their asses at election time. So they’re merely going along with the big guns because it’s TEAM BLUE? One would think their instinct for self preservation would override that.

            1. Yes, but which is worse for them? The transient anger of dismissable constituents or the withdrawal of support of the Dems in their reelection campaigns? I would imagine that the result of that calculation is what we are seeing.

            2. If they Obama didn’t get this passed, how else will anyone be able to tell that this just isn’t a 3rd term for Dubya?

              This and the DOMA lazy defense strategy is all TEAM BLUE can point to.

            3. TEAM RED/TEAM BLUE! DANCE, PUPPETS!

          2. The “who else can we vote for” business is, really, extortion.

            1. I see it as being more akin to Stockholm Syndrome.

              1. Patty Hearst.

        2. Since when has Congress and the White House given a shit about what people want? Most people were opposed to TARP, the auto bailouts, Obama care, etc. And most people are opposed to getting involved in Libya.

    5. It’s the brass ring of state control of society. It gives them an “in” into absolutely everything.

      1. Yup, I think that’s it. Remember when the anti-gun people tried to recast the gun debate as a health issue, and have your doctor advise you about the dangers of a gun in the home ?

    1. Right below was this:

      Silvio Berlusconi Gets Penis Stuck In Wine Bottle Stuck In Prostitute

      Made me chuckle.

  10. The excellence of Iommi defeats my distaste for Henry Rollins. Push the rock back up the hill

  11. Is the site requiring an email address to post now? Lame.

    1. Apparently not. It made me put in a fake address for my last post, though. Fucking squirrels.

  12. “House Democrats appear to show little hesitation about repeating claims that previously have found to be false or exaggerated.”

    If only the WAPO or NYT had the balls to front page – banner headline this assertion.

  13. “House Democrats appear to show little hesitation about repeating claims that previously have found to be false or exaggerated.”

    A nice way of saying that they lie through their teeth.

    Their various claims that the law has created millions of jobs, helped boost insurance coverage amongst small employers, and will reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars just aren’t believable.

    Hey, nobody believed Moses when he claimed he talked to a burning bush, yet… here we are!

  14. […]and, by passing out more than a thousand waivers to unions, businesses, and now states, the administration has implicitly admitted that parts of the law work about as well as a fake Chinese iPhone.

    We have to ignore such things. Just because the government has waivered the law in favor of their political unconditionals and lobbyists, we cannot construe such fact as meaning the law is not good for us… you know, us, the stupid, ignorant rubes who should listen to our betters.

  15. And so we see the bankrupt (both morally and fiscally) nature of the communist party, USA. I hope this will provide the incentive for you all to vote Republican next year. The GOP is the only party for those who love liberty. Thank you.

    1. Go peddle your hate elsewhwere. You hate peddler….HATER! HATER!

    2. Re: 1980 Redux,

      hope this will provide the incentive for you all to vote Republican next year. The GOP is the only party for those who love liberty.

      Sorry, I can’t vote.

    3. “The GOP is the only party for those who love liberty.”

      Unless they want the liberty to distill liquor, smoke pot, or marry their gay lover.

  16. Sorry about that….I just hate the 80″s!

    1. He is also the racist shit bag who was trying to argue last week that black people are inherently criminal and inferior and that’s why they are disproportionately affected by the drug war.

  17. Last August, a leaked memo from a coalition of prominent health reform backers in the midst of earlier efforts to sell the law noted that “straightforward ‘policy’ defenses fail to be moving voters’ opinions about the law” and advised pro-ObamaCare activists to avoid saying that “the law will reduce costs and deficit.”

    In other words, the experts asked pro-ObamaCare activists not to say lies about the new law, because that pisses people off.

    What a revelation.

  18. “Their various claims that the law has created millions of jobs, helped boost insurance coverage amongst small employers, and will reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars just aren’t believable.”

    It has to be viewed as compared to what would have happened if it had not been passed:
    Watson runs the US – logic prevails, and free, happy, and hash smoking populace welcomes their computer overlord….uh, but….bad things would happen.
    All doctors grow wings and fly away.
    Death rate increases 100X
    Every penis falls off…except Hilary’s.

