Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Obama Stigma and Dogma

Any stigma will do to beat a dogma.

Phillip Guedalla (1889-1944), British barrister and popular writer

GOP attack ads on ObamaCare,  38,000 of them,  are taking their toll.  In poor states,  in Appalachia and elsewhere, generally in the South,  people are not signing up for private plans on the health exchanges. (Jackie Calmes,  “In Poorer States, Political Stigma Is Depressing Participation in Health Law, “ New York Times, April 26, 2014).

The Obama administration and Democratic candidates for Congress are being stigmatized by the Republican attack ad campaign.   Of  38,000 GOP ads so  far,  76% have been negative about ObamaCare.   The ads say costs are up, is a disaster,  premiums are deductibles are out of sight,  people are losing their health plans,  businesses aren’t hiring,  new workers are mostly part-time,  doctors are hard to find, economic growth is stagnant – all because of ObamaCare.

In poorer states,  especially in a state like West Virginia,  the GOP  bad news stigma appears to be beating the Democratic good news dogma.  That dogma says the law is bringing down overall costs, the number of uninsured is dropping,  minorities and the poor are finally getting coverage,  ads paid for by those evil Koch brothers in undermining the good things inherent in  ObamaCare, and all those those  negative stories about plans being cancelled are either concocted anecdotes or outright lies.

According to the Times writer,  the failure of good news to beat bad news is due to a combination of factors – unremitting hatred for President Obama, unfamiliarity with insurance, computer illiteracy,  lack of cultural sophistication,  misunderstanding  about costs and subsidies,   and, by implication,  sheer ignorance of what ObamaCare brings to the health care table.

How are Democrats reacting to this bad news-good new, this stigma-dogma imbroglio? 

By not talking about it.  
 In 50 Democrat candidates websites, only  11 mention the law by name, and half don’t mention it at all.  Among Democrat senate candidates, 14 of 20 avoid the subject altogether.

Not bringing up the subject makes sense when you consider that in 458 national polls since 2009, 95.5%  say they don’t like the law,  65.3% by double digit margins,  and when you take these factors into account:

·         A health law that requires 2700 pages to explain may be inexplicable.

·         A health law that requires 10,535 pages and 1.15 million  words  to enforce  its new regulations may be unenforceable.

·         A health law that requires $2.5 trillion over 10 years to implement (OMB estimate) may be unaffordable.

Tweet:   ObamaCare stigma,  as portrayed by the GOP,  may, in the public's  mind,  outweigh  benefits described by Obama dogma.

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