Bill Clinton Chases the ACA Unicorn
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  • Anthony

    “…The Affordable Care Act seeks to make two sets of changes to what’s called the non group market. It establishes a minimum set of benefits, which means everything from covering essential services to eliminating annual or lifetime limits on payments. At the same time, the law prohibits insurers from discriminating among customers: they can’t charge higher prices, withhold benefits, or deny coverage altogether to people who represent medical risks. They have to take everybody, varying price only for age (within a three-to-one ratio) and for tobacco use.”

    Health care as presently constituted is complicated sector with competing interests as well market contradictions; the question ought to be can comprehensive health care provision be accomplish within market principles inside U.S. and if not how do 300 million plus U.S. citizens acquire said (granting that the citizenry should have access to sufficient medical care) in a most effective way.

    • Andrew Allison

      Exactly. However, I don’t think that comprehensive health care provision can be accomplished within market principles. Every country which provides it does so with public primary (in which everybody is required to participate), and private secondary insurance. Since I also think that Congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by special interests, a non-market solution appears very unlikely.

      • Boritz

        A market solution is completely unacceptable to those who passed this or they would not have.

        • Andrew Allison

          Sorry, but what they did pass was, and is, a market disaster. The only people who will benefit from ACA are insurance companies (who benefit from charging higher premia because of increased coverage), Big Pharma (which benefits from the greatly expanded approved drug list they lobbied for) and the service providers who will have more customers for more covered services. All these goodies will be paid for by the insured and/or the taxpayer.

      • ljgude

        Right on the money Andrew! That is exactly what OECD countries do. Universal healthcare with optional private insurance. In Australia I buy the private Insurance ($2000 a year and I’m 71!) and have access to MDs of my choice and don’t face waiting lists. But if I get injured in an accident I will be taken to the nearest public hospital and get the same treatment as the poorest person. It will cost me nothing. But what I have done in private hospitals is paid for by my insurance company. I honestly don’t know how the US can get from where they are to a better system, but I can tell you the key to Australia’s success is that the public and private systems compliment each other. If private insurance gets too expensive, people drop it and rely on the public system. Likewise if the waiting lists get too long. people start buying private insurance.

  • lord acton

    Oh what a tangled web we weave; when first we practice to deceive………[Sir Walter Scott]

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Clinton understands perfectly well that Obama can’t do what he is suggesting. All he is doing is distancing the Clinton brand, and by extension Hillary, from the Obamacare fiasco in preparation for 2016.

    • Pete


      Slick is merely posturing to position his old battleaxe away fro ObamaCare.

  • Gene

    2 points:

    First, there is no one who is literate and of average intelligence–citizen, politician, journalist, pundit, bureaucrat, you name it–who has an excuse for not knowing the structure and likely effects of this law a long, long time ago. Apathy or short attention spans do not get people off the hook. Irrational fealty to one political tribe or another is something to be ashamed of but not an excuse for not paying attention. And as for the politicians, these SOBs actually VOTED FOR THIS. Please, Reps and Senators, spare us your phony shock.

    Secondly, to build on a point WRM made in the last paragraph, the “national conversation about health care” is now a permanent part of American life. We will be arguing over health care for the rest of our lives. Putting health firmly into the political arena makes it a political football forever. Enjoy!

    • Dexter Scott

      Plenty of Democrats knew this would happen, but they didn’t care. The word you are looking for is “evil” not “apathetic” or “ignorant”.

      • Gene

        I agree with you, but in keeping with the tone of our host–who apparently never gets angry though god knows I don’t understand why, I thought I’d dial it back. I’m also practicing for some conversations I’m likely to have with family members this week.

    • Corlyss

      “We will be arguing over health care for the rest of our lives.”
      I certainly hope not. But if you’re right, it would certainly be consistent with the wags that identified the West and specifically the US as an nursing home with an army. All of this nattering about health care for the last 50 years since medicare went in has been the effort to deal with the Boomer Bow Wave when it achieves old age. The systems were set up to relieve Boomers of having to save for old age and their health care so they could spend spend spend and float the economy to stratospheric heights. Okay. That’s exactly what happened. Now the debris cloud is rocketing to earth, and there’s no serious plan to deal with nations’ necessity to continue the routine business of nationhood.

  • Dexter Scott

    Unusually good liar Bill Clinton thinks successor should tell better lies. Film at 11.

    • tarentius


  • Anthony

    Obama care seems like an old fashioned Rube Goldberg drawing, it’s too complicated for the average person to understand and it might be too complicated to work at all.

    The Nixon administration had a much better idea. Under the Nixon plan, people too poor to buy insurance, or who were not provided it by their employers, would be given money that they could use to buy their own insurance. This would accomplish the goal of providing care for the needy without raising the specter of a
    government takeover over of healthcare. I wonder why the GOP hasn’t adopted this old idea, which was created by one of their own presidents?

    • Corlyss

      But what do you do about the ones who don’t want insurance? Nobody has an answer for them as long as this remains a nation where freedom of choice trumps every other freedom.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Democrats own this program, and nothing Clinton says is going to change that fact. It’s also true that Obamacare can’t be changed or reformed without Republican support, and why would they support any change except to get rid of the program. From the Republican point of view, as millions of people lose their insurance and doctors every month, the more damage the Democrats take, and that is on top of the incompetent website, insecure private information, and Obama’s lies. The 2014 midterm elections are looking like they might result in another Shellacking like the historic 2010 midterms, as rage against Washington’s high handed arrogance leads to throwing the bums out.

    • Corlyss

      I would like to think that a smart opposition party would hang Obamacare around the necks of Democratic politicians and set fire to it. The jury is still out on whether the Republicans are smart enough to make something out of this debacle. They have a boat load of crocodile consultants selling them all kinds of tripe about winning Latinos and Asians and blacks and making the tent bigger, crap that’s going to avail them nothing if they pursue that phantasm. What they need to do is get more conservative white voters to the polls, period. It was the white vote Republicans lost last time, not the Latinos and the Asians and the blacks. Those latter voters they never had in the first place and never will have because they cannot match the Santa Claus mentality of the Dems. It’s the white conservatives voters that are dispirited and feeling hopeless in the face of the anti-American Communist onslaught from Washington.

  • Stephen Jenks

    There is no question in my mind that this “reform” is going to harm the Democrats in the next election, and I would argue it may be an absolute political cataclysm for them. The point made by WRM is that the experience of the populace is very different from the basis on which the reform was sold. Let’s review the bidding; 1.) The pitch; Obamacare would increase insured access to healthcare. The reality; it looks likely that more people will lose insurance than will gain it in the initial phase. 2.) The pitch; Obamacare will lower costs across the spectrum.That’s why it’s called the Affordable Care Act. The reality; most insured will see higher premiums and deductibles and/or restricted access. In other words, less healthcare for the dollar. 3.) The pitch; If you like your plan and your doctor, you can keep them period. The reality; you can’t. The American populace will be reasonable in the face of poor results if an honest effort is made to achieve a common good, but the American populace does not forgive or forget being intentionally misled. If the Democrats had been up front when crafting the legislation, it never would have passed. It is now crystal clear that they intentionally, with malice aforethought, defrauded the American populace. I predict they will pay an extremely heavy price for years to come.

    • Fred

      If only you were right. But the American public has the attention span of a gnat. A year from now with this being ignored/buried/spun by the Obamedia, which will be busily pointing out how “extreme” the Republicans are with their “war on women/gays/minorities/whatever”, the morons will behave much as they did in 2008 and 2012.

    • ljgude

      It was pretty clear in 2010 that the electorate was smart enough to spike Obama’s guns by putting a huge Republican majority in the House. And dumb enough to reelect him in 2012. And I can see them electing Hillary in 2016, but I don’t think the Democrats will fare well in 2014 the way things are going for the simple reason that for most Americans the experience they will have over then next year will be one of having less coverage or more expensive coverage or choosing to pay a fine to the IRS. They are going to be grumpy.

  • Corlyss

    “the public becomes aware that the law they’re getting isn’t anything like the law that was pitched to them.”

    It wasn’t THAT hard to figure out. Even a tiny bit of voter diligence would have told them in 2008 that Obama should never have been on the ticket. The idea that they didn’t discover how cold was the comfort of voting for the first black president until their ox was gored is shameful.

  • Corlyss

    “thoughtful piece at the New Republic”

    Gosh! I’m havin’ a devil of a time trying not to think of that phrase as one of the biggest oxymorons I’ve ever come across. The last time New Republic had a thoughtful piece was the last one written by Walter Lippmann

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