Why Democrats Are Defecting From Obamacare…And Why Republicans Might Learn To Love It (Reason Podcast)

As President Trump comes to town, the GOP is hedging on promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. What the hell is going on?


For the entire Obama administration, Democrats fought for The Affordable Care Act while Republicans tried to kill it. Now that Donald Trump and the Republicans are back in charge, though, both sides are singing different tunes.

Democrats such as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton are complaining about rising costs while Republicans are already hemming and hawing over promises to "repeal and replace" on Day One of the Trump era.

Nick Gillespie talks with Peter Suderman, features editor for Reason and one of the country's sharpest analysts of Obamacare. His feature story in the new Reason, "Democrats Defect from Obamacare: Meanwhile, the GOP learns to stop worrying and love Obama's signature legislative victory," is a deep dive into all the problems with the biggest piece of domestic legislation in years. Is the nation's mandatory health insurance program entering a "death spiral" and will it be Republicans, of all people, who end up embracing legislation they attacked for the past eight years? Beyond rising premiums and costs in state insurance exchanges, how is Obamacare affecting the majority of Americans who still have insurance via their jobs? And is there really any clear connection between having health insurance and having better health?

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  1. Obamacare has failed on stated promises — your premiums will go down, was a lie. And if you like your doctor, you can keep it, was also a lie.

    Why on earth you should keep it is beyond me. You have to be a special kind of stupid (see: progressive), so believe that a failing program that has failed on its stated purpose should keep being renewed.

    1. If it wasn’t for Obamacare then millions of children would be denied health care. They would be denied. As in their bodies would be stacked like cord wood behind hospitals while the corporations made obscene profits. That is what corporations do when government doesn’t force them to do the right thing. Everyone knows this. Why do you lick the corporate boot that holds you down?

      1. “As in their bodies would be stacked like cord wood behind hospitals while the corporations made obscene profits.”

        And you can sell those bodies at a handsome profit!

      2. I remember debating Obamacare with some folks. Those folks tried shutting things down by saying, “I know people whose lives will literally be saved by this law!”.

        1. Well, go back and ask. If those people are still alive, then clearly they were right.

          1. And then for an encore, buy a tiger-repelling rock off of them?


          2. I actually heard this argument used once in all seriousness. In a group setting discussing economic policy, one guy said that the infamous stimulus program worked. When I asked him how he knew this he responded “Well, we’re all still here.”

      3. Because they taste better than government boots?

      4. Wait, stacking children like cord wood is wrong? What else am I supposed to do with them once the monocle mines have used their little bodies up? If they still have a little spunk if you pit fight them starved dogs, but those never last too long.

        Is it not a right of libertarians everywhere to enslave orphans for fun and profit?


      1. I’m pretty sure God wants everyone to die.

      2. Ask them how many of the new Medicaid victims enrollees are taking advantage of their increased access to healthcare.

  2. For the entire Obama administration, Democrats fought for The Affordable Care Act while Republicans tried to kill it. Now that Donald Trump and the Republicans are back in charge, though, both sides are singing different tunes.

    Democrats such as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton are complaining about rising costs while Republicans are already hemming and hawing over promises to “repeal and replace” on Day One of the Trump era.

    Huh, all I’ve heard the last two days on NPR is ZOMG!!! REPUBLICANS PREPARE TO KILL THE PRESIDENT’S SIGNATURE LAW!!!!11!!

    1. What Dems are running away from it? One dude in Minnesota?

      I have yet to see a single Dem that voted for it recant. Not. A. Single. One.

  3. What is the evidence that the Republicans suddenly like it? Show me a single Republican who doesn’t favor repeal. I don’t see any. The disagreement is how to replace it. I can only wonder at the alternative universe Gillespie and Suderman seem to inhabit.

    1. Replace it? When you remove a cancerous tumor, what do you replace it with? Seriously.

      1. I agree. I didn’t mean to imply the Republicans were smart. I just think the idea that they have embraced Obamacare is completely at odds with reality.

        1. Of course they haven’t embraced Obamacare – there’s no such thing as Obamacare. It’s the Affordable Care Act. In principle, it’s some form of free fixins from the government, universal healthcare, whatever you want to call it. Stop being a mendacious cunt pretending Perhaps you are mistaken as to your belief that the GOP isn’t every damn bit as eager to shovel out the free shit as the Dems, that the thrust of this article isn’t how the GOP hasn’t embraced the idea of providing a New and Improved! Obamacare under some new name that they can claim it ain’t Obamacare. It’s Free Shit any way you slice it.

          1. They know they will harangued by every media outlet than can find some sad sack that claims their family was killed by lack of Obamacare. Member when Romney fired that guy and 7 years later his wife got cancer, so Romney basically killed his wife. I member.

            1. I also remember when Paul Ryan said “Medicare costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. We should do something to contain costs” and then pushed a grandma in a wheelchair off a cliff.

