Favorite

7 million reasons not to repeal the ACA 

On the last signup day for first-year insurance coverage, Ross Douthat, the quasi-official Republican intellectual, wrote an obituary for the forces that hoped to repeal Obamacare when Republicans control all three branches of government.

Writing in the corner of the New York Times reserved for conservative orthodoxy, Douthat said repeal won't happen now because it depended on Obamacare tripping over its complexities and failing miserably to achieve its goal of expanding insurance to a significant part of the population.

Four and a half months ago, he wrote that the cataclysmic failure of the Internet portals established for the signups and then the cancellation of substandard insurance plans in December in spite of the president's promise that insurance companies wouldn't do that meant that it was possible, maybe likely, that the reforms would be so discredited that Obamacare could be repealed when the party got its majorities.

But with the first-year prediction of 7 million new insurance buyers a certainty in spite of all the administrative glitches and with many million more poor workers signed up for Medicaid (200,000 Arkansans by the end of this year), that possibility vanished, Douthat said. Repeal or any serious change that canceled coverage for millions of people, he wrote, will not appeal to even many Republicans and will produce only "a ruinous civil war" in the party.

Douthat always viewed the reforms as another welfare-state entitlement like Social Security, Medicare and veterans insurance, which if the law worked would become widely accepted and even popular. While polls show Obamacare still unpopular, Douthat saw signs of its growing popularity like Medicare and Social Security before it.

Forlorn as he is about the prospect of killing the law, Douthat does not call on his party to abandon its plan to use Obamacare to win both houses of Congress this year, the last chance to exploit it. The most successful public-relations ruse in history was to make the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" in the common parlance, thus linking the reforms to a president who was hated in the South and the deep-red mountain and Midwestern states.

Polls show people favor the Affordable Care Act and that all its major features except one, the individual mandate, are wildly popular, and the mandate is a trifle below 50 percent. But approval sinks when people are asked about "Obamacare."

Even as it surpasses the first signup threshold, Obamacare political ads proliferate. As of March 1, 66,000 ads had attacked Democrats and more than 30,000 blamed the Democrats for Obamacare. The number of Obamacare ads is 12 times the number at this stage of congressional races four years ago, when they enabled Republicans to take over the House of Representatives.

On almost any website you go to, an ad flashes a picture of Pryor and the words he "told the biggest lie of the year." Then a very sad Wanda Buckley of Marion tells about how grieved she was when Blue Cross canceled her insurance in spite of Obama's promise that she could keep it. There was nothing about Pryor lying, but the ad notes that he voted for the act. And the Arkansas insurance commissioner said Blue Cross could continue to cover Mrs. Buckley and others like her with the substandard plans for another two years.

Pryor had seen his high approval ratings four years ago plummet because of the Obamacare attacks, but a year ago he counted on implementation at least neutralizing it as a political issue if not turning it into a positive.

The bare numbers ought to bear out his hopes: 200,000 voting-age Arkansans with insurance for the first time, thousands more who had lost insurance because they had pre-existing conditions or their illnesses had become too long and expensive insured again, 500,000 Medicare enrollees who are having their out-of-pocket drug costs lowered and have access to free cancer screenings, 35,000 young adults back on their parents' insurance, 115,000 Arkansans who got rebates last year because insurance companies spent more of their premiums on profits and overhead than Obamacare allows, 1.3 million whose insurance as of Jan. 1 can never be canceled as long as they pay their premiums.

But Pryor voted for Obamacare.

Favorite

Speaking of Mark Pryor, Obamacare

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Ernest Dumas

  • Attack the poor

    If there is a unifying motif to the labors of Congress and the Arkansas legislature this spring it is to make life harder and existence more intolerable for the poor.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Nixon's EPA

    Poor Richard Nixon would be so hurt, and baffled. He went to his grave knowing that while his historical reputation was in tatters owing to the deceptions and corruption of Watergate, he at least could lay claim to a few of the great advances in human rights in Western history.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Trumpcare

    Ignorance may not exactly be bliss, President Trump and a lot of other politicians are discovering, but it is a good operating model as long as wisdom doesn't rear its ugly head.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Guns, God and gays

    Many more mass shootings like the one last week in Roseburg, Ore., will stain the future and no law will pass that might reduce the carnage. That is not a prediction but a fact of life that is immune even to Hillary Clinton.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • AEC dumps ALEC

    No matter which side of the battle over global warming you're on, that was blockbuster news last week. No, not the signing of the climate-change treaty that commits all of Earth's 195 nations to lowering their greenhouse-gas emissions and slowing the heating of the planet, but American Electric Power's announcement that it would no longer underwrite efforts to block renewable energy or federal smokestack controls in the United States.
    • Dec 17, 2015
  • No tax help for Trump

    The big conundrum is supposed to be why Donald Trump does so well among white working-class people, particularly men, who do not have a college education.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Ernest Dumas

  • Attack the poor

    If there is a unifying motif to the labors of Congress and the Arkansas legislature this spring it is to make life harder and existence more intolerable for the poor.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Nixon's EPA

    Poor Richard Nixon would be so hurt, and baffled. He went to his grave knowing that while his historical reputation was in tatters owing to the deceptions and corruption of Watergate, he at least could lay claim to a few of the great advances in human rights in Western history.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Trumpcare

    Ignorance may not exactly be bliss, President Trump and a lot of other politicians are discovering, but it is a good operating model as long as wisdom doesn't rear its ugly head.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Worse than N.C.'s bathroom bill

    SB 774 extends birth certificate requirement to bathrooms in all public facilities, and that's an original birth certificate, too.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Enough! I don't care if it is the dog or the human factor. The end…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, news article require facts, something the Lyin's isn't too good about. As for opinion,…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation