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Obamacare’s Blossoming Turd

How fractured has the Republican Party become? Yesterday, Republicans announced that they are giving in to their anarchist fringe, and will shut down the government if Democrats don’t agree to defund Obamacare. Today, the Turd Blossom of George W Bush’s presidency, Karl Rove, has published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that calls this strategy “Self Defeating”.

Any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. The defunding strategy doesn’t. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.

According to polling done by Rove’s American Crossroads PAC, independent voters side with Obama in this fight 59% to 35%. Even in congressional districts that lean Republican, voters strongly say they will blame the Republicans if the government gets shut down.

But of course Rove slips in a large dose of Rovian sneaky politics. He says:

On the other hand, independents support by 51% to 42% delaying ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy coverage or pay a fine.

While delaying the individual mandate might sound appealing to independents, it is the only thing that makes universal coverage universal, which is the whole point of Obamacare. Even worse, if the individual mandate is delayed it will make the cost of health insurance skyrocket. Obamacare requires that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions, so without the individual mandate people would be able to not buy health insurance until they absolutely need it. Or even not buy insurance and just continue to get free treatment at expensive emergency rooms. It would be a disaster.

The reason we need health care reform is that we have too many people who do not have health insurance, so they do not get preventative care or treatment for health issues until they become emergencies. They also don’t go to the doctor when they are sick, so they spread illnesses to others. These freeloaders affect everyone, and cost you and me money.

When Republicans claim to be the party of personal responsibility, they are lying. Rove is cynically trying to sound reasonable, when he is actually proposing to sabotage Obamacare.



  1. johnny ro wrote:

    The flip flop shown in the public opinion taken from Karl’s polling results;
    1-yes we are for obamacare
    2- no we don’t like to have to buy insurance if work does not offer it
    …shows the malleability of the gum chewing public in political polling as in all other things.

    Its easy to get the answer you want by tinkering with the wording of the question.

    You can also assess the level of understanding of the responder by looking at consistency among answers to the questions that are the same, but worded differently. Its routine to ask everything several times, and scatter the variations around the list of questions to fool the respondant into not recognizing the same question being repeated over and over.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink
  2. Hassan wrote:

    I have few questions about ACA (aka Obamacare):

    1. The mandate on corporations/business is already delayed, so people who were depending on their corporation to provide insurance now have to buy themselves because they fall in individual mandate category, So how is this going to help/hurt people?

    2. The individual mandate apply to people who file taxes (working legally). Does individual mandate apply to illegal immigrants? They do not qualify for medicare/medicaid being non-citizen. So what is their to enforce compliance from them.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Politics has turned the ACA into a major boondoggle. It it so screwed up with the President granting exceptions to the big businesses that make big contributions and then turning around and sticking it to the individuals who might need an exception but won’t get it. I did like that they denied the unions request for a waiver, whic IMO is fair. I think their should be no waivers because they just beg to be used as political favors.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink
  4. TJ wrote:

    It’s a major boondoggle and yet it’s still 10 times better than the previous system, and it will only improve from there as time goes on and the system actually implemented.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, getting health insurance through your employer has always been a bad idea. I think it is much better to have your health insurance be independent of your work. Allowing people to pick what kind of insurance they want and how much they will pay for it, will mean more competition, which is a good thing. So I don’t mind at all that Obama pushed back the mandate on employers for a year (it is NOT an exception, just a delay).

    It will also prevent things like what happened at my last employer. They switched health insurance companies and a bunch of people suddenly couldn’t go to their previous doctors, but had to find new doctors.

    I’d rather pick my own health insurance, just like I pick my own auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc. Getting it through work is just a leftover quirk from WWII, and has always been a bad idea. Good article about it at

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  6. wildwood wrote:

    Being tied to insurance through a company is bad for several reasons. My husband stayed at the same company for years more than he wanted to because we needed to keep our insurance. And then once he retired, we were not covered when we traveled. And we could not move to any area where his ex-company did not have facilities because I was 7 years younger and had to keep insurance with them until I reached 65. I had preexisting conditions that would have precluded me from getting insurance independently. Also, the employees were promised insurance coverage after they retired and then the company changed their mind. There was a lawsuit and the employees lost.

    Employees should be paid more and allowed to buy insurance that they feel they need on a open market, but with the caveat that they do have to have insurance. We are required to have car insurance, so why not health insurance?

