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The Republican Repeal Obamacare Strategy Has Failed

Category: Health Care
Posted: 08/28/14 10:41

by Dave Mindeman

As I predicted months ago, the GOP's all or nothing attack on Obamacare is failing....

In their glee over the law's disastrous debut in October, the GOP also failed to accurately gauge how much Obamacare would animate voters more than a year later. The website got fixed. Millions of people signed up. And now some states are reporting that 2015 premiums -- one of Republicans' last hopes for an attack line before November -- are going down. The attack lines are disappearing.

The GOP forgot one very important thing - people still need healthcare coverage. And the main focus of the ACA, which was to get MORE people covered, has been a rousing success.

John Kline, Michele Bachmann, and Erik Paulsen have always been part of the "repeal" block in Congress. Well, you don't hear much of that talk lately - and it might be time to hold them accountable for wasting so much time on 50 repeal votes in Congress. Especially when they have DONE NOTHING ELSE.

The politics of Obamacare were never as good for Republicans as they said or necessarily as bad as some Democrats seemed to fear.

The horrible website problems encouraged Republicans to continue their relentless attacks, but now that the essence of the law has been meeting its true goals, the Republican strategy on Obamacare is a dismal failure.

If the GOP had worked on the fixes, they could have owned the issue. But Republicans are too focused on scorched earth strategy and never on actually doing what the American people want or need.

The description of the Republican Party is still the "party of obstruction". At some point, there will be a price to be paid.
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The Truth About MNSure's October Rate "Surprise"

Category: Health Care
Posted: 08/20/14 01:29

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota Republicans are gleefully awaiting October....because that is when they will be able to relentlessly attack Democrats on MNsure and Obamacare. You see that is when the new health insurance rates for the following year will come out (which Dayton could have held back but didn't). And the GOP is not hesitating to come out with their predictions. They are fully anticipating huge double digit increases in those premiums.

The Democrats are doomed.

But the same scenario was laid out for Connecticut....

The headlines were all too predictable when Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield announced in June that it would request an average 12.5 percent premium increase for its Connecticut market. "Now EVEN MORE States Report Double-Digit Premium Hikes," the conservative Daily Caller trumpeted.

Funny thing, but there always seems to be a "but" on the conservative "good" news on Obamacare issues....

But that wasn't the whole story. It never is with Obamacare premium news, though that hasn't stopped news outlets from blaring headlines like that one from the Daily Caller whenever an insurance company announces its proposed rates for next year. Skyrocketing premiums are one of the last anti-Obamacare talking points that conservatives have to hold onto.

The problem for conservative talking points stems from an Obamacare regulation that gives state insurance regulators the final say....and with some teeth. Obamacare gives state and federal regulators the ability to demand a justification from any insurer for any proposed rate increase greater than 10 percent.

So what really happened in Connecticut?

But then on Monday, the conclusion of the Connecticut story came. State insurance regulators had rejected Anthem's proposed 12.5 percent premium hike. So after some revisions, the company would instead lower its premiums ever so slightly on average -- 0.1 percent -- in 2015, the Connecticut Mirror reported.

No increase at all. The insurance company couldn't justify the proposed rate increase with evidence. Just like the Franken amendment that forces insurance companies to return money that is over spent on administration, the watchdog part of Obamacare keeps insurance rates reasonable.

Now this won't stop the MN GOP from using a megaphone to publicize any rate increase proposal by insurance carriers that exceeds double digit increases. They will surely do that. But, remember, it is a "proposal"...and if it becomes that much of an increase, regulators will get to have the final word.

And that final word is what protects consumers in the end.
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The ACA: Another Story Behind The Numbers

Category: Health Care
Posted: 07/24/14 18:26

by Dave Mindeman

We hear so many talking points from Obamacare opponents that we almost take it for granted that the ACA is extremely unpopular. The polling seems so overwhelming that nobody bothers to even look at the real numbers.

Well, right now we are going to do that.

A recent (July 18-20) CNN poll gave us the usual headline. Obamacare is favored by only 40% of Americans.

Here are the total numbers:

Favor 40%
Oppose 59%
No Opinion 1%

Even the fact that only 1% have no opinion means that our attitudes have been firmly entrenched.

But CNN asked a follow up question.

(IF OPPOSE) Do you oppose that legislation because you think its approach toward health care is too liberal, or because you think it is not liberal enough?

They only asked that question of the people who stated they opposed Obamacare. And they found the percentages ended up like this:

Favor....................................40% (the original number favored)
Oppose (Too Liberal)..............38%
Oppose (Not Liberal Enough)....17%
No Opinion...............................5%

No only did they find out that 17% didn't think Obamacare went far enough, they confused another 4% enough that they went to undecided.

I would speculate that the 17% are single payer advocates. And there are probably also a number of single payer advocates (like me) that will poll in favor of Obamacare because we assume that we can't get what we really want - single payer...or at least some kind of government option.

If you extrapolate that into the poll, you could surmise that some kind of government health care system is favored - 57% to 38%.

But that requires some nuanced thinking and probably a more detailed poll to be completely accurate. And we are not getting that kind of in depth coverage on this issue.

What is interesting is that CNN has been polling with this method for the last 4 years....and that 17% number is the highest it has ever been. In fact, it is up 5% since the last poll in March. Why don't we hear about that? Because the narrative has already been established.

I believe that Obamacare would not be having the credibility problems it is having presently if the technology of the websites (Federal and State) had not failed us. If only the preparation and testing had been more thorough, the controversies could have been avoided.

The bottom line is that Obamacare did succeed in its main goal. More people have health care than ever before. Massachusetts has nearly 100% coverage....and even Minnesota, with its website debacle is moving in that direction.

In Minnesota, we have an opportunity to put all of these problems behind us by passing the Minnesota Health Plan. It is languishing in our legislature, ready to be debated and passed. With it, we can stop the website issues. We can cover every one of our residents. We can cut costs and end all the duplication. And we can do what it would seem that 57% of Americans want - health care for all.
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