          2. And exactly what free shit are they shoveling? And I want links not citations to the voices in your head.

        2. The Suderman Shuffle: “The Republicans don’t really want to get rid of Obamacare. That’s just guff they feed to the rubes….OMG!!! They’re talking about getting rid of Obamacare?!?! THE HORROR!!!! Why….why…why…THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PLAN!!!!ELEVENTY!!”

    2. Vaguely asserting shit without naming names or giving quotes is journalism?

      And, if the Rs were so hot on defending Obamacare, then why is Obama telling the Ds to “stay strong” on keeping it?

      I’m calling bullshit unless some specifics are given.

      1. I hate that. It is nothing but click bait. The truth is neither of them have anything interesting or new to say but they pretend they do by making a completely baseless but contrarian claim in the headline.

        1. Reason becoming MSM?


          Say it isn’t so.

      2. And, if the Rs were so hot on defending Obamacare, then why is Obama telling the Ds to “stay strong” on keeping it?

        Because he’s so concerned for healing rifts, doing what’s right through moderation, compromise and I can’t go on.

  4. I miss the days when insurance actually paid for stuff.

    In principle I like the idea of HSAs with catastrophic insurance, but in practice I’m paying more for that HSA and high deductible insurance than I did for a PPO that actually paid for stuff. By the time I’m done with my deductible and premiums I’m paying literally twice what I paid before the “Affordable” health care act.

    What the fuck?

    1. Insurance is for unexpected events in life.

      Auto insurance for a collision.

      Homeowners insurance for fire or other damage to property.

      Paying out of pocket for annual physicals should not be what insurance is for. Let catastrophic health insurance cover major medical stuff and cheaper than ObamaCare could ever hope to achieve.

      1. Bullshit Insurance is for whatever you want it to be for. All it takes is an event that is predictable enough to be priced. You can insure against anything.

        1. Insurance against (?) routine doctors’ visits? O…k.

          1. Yes. Your insurance may want to pay for them because paying for them might be cheaper than having you never go to the doctor until you are really sick. Its the same reason car companies that have warranties, which are nothing but insurance policies against breakdowns, will sometimes pay for oil changes. it is cheaper to pay for the oil change and maintenance and ensure it is done than not and end up paying warranty claims later as a result of poorly maintained cars.

            When you buy health insurance you are insuring against a set of costs. All that is required is that some of the cost be unpredictable. There is nothing to say that you can’t insure against known costs and unknown costs both. And indeed, as I explain above your insurance company may insist on it.

            I am constantly amazed at how pig fucking ignorant the people on here are about insurance and risk and how the market actually works. What the fuck is wrong with you people? How the fuck can you think insurance only means “catastrophic”? How can someone be that fucking stupid?

            1. I would gently suggest that they are saying that when insurance is used for everything, the transaction costs rise to levels higher than would be obtained if the insured was out acting as a real consumer and shopping the services themselves. See lazic and implants, breast – you cut out the insurance and you get an increase in quality and decrease in price.

              Sure, you can insure against/for everything, but it will cost you. A lot.

              As for the insurance covering a physical, I would be much more in favor of that decision being something worked out between the individual and their insurer rather than mandated by some government agency, or have government intervene in the rendering of care to the point where the only way you can afford a doctor’s visit for a nasty cold is to use insurance.

              Please go smoke a cigarette or have a beer and chill out.

            2. Wrong. What you are proposing is NOT insurance. It’s prepayment.

              And, if you believe that the offerings as far as warranties and free services from the auto dealers are for their own good, you shouldn’t own an automobile. They are extra profit margin with a bit of “keep ’em coming back” on the side.

              Before you call others ignorant, I suggest you pick up the mirror.

              And, TLAH should not be so gentle as to suggest. Health insurance as we know it has distorted the market of health care from long before any of us was born because it’s another case of having someone else pay. Thus, no real incentive to control one’s costs.

              This is also how college tuition became what it is. Excessive subsidization allowed colleges to avoid internal cost controls and demand higher tuition.

              Basic free market economics being distorted by governmental interference rather than willing seller, willing buyer transactions alone.

            3. Bookmarked. John is dumb.

        2. Technically speaking, it’s not insurance if there’s 100% chance you’re going to need to use it. It’s just a payment plan, maybe with an investment portfolio attached.

      2. Talk about missing the point.

        1. I didn’t miss the point at all. I just made another point, which is that people don’t understand insurance.

    2. We now have a system wherein a cloak of insurance covers a more expensive cash-only system.

      Only Obama could create a signature law whereby a witch doctor is a more rational health care choice than the government system.

      1. Let me introduce you to a man named Bernie Sanders and a woman who tried to go for single-payer in the 90’s named Hillary Clinton.

  5. When you run 3 or 4 Democrats for president, one of them is sure to win.

  6. Why is your HTTPS broken? Russian hackers? Fix your password, “password” is compromised. That is all.

    1. “Fix your password, “password” is compromised.”

      John Podesta: ” Ok, sure.” New password: password2

  7. Suderman: Democrats Defect from ObamaCare, Meanwhile the GOP Learns to stop Worrying and Love Obama’s Signature Legislative Victory.


    1. The joke has always been that eventually Democrats would rewrite history and make this steaming pile of crap a Republican bill. Basically, Nick and Suderman are doing that.

      1. I saw a story on CNN.com today stating the Republicans own Obamacare. Strangely enough, it didn’t strike me as that much of a stretch. After Jan. 20th, which party controls Congress and the Presidency?

        1. That is fair. If the Republicans have control of Congress and the Presidency and refuse to repeal it, then they do own it just as much as the jackasses who wrote it and passed it.

        2. If by “own” they mean “Rs against it en masse, with not a single defection” then sure.

      2. “Well, you see, it was a great law until the GOP took control of the White House in 2016. That’s why your premiums are doubled. Damn Republicans. Also, fucking Russian hackers.”

      3. It’s all Bush’s fault. 😉

  8. “Is there really any clear connection between having health insurance and having better health?”

    Yes. It’s called science.

    1. You forgot the scare quotes around “science”.

      1. I think you might want single quotes there bro.

      1. +1 Thomas Dolby

    2. The State of Oregon called. Not so fast.

    3. This is from the conclusion to the New England Journal of Medicine paper:

      This randomized controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical outcomes in the first two years, but it did increase use of health care services, raised rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduced financial strain.

      Jim Manzi on the Oregon Medicaid Study, Experimental Evidence, and Causality

    4. IFLS

  9. Who are the Republicans defending it? Looks to me like the GOP passed a reconciliation bill against it today with only one defection (Rand Paul).

    Seems to me Republicans are pretty damn united against Obamacare.

    1. Don’t bother Suderman and Nick with reality or facts. They have conventional wisdom to smell.

      1. They have conventional wisdom to smell.

        Ah man, I missed your glorious and yet oddly apropos typos. Did you get a new phone or something?

  10. Is the nation’s mandatory health insurance program entering a “death spiral” and will it be Republicans, of all people, who end up embracing legislation they attacked for the past eight years?

    Is that long awaited for DEATH SPIRAL!! finally upon us?

    Just let it die then!

    1. I just pulled this quote from Breitbart.

      Obamacare rates are going way up. The latest estimate from the federal government is that the average midlevel Obamacare plan, the most popular choice, will cost about 22 percent more in 2017 than it did in 2016. This is based on data from 39 states where people sign up through the HealthCare.gov website and some preliminary data from four other states and the District of Columbia.
      There is big variation nationwide. Customers in Phoenix are looking at a premium increase of 145 percent, while customers in Providence, R.I., are looking at a 14 percent decrease, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

      Many insurers also mispriced their plans in the early years of the law and have either left the market or have had to raise their prices sharply to cover the cost of providing coverage. The insurers say they need higher rates to pay for the expensive medical care that so many people are receiving under the law.

      1. Price Waterhouse says medical costs have risen less since the ACA was put into place (See chart):


        1. Perhaps they can cut me a check for the $17,500 Obama promised me in savings. I won’t even bitch about the increases on top of that that would put the number much higher.

        2. That explains all those seats Team Blue has gained in Congress over the last 8 years, as well as the landslide election of President Clinton, and the 10 Seat Majority in the Senate that Team Blue has. Boy was Team Red foolish to oppose the ACA.

        3. Yeah, turd, predictions are just fine:

          “Obamacare: 2016 sticker shock”
          “Health insurers are proposing to raise Obamacare rates more than in the past ? some by more than 70 percent ? now that they are finally equipped with all the information they need to price those plans.”

          Pretty sure that’s more than 8%, isn’t it?

        4. Once again, you didn’t read your own link:

          Medical Cost Trend
          Behind the Numbers 2017 – PwC projects 2017 medical costs will continue to rise at the same rate as 2016. Signs point to larger increases in the future.

          There are signs that the decade’s slowing medical cost growth rate could tick back up as new healthcare access points increase utilization.

          In the early 2000s, price and utilization contributed to growth in healthcare costs. Since then, use of services has declined and higher prices are driving the growth. However, a close focus on both prices and healthcare delivery and access changes are needed to contain medical costs.

          1. Hey,even though it’s meant massive dislocations and aggravation in locating new care, and it’s given us all sort of new bureaucracies, the costs aren’t yet tremendously higher than they would have been absent all that.
            So turd and the SEIU declare it a rousing success!
            Imagine what it takes for turd to see a failure…

        5. And yet their own graphs show utilization as stagnant or declining. So there’s more dollars chasing fewer goods. Where’s that money going?

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  12. The liberals have won the argument. They created more government dependents and now “conservatives” are in agreement that the government should be in the business of providing healthcare.

    Someone tell me the difference between the 2 parties?

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