Tuesday, 19 November 2013 14:53

ObamaCare Revisited



Let us consider some of the claims made about the single most important piece of domestic legislation passed since President Obama took office in January 2009: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the ACA but more commonly called ObamaCare). Although the so-called 'fiscal stimulus' package passed in January 2009 was a significant legislative achievement - with $787 billion of federal dollars aimed at stimulating an economy hit hard by the financial crisis of 2007/08 - it simply did not, and has not, generated the staggeringly fierce political debate that continues to dog the ACA. 

In an era of partisan polarization (which can best be appreciated by looking at so-called roll-call votes in each chamber of Congress and examining how often members of each party vote with their own party, or vote with the other party - and see www.voteview.com), it is no surprise that the two parties are hostile in argument and fierce in rhetoric. But it is very hard to understand just what the ACA is, and what is does, if one listens to opponents and proponents of the healthcare law.

While it was be a major task to explain what the ACA is, it is easier to suggest what it is not:

i) it is not the NHS; nor is it 'socialized' medicine (in itself an imprecise term, but let us assume that it means something like our NHS which is taxpayer funded, free at point of demand, and where medical staff are employees of the state)

ii) it does not actually provide direct healthcare at all. The ACA attempts to provide a means by which the uninsured, or under-insured, can purchase health insurance. The ACA is, in large part, an attempt to fix a market failure - in the provision of healthcare - which is a little less 'Socialist' that Fox News would have us believe

iii) It has worked well so far - er, not really. The website has been a huge Ed Balls-Up. President Obama also said 'if you want to keep your existing insurance plan you can' - except you cannot! And that is the fix that he finds himself in as we write - how to row back from a clearly stated, but wrong, statement...Oh who would want to be President?

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