ObamaCare Clusterfuck: The 2014 and 2016 campaign season begins!
From selling "hope and change" to selling insurance. How transformative! Kaiser:
President Obama To Hit The Campaign Trail For Health Law
President Obama often tells audiences that he has waged his last campaign. But that’s not exactly true.
The White House is gearing up for a massive campaign this summer that will cover all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. And the president’s legacy may hinge on whether it succeeds or fails. ....
David Simas[2012 Obama campaign director of opinion research], deputy senior adviser to the president, works in a quintessential West Wing office — a windowless basement room — where he oversees one of the top projects on the Obama agenda: implementing universal health coverage.
In the first year, the administration hopes to sign up 7 million people across the country. Simas says that will require TV ads, door knocking and lots of word of mouth.
“It is an on-the-ground effort,” he says. “It is a social media effort. It is a paid media effort. It is an earned media effort. But [it's] all leading to the same thing, which is that man or woman sitting in their living room online, comparing different prices for different products and deciding what works best for them.”
Simas's statement is just so wrong on so many levels:
1. Since health care should be a right, it follows that health insurance should not be a product (except for luxuries like Tommy Friedman's 'stache job).
2. ObamaCare does not mandate employer coverage for spouses. For some, then, Simas's statement should be revised to: "[T]hat man or woman sitting in their living room online, comparing different prices for different products and deciding what works best for each of them."
3. Not all Americans will be able to get coverage online, either from lack of Internet access, a slow machine, or crappy exchange software ("Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience.")
4. "[C]omparing different prices for different products" assumes that the products are comparable. But although the prices are expressed in dollar terms, plans are commensurate only in terms of "actuarial value," and actuarial value is a crapshoot, as this Kaiser study proves.* ObamaCare doesn't enable comparing lemons to lemons.
Of course, a campaign year is not the time to be asking questions! So STFU until 2017....
NOTE * If Expedia ticket "prices," instead of being fixed -- readers, please feel free to improve this -- were priced like actuarial value is, you'd pay (say) $1000 for the ticket, but at the gate your price would be adjusted by the actual cost of fuel at the time, DHS's schedule for a full body scan, the likelihood you'd ask for a second bag of peanuts, the amount of oxygen you'd be likely to breath (at current rates), et cetera. Of course, different airlines have different pricing for fuel, body scans, peanuts, and oxygen, in addition to having different operating procedures and labor agreements, and so the actuarial value of a ticket could be wildly at variance with the real cost of a ticket. And you'd find out only at the gate! Nice work if you can get it!
More to the point, all the states trying to make the law fail will look very stupid and terribly craven if California pulls this off. Their predictable claims that Obamacare is all screwed up won’t be very persuasive if a giant, historically mismanaged state like California can make it work well.
If it fails in California, though, that’s a disaster.
Thus, my hunch is that both the administration and California officials are unusually invested in getting it right [for some definition of "right"] there, more so than in any other state in the union. The other side of that coin, of course, is that conservatives will be heavily invested in finding ways to undermine it. Perhaps that’s why they’ve recently tried recently, and appropriately, to make issue of California’s attempt to conceal its exchange’s contractor spending from the public.
So, California is the key battleground state. Notice, again, how that sets the baseline very low, as well as appealing to a key Democratic constituency: Hispanics.
* TPM is a Democratic blog, just as much as Big Orange. So it's not surprising that TPM would characterize California's successful concealment of its contracts as an "attempt." From Beutler's link:
A California law that created an agency to oversee national health care reforms granted it broad authority to conceal spending on the contractors that will perform most of its functions, potentially shielding the public from seeing how hundreds of millions of dollars are spent.
The degree of secrecy afforded Covered California appears unique among states attempting to establish their own health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's signature health law.
An Associated Press review of the 16 other states that have opted for state-run marketplaces shows the California agency was given powers that are the most restrictive in what information is required to be made public.
Beutler's distortion is, of course, not journalism, but advocacy. Since ObamaCare is now a political campaign, that is exactly what we would expect.