Schadenfreude, and the Obamacare Timebomb

Considering the disaster of a rollout that Obamacare turned into, you would expect a lot more schadenfreude from the political right.  After all, it’s the President’s signature domestic policy.  For good or ill (and it’s mostly ill), this will be the domestic program that will be identified with President Obama.  And so far it’s a mess.  So why aren’t conservatives happy?  Part of it I think is that the right is still licking its wounds from the shutdown debacle.  They are still trying to heal a party that was pointless split for no good reason.  See?  I’m still trying to heal.  But the major part of this is that unlike a lot of wacky social programs that the left invents, screws up, and leaves to move on to the next big thing, healthcare is something that affects everyone.  The damage that Obamacare has done to the entire nation’s healthcare system, not just to the minority in the individual insurance market, is extensive, and much of it is permanent.  So there is no schadenfreude to be found in mocking the woman who said, “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.”

Fool, you’ve doomed us all.

If Obamacare had only ruined the healthcare system for those who supported it, then yes, the right would have the freedom to cackle with glee and point fingers, but eventually, this will affect everyone.

OK we’re still doing the finger pointing, but we’re not happy about it.

Right now the big Obamacare story is the website, which is a mess, but eventually the website will get fixed.  The problem goes far beyond the website.  The health insurance plans in the exchange depend on getting enough young health people to enroll to keep the cost of premiums down for the next year.  They need people paying but not using healthcare to afford the people who will enroll and will be sick and will be using healthcare; a lot.  That’s what insurance is all about after all.  If those young healthy people don’t show up and enroll, then you are left with more people taking out of the insurance pool than are putting into it.  That spells extremely high rates for premiums in 2015, or collapse of the exchange insurance groups.

And what could be pulling healthy young people from enrolling in an exchange insurance plan?  In a word; Medicaid.

So far (and admittedly this is a changing number) the majority of enrollees under the Obamacare exchanges are enrolling in Medicaid.  Under Obamacare the Medicaid expansion increased the Medicaid Eligibility to 138% of the Federal Poverty Line.  So all of those young healthy hipsters, particularly the ones who have extremely low incomes like students, are being enrolled, but they are being enrolled as Medicaid clients, not people in the actual private insurance groups.  So rather than contributing to the insurance pool, these healthy young people will basically be put on the dole, to drain the Treasury of funds to support healthcare that they could have otherwise been contributing to.

So if in the upcoming year we have insurance plans filled with the sick, while the healthy coast on Medicaid, than that’s a bomb that will blow Obamacare wide open.

Great plan geniuses.

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11 thoughts on “Schadenfreude, and the Obamacare Timebomb

  1. It’s mind boggling that this was passed without any solid information on what premiums would be, what services would be covered (other than attention paid to abortion coverage or lack thereof), what co pays and deductibles would be etc.. And that the obvious issue of “the privileged poor” (i.e. college students and recent grads) being below 138% of the poverty line didn’t occur to anyone. The ripple effects of this will be dire in terms of affordability and access. I never thought I’d say this, but I wish Hillary had won.


    • Neither Obama or Hillary really know anything about healthcare. They’ve never worked in the industry and don’t have the academic or policy backgrounds to have any more than a layman’s knowledge of how healthcare and insurance works in the US. In fact, I feel confident that I know more than those two. I’ve never heard either one of them speak with any depth on health care policy beyond a few talking points and one liners.

      Of course, these bills are written by lobbyists and politicians anyway, so these are the predictable results.


      • Sorry, Mike, but that’s not true. Both Obama and Hillary have law degrees. Anyone who graduates law school is automatically an expert on every subject. If you don’t believe me, just ask any lawyer, they’ll explain it to you. 😛


    • I just can’t believe that the Democrats could be so disciplined as to try to execute a Cloward-Piven strategy on purpose. I think the health care version of that is that Obamacare was made crappy and doomed to fail on purpose, so when it crash and burns, the Democrats can say, “Hey we tried to do this with private insurance and couldn’t make it work. The only thing left to do now is single payer…”

      The problem I have with that is I’m not sure that the millions of people who would have Obamacare fall apart all around them would then be ready to trust the government even more by going single payer.