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, Obamacare in general, and the individual mandate in particular, does not apply to illegal immigrants.

    As for your first question, if individuals cannot afford their own health insurance, Obamacare can help! See

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  8. TJ wrote:

    I agree 100%. For the life of me I can’t understand the benefit of making people be employed in order to obtain health insurance, but up until Oct. 1 that essentially was the way it was.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  9. Hassan wrote:

    Iron Knee, I understand arguments against tying health insurance with job, and I agree, but right now it is going to end up as hybrid system, which will be worse.

    For illegal immigrants, if they are not mandated, that means they can still go to emergencies and not pay? I thought that was what Obamacare was going to take care of.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  10. EBDOUG wrote:

    Insurance in the work place raises the price of every single good or service that you buy from that company. We can’t compete overseas. Necessary incentive after World War II. Ridiculous since then. I was self employed and netted $6000 which exactly paid for my health insurance as I got no break due to income as will happen now.
    Also what is going to happen at the start of 2015, all income tax preparation will be delayed until the insurance companies issue the 1099s for proof of health insurance. 1099s aren’t legally due out until the end of FEBRUARY. Going to be a mess for those who need refunds yesterday.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, it was the Republicans who blocked illegal immigrants from getting any benefit from Obamacare. And the law that requires emergency rooms to not turn anyone away have been on the books for a very long time, so you can’t blame that on Obama.

    And I’m curious why you a) think this is a hybrid system and b) think that will be worse.

    The federal government already subsidizes health insurance by making employer contributions to it tax free. I’d rather that tax break go directly to individuals (which is what Obamacare does). Eventually, employers will stop offering health insurance as an employee benefit when it doesn’t make sense any more.

    Why don’t we just calm down and wait a few months until Obamacare goes into effect and see how it works out. I have the feeling that the Republicans would not be in such a hurry to block it now if they actually thought that it was going to be a disaster. After all, it was pretty much their idea in the first place, and I don’t hear many people complaining about Romneycare in Massachusetts. And if they thought it was going to be a disaster, wouldn’t it be better to wait until it goes into effect and then score political points by blaming it on the Democrats? The more I read about it, the more I think it is going to be popular, which is why the Republicans want to kill it before it goes into effect.

    How desperate are the Republicans to kill Obamacare before it goes into effect? Some of them are this desperate —

    Yes, there will probably be a few things wrong with Obamacare (like there was with Medicare), but we should just fix those things. Defunding Obamacare seems like the worst possible option. Although removing the individual mandate might be worse.

    Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
  12. Hassan wrote:

    If a person working for a company gets increase in salary (by not having insurance through company), then that is fine.

    I am still not sure how can it be enforced (even if it becomes part of law) for illegal immigrants to buy health insurance. They do not file taxes, and could care less, yet still take advantage of system.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  13. Michael wrote:

    “If a person working for a company gets increase in salary (by not having insurance through company), then that is fine.”

    Under the existing system, I have never seen an employee compensated for not getting insurance through their employer. Instead, here’s what I’ve seen: Your salary is a fixed amount, say $40,000, while your “total compensation,” is some higher amount like $55,000. Of that additional $15,000, something like $8,000 of it goes to pay for insurance. However, you still have to pay your part of the premiums, say $1,500 per year. So at the end of the year, you take home $38,500 in cash (minus taxes).

    If you decline insurance, your salary is still $40,000. You save the $1,500 because you don’t pay your part of the premiums. What about the $8,000? The employer pockets it. I’ve never seen an employer offer a check for a few thousand dollars to employees that decline coverage.

    If insurance were completely removed from the picture, there would be considerable pressure for companies to turn over part of that $8,000 to employees. Or they could lower the price of their goods and/or services, making the company more competitive.

    Personally, I think most companies would like this, overall. The only down-side for the companies is that they would lose the ability to bind you to your job to keep coverage. But I don’t think that is a powerful enough force for companies to really fight it.

    The ones that I think would really oppose this split would be the insurance companies themselves. They are benefiting from the fact that their consumers (the employees) don’t actually know what the cost is. Employees see that they pay $1,500 per year, so they think that’s how much insurance costs. They do not see that the total cost is closer to $10,000. If employees DID see that, they would be more likely to look for alternatives, which places downward pressure on premiums.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  14. Hassan wrote:

    Thanks Michael, that is what I wanted to know. I hope people are smart enough to get something out of companies.

    Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink