Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Megan McArdle hates Obamacare.

I mean, she really hates Obamacare. I mean, she really, really hates Obamacare. In fact, I don't think a week goes by without the Bloomberg View columnist penning at least one piece in which she's found another aspect of the Affordable Care Act to prove -- once and for all! -- that it's not perfect legislation.

That's why I was so gratified today to see her call the ACA "good insurance design" in her column, "Deductibles Are the Price You Pay for Obamacare." (Aha! I told you Obamacare was flawed!)

Let me say that again: the ACA is good insurance design. Ooh, that feels good.

I'll let you read the piece (shorter Ms. McArdle: ACA isn't perfect), but the message I received is what I've been saying all along: the Affordable Care Act was the best health care reform that could actually get passed.

And I still believe it. As far as I can tell, there are really only three choices on health care: 

(1) The previous "system," which (almost) everyone agrees was a disaster; 

(2) Obamacare, which only die-hard, cranky Republicans truly think is a disaster; or 

(3) A single-payer system like Medicare for All, which could never, ever -- ever -- get passed in the United States. Ever.

So, really, in the Real World (the one in which Ms. McArdle and I actually live), the best alternative would be (2) Obamacare: a private insurance-based system in which more people than ever are covered at a lower-than-expected cost. Like Ms. McArdle (she's gotta be somebody's little sister), you could forever point out its flaws (nyah, nyah) or you could suggest ways to tweak it around the margins to make it better.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for Ms. McArdle and all the other Obamacare haters out there, but the ACA is here to stay. Why? Because it's the best of all the alternatives. (Even Alabama is considering an expansion of the state's Medicaid program -- Alabama!) I've seen the various Republican "replacement" plans. And you know what? They're all like Obamacare, except not as good. And that makes sense, doesn't it? If a better plan could have been passed, it would have. To refresh your memory, the ACA passed by the skin of its teeth. I'll say it one more time: It was the best reform that could actually get passed. 

Now deal with it.

3 comments:

Ed Crotty said...

McMegan is always doing her part to support her corporate masters. Who have taken as an article of faith that healthcare for the poors is a very bad idea. But how do they square that the economy hasn't crumbled due to Obamacare?

Mike Tracy said...

Actually, I have to speak in Ms. McArdle's defense here. I don't think she's a capitalist tool, or useful idiot, or anything even remotely like it. Instead I think she's a highly-intelligent, well-informed, sincere -- but rigid -- ideologue who simply can't rethink any of her most deeply-held beliefs. (I can say that because I was once one too.)

Ed Crotty said...


Re: McArldle's most deeply-held beliefs.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" ~ Upton Sinclair

It is funny that the folks who were shown to be 100% wrong about the Iraq war ( Bill Kristol, etc ) are still being paid to opine, when those who were 100% right ( Phil Donahue ) cannot find work. If McArdle were to change her "deeply-held beliefs", she would be unemployed in a heartbeat.