      But considering how many Democrats have come out and said that Obamacare is just a stepping stone to single payer, you have to wonder…


      • “I just can’t believe that the Democrats could be so disciplined as to try to execute a Cloward-Piven strategy on purpose.”

        Sure they could. Could they do it well? Maybe actually pull it off? Well, that’s another story. For the record, I don’t think anyone* could actually pull it off. The ensuing chaos after an economic collapse would get out of hand before the various social safety nets could deploy. And public confidence in a government that would let the economy tank would be practically nonexistent, so I don’t see people trusting the government to take care of them. Cloward-Piven is a leftest fantasy. But I never underestimate the ability of leftists to confuse fantasy with reality.

        *Okay, I have to admit, the Koch brothers could pull it off. But only if they had Rush Limbaugh and Fox News helping out. Those guys are evil geniuses. 😉


      • Yeah I don’t think there is any good example of Cloward-Piven actually working. Trying to overload the state with too much debt so that the state collapses has historically led to fascistic regimes, not socialist or communist ones, like in South America or the midway point we are seeing with the EU PIGS economies. But if you just want power and don’t care how you do it…


  2. “That’s what insurance is all about after all. If those young healthy people don’t show up and enroll, then you are left with more people taking out of the insurance pool than are putting into it. That spells extremely high rates for premiums in 2015, or collapse of the exchange insurance groups.”

    which is why your side of the aisle keeps asking those young healthy specimens to avoid the ACA.. that’s who those eerie ‘uncle sam’ ads are geared at scaring. It’s why Rush and the Koch Bros are all on their ‘opt out’ kick.. I mean, why let the thing work when you can sabotage it instead.

    I digress

    Is the ACA the end all be all? hell no. But it’s the start of a conversation.. if only the Right would have the conversation and work out the kinks instead of throwing every wrench they can find into the mechanics..

    with that said.. it’s serendipity to find that we both write on the ACA within days of each other.. I’m linking mine here because I know you’ll enjoy my suffering.. LOL


    • Although I’m not exactly enjoying your suffering (no schadenfreude, remember?) I admit that I got a kick out of your tale of woe as a comedy of errors. I responded to that at your site.

      I don’t know who from my side is asking people to avoid signing up for Obamacare. People who don’t have employee sponsored health insurance don’t have a choice. If they want insurance, they have to go the Obamacare route. Their choices have been removed. Really now, are the Koch brothers actually telling people not to sign up? That sounds a bit implausible to me.

      As far as conversations go, the last input that the Republicans had with the administration was being told, “I won” and being ignored after Paul Ryan eviscerated Obamacare at the health summit.

      I on the other hand, welcome conversations about health reform options. But there hasn’t been anyone interested in listening on the other side.


  3. “Really now, are the Koch brothers actually telling people not to sign up? That sounds a bit implausible to me.”

    have you not seen their creepy ads?

    and to be fair, he did win.. and he does deserve concessions because of that. The loser never gets to stand up and demand he get the trophy.. or the lionshare of the ‘wealth’ so to speak. that is reserved for the winner… Paul Ryan, had he been the winner, would reacted in the exact same way. All winners would.


  4. Huh. Well I guess the Koch brothers could have saved their money. Obamacare is doing a far better job at keeping young people, or any people, from signing up than any other organization could have dreamed.

    Of course, I think it’s a dumb policy anyway. People need health insurance. You can’t decide to not get health insurance as some sort of protest; that’s stupid. It’s unfortunate though that unless you have employee sponsored insurance, you have no choice but to crawl on your hands and knees and kiss Obama’s ring. He’s made individual health insurance a monopoly of the US government. That of course, was one of the many reasons I’ve opposed this law, and I suppose, one of the many reasons you’ve supported it.

    And yes, Obama won. A point he has made repeatedly. And with that victory, he decided to totally cut out the Republicans. He didn’t want to share the credit. He assumed his plan would be a smashing success and highly popular, and if that’s the case, why bother inviting Republicans in? So he got exactly what he wanted. All the credit, if that’s what you want to call it go to Obama and the Democrats.

    But that’s why, as your earlier post alluded to, there was never any “conversation” about health care. And I doubt that Obama has any more interest in what Paul Ryan thinks about health reform now than he did a couple of years ago.


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