Sunday, July 20, 2014

Existential Threats to ObamaCare

Existential – Pertaining to existence or existentialism, as in a threat to the existence of something.

In my reading, I keep coming across the word “existential” when applied to politics. Most commonly, use of the word implies some problem or movement threatens the existence of something.

To wit, the Tea Party is existential to conservatives and the Republican Party, or the botched or a failed ObamaCare law, is existential to liberals and Democratic party.

I turned to the dictionary for the definition of existentialism and came up with this:” A belief or movement that man has an absolute freedom of choice but there are no rational criteria saying on what basis of choice and the universe is absurd producing anxiety and alienation”.

That definition pretty much sizes up the current prospects for ObamaCare.

So what are threats to the existence of ObamaCare?

In my mind, the existential threats are:

• Persistent public disapproval in the 58% to 37% range in the latest poll , with an average disapproval margin in 14.5% in multiple polls. How can this continue? It likely will continue because ObamaCare has been helpful in bringing down the number of uninsured Americans from 18% to 13.5%, but if the GOP wins the Senate, the existence of ObamaCare in its present form will be hobbled, maybe even threatened with extinction and repeal.

• Legal threats - One, The Boehner and the House threat to sue President Obama for those multiple executive actions resulting unilateral changes and delays in ObamaCare without seeking Congressional approval as required by the Constitution. Two, the wording in the ObamaCare law which states that only the states, not the federal government, can offer subsidies for health exchange plans. There are undoubtedly ways around these legal problems given that Democrats run the Justice Department. These may be issues the Supreme Court decides.

• Public and election revolts, locally, regionally, and nationally , against premiums and deductible spikes to unaffordable levels, cancellations of millions of existing plans due to onerous coverage requirements , narrowing of health plan networks resulting in losses of trusted doctors and hospitals, coercion of individuals and employers to buy health plans or cough up penalties, a continued unacceptably slow economic recovery attributed to ObamaCare, and, of course, threatened or actual fiscal insolvency of Medicare, Medicaid, and state and federal governments.

These various dreadful scenarios are unlikely to threaten the existence of ObamaCare or the major political parties, but sometimes fear of going out existence or becoming irrelevant hastens change. However, with the presence of multiple vested moneyed interests, policy adjustments signaled by polling, and the resiliency of the two major political parties, existential obsolescence is not in the cards.

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