  19. The Sisyphean Struggle

    You have to roll it uphill to find out you’ll be crushed by it.

  20. I have been opposed to Obamacare mostly because I have great insurance through my job, I can only imagine the same people who can’t fix the road on my way to work though they’ve been working on it for years messing with my insurance…Also, I’ve never bought how it is going to lower costs and expand coverage.

    But apart from its merits, I think what doomed it politically is this idea of “comprehensive reform.” That usually means a huge bill with many, many provisions. Some of the provisions are easy to explain, some not, and some would be popular, some not. And many provisions are only there to make the scheme “comprehensive” (they address other parts of the scheme). Therefore defenders have a hard time explaining the bill and provisions people would like without referencing provisions that seem irrelevant or worse while opponents can simply pick this or that part of the bill that sounds terrible sold apart from the scheme…

    Oh, and any major reform that tries to work within private insurance infrastructure is going to be the worst of all worlds. I honestly would prefer doing nothing or single payer to what they are proposing.

    1. Re: MNG,

      Oh, and any major reform that tries to work within private insurance infrastructure is going to be the worst of all worlds. I honestly would prefer doing nothing or single payer to what they are proposing.

      You may find it amazing (or, you may not) but I agree with this – at least, with the “don’t fix it if ain’t broke” thing. What many propose is nothing more than a patch-up work on a crumbling edifice; even ObamaCare and, let’s not kid ourselves, a single-payer system would simply be grafted into the current system, simply substituting the holder of the purse. It would be preferable to leave things as they are, lest the whole building collapses. The current problems with the healthcare industry stem from too many legislative and regulatory interventions which can preclude anybody from trying to “fix it” by patching up the current structure.

      There’s more than enough evidence, economical as well as empirical, to show that a single-payer, monopolistic system would fail due to calculation problems, inefficient allocation of resources, waste, overconsumption of A, overproduction of B, market dislocations – you name it.

      The best system there can be to allocate scarce resources (and healthcare services ARE subject to scarcity, as people that know how to heal are NOT omnipresent, their wares being rivalrous and exclusive) is the market system. The market system, however, cannot function properly without accurate prices and these, unfortunately, cannot come to be if there exist market restrictions, and right now, the mother of all market restrictions has not been addressed by eithre ObamaCare nor the Republican side: LICENSING LAWS.

  21. I can only imagine the same people who can’t fix the road on my way to work though they’ve been working on it for years messing with my insurance…

    Why don’t you scale this up to, well, everything? The government is bad at doing stuff, end of story.

    1. No kidding. At this point just insert $GOV_ACTIVITY for “fix the road” and you’ll be 80% of the way to libertarian. All you really need now is the certainty that stupid people shouldn’t be able to tell you what to do, and your transformation is complete.

  22. OM, I hear what you’re saying about licensing laws, but I think they are lesser of the market distortions in healthcare.

    The big market distortion is the disconnect between who consumes and who pays, and the anti-market entitlement mentality, irrational consumption, etc. that results.

    We could get rid of licensing laws altogether, but as long as the patient has little to no financial responsibility for their care, the market cannot and will not work. In fact, I think if you got rid of licensing laws tomorrow, the utter disaster of health care economics would be largely unaffected.

    1. Re: R C Dean,

      The big market distortion is the disconnect between who consumes and who pays, and the anti-market entitlement mentality, irrational consumption, etc. that results.

      That disconnect derives from licensing laws. As more and more the supply is restricted, more and more the demand for dispersed payment systems to cover the costs. Bring back competition (allow doctors to sell their wares anywhere, allow them to create storefront clinics, get rid of the God-awful amber pill bottles,) and the whole 3rd party payer system collapses. Not immediately, mind you, but quickly, as niches start to be filled by entrepreneurs.

  23. I just heard it on the radio that “Wise Medical Insurance” can offer health insurance for just $1 a day any one aware of this ? have anyone purchased insurance through them. I did search for them and found them online.

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