Health Care Debate

How did I ever get so lucky to draw the publishing slot on the morning of the end of the world?  As I write this (Wednesday morning) I have no idea how or when the standoff will resolve itself but I feel that I must comment on what is going on.

There has been much discussion from both Sir Timothy and Mr. Bard about defunding ObamaCare.  A short note from another point of view …  During the whole previous presidential primary cycle we heard a lot about nominating the most electable conservative candidate.  Not the most conservative candidate, but the most conservative candidate who was electable.  If that was the goal, what is the equivalent here?

Did we really expect that the sitting president who has his name on this signature piece of legislation (ObamaCare) would ever agree to a deal where it was defunded?  I don’t think so.

I am not trying to be a Monday Morning Quarterback but I think that we could have predicted the outcome to that fight.  The goal was worthy but in losing there has also been a lot of collateral damage.  What frustrates me is that even though most politicians have moved away from the defunding position about a week ago, the Main Stream Media and the average person on the street is still acting as if the demand is still defunding.  This makes us look unreasonable.  The well has been poisoned.

So what would have the most electable candidate looked like?  I believe if we had focused on two broad goals:  No special treatment for big business or anyone else and supporting economic growth we could have talked about a delay for the individual mandate as being fair.  We could have also sold the medical devices tax as hurting small business and job growth.

The real missed opportunity was not having a strategy for what happened when the big flaws in ObamaCare became apparent.  The incompetence of the government trying to build and run a system this large and complex was predictable.  The shear lunacy of pricing that has lower income young people subsidizing wealthier older people is clearly indefensible.

Smart operatives should have seen the outcomes of both of these and had solutions at the ready.  The systems challenges themselves should have called for an immediate delay in the implementation of a year.  No business would have tried to implement such a complex system that touches their customers without rigorous testing and a back up plan.  I have been overseen large ERP and ecommerce implementations and testing and the ability to roll back are the price of admission.

At the moment the systems didn’t work, we could have won that debate but now the debate on delay is about Conservatives hating ObamaCare and being unreasonable.  Additionally, as reaction to higher premiums came out we could have had a debate about the fairness of the premium formula and why there were young participants subsidizing older participants.  We know that if that wasn’t the case people wouldn’t sign up and the whole system would collapse, but that argument doesn’t fit on a bumpersticker.  It’s actually indefensible.

At the end of the day, we probably would have ended up about where it looks like we are going to be on the debt ceiling fight but we could have still had the discussion on ObamaCare regarding government competence and the fairness of premiums.  Two fights we could have won.

Just my two cents.



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