Sunday, November 3, 2013
Offense and Defense
The best defense is a good offense
Adage based on belief strong offensive action will preoccupy the opposition and hinder its ability to mount an opposing counterattack, leading to a strategic advantage.
A battle is being waged for the mind of the American public over ObamaCare.
The battle is at a fevered pitch at the moment because of failure of healthcare.gov and millions of health plan cancellations, which may reach 10 million by January 1. By that date, the Obama administration originally projected 3.6 million would sign onto the exchanges, but if present trends continue enrollments will fall far short of that mark.
Conservatives believe they have an offensive advantage. They are seizing upon healthcare.gov’s stumbles as an example of incompetence and the low enrollment figures as a travesty of President Obama’s repeated pledge that no one would lose their health plan or physician because of the health law. Conservatives foresee an unraveling of Obamacare due to a death spiral triggered by millions losing their health plans and skyrocketing premiums and high deductibles of replacement plans.
But although this conservative offensive thrust has put many Democrats on the defensive in red states in which they are running for election or re-election, Obamacare defenders have gone on offense. In Boston last week, the President said Romneycare, which he claims, served at a model for Obamacare, has been a huge success, favored by 84% of Bay State residents. Besides, Obama asserted, you can never trust those “bad apple” insurers, whose only goal is to rip off the vulnerable public with inadequate plans covering little or nothing, like hospitalization.
The New York Times, a staunch Obama ally, has weighed in with an editorial “Policies Not Worth Keeping.” The Times says “Plans with inadequate coverage will be cancelled, but consumers won’t be left out in the cold.” Insurers now must offer consumers options that comply with the law – policies that are more comprehensive, covering all health care eventualities to protect them against financial or medical disaster. It notes premiums “may well rise, “ but that’s a good thing, because insurance companies must accept all applicants, the sick, the mentally impaired, and others at high health risk, not just the healthy.
Yes, premiums will go up for the younger and healthier, but the rest of us may pay less because we will qualify for federal subsidies. And besides, everybody will have more benefits. High premiums and comprehensive benefits are “one price of moving toward universal coverage with comprehensive benefits.” People under 30, The Times adds, can always buy catastrophic plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles. After subsidies, two-thirds of uninsured young adults in 34 exchanges around the country could get comprehensive coverage for less than $100 a month. Paying less than $1200 a yar, says The Times, is better than paying a penalty of $95 for not enrolling.
In “This is Why We Need Obamacare,” an article on the Op-Ed page of The Times, Nicholas Kristof tells the story of a 47 year truck driver who discovered too late he had advanced colon cancer, presumably because he didn’t have money to pay for a first-rate health plan. “For him," claims Kristof, “the tragedy isn’t that the Obamacare rollout has been full of glitches, but that it may have come too late to save his life.”
I have my doubts that ObamaCare would have saved his life, but that is a subject for a future blog post.
Tweet: Because of healthcare.gov miscues and health plan cancellations, both conservatives and liberals have gone on the offense to present their case for/against ObamaCare.