Dems: Yes, we own Obamacare, and that's a good thing
I hate to repost this since the “Keep Calm” meme has gotten rather played-out but:
My God, people. What is with all this infernal caterwauling – “the website!” and “but, but Obama said you could keep your plan!” coming from our side? I mean, I get that Republican poo flingers gotta fling poo at the President’s signature legislative accomplishment but why are Democrats cowering in fear? I was intensely critical of Obamacare while the bill was being crafted for not being progressive or universal enough and for keeping the rapacious insurance industry afloat but it is now the law and it will help a lot of people. That is what Democratic politicians should be focused on, not rushing to help Republicans undermine it in a pathetic attempt to save their sorry asses in 2014. Know this: Democrats own Obamacare. We can wear it around our necks or we can wear it proudly on our chests. A website can be fixed. The small number of people losing their crappy policies, which as Dean Baker explains is not the fault of Obamacare, is dwarfed by the very large number of people who will be able to get coverage previously denied them through the exchanges or expanded Medicaid.
And, oh hi Democratic politicians of Arizona, let me tell you about how much I dislike my current health plan, which is called “being uninsured”. It’s a really shitty plan and I have been on it for several years now, as have one in five Arizonans, which is close to a million people. 90% of Arizona’s uninsured population is going to be helped by Obamacare. An estimated 238K low income adults will become newly eligible for Medicaid. Wow, that’s a lot of potential voters who ought to be reminded that it was President Obama and the Democrats who made it possible for them to have health coverage at every conceivable opportunity throughout the next two campaign cycles, huh? Don’t apologize for anything about Obamacare. Don’t use terms like “botched” or “debacle” in association with it. Ever. You know what was a botched debacle? The Iraq invasion. Me being able to sign up for an insurance plan and having to call a real person for assistance instead of doing it all online as I prefer? Uh, no.
Speaking of the Medicaid expansion, I was amused to read this from Arizona Chamber President Glenn Hamer.
Since its creation in 1982, AHCCCS has been the gold-standard for cost-effective managed care in the country. AHCCCS is currently the 9th lowest-cost Medicaid program in the country, boasting costs of about$700 less per enrollee than the national average. The managed care model AHCCCS employs is based on competition, patient choice and appropriate medical management. The program has extremely low processing and eligibility error rates (1.1%compared to a national average of 6.7%) and has been recognized as utilizing “best practices” in cost avoidance and payment recovery activities.
AHCCCS has continuedthis reputation for quality service throughout the enrollment period following Gov. Brewer and the state Legislature’s expansion of eligibility and restoration of coverage for childless adults. Since the new eligibility requirements kicked in on October 1, AHCCCS, under the direction of Tom Betlach, has successfully enrolled thousands of Arizona’s uninsured, working poor. No serious glitches, no excuses, just real coverage in real time.
Contrast this with the rollout of the federal health insurance marketplace. Plagued by fundamental flaws in the website’s infrastructure, the online marketplace has thus far failed to provide the easy-access, affordable coverage the Administration promised. Serious concerns about the privacy of the data that consumers provide to the insurance exchange have further slowed its efficacy.
The Chamber was not amused when I tweeted that Hamer was basically arguing that a government-run single payer system is superior to a patchwork of private insurers but that’s what he was doing. But I do need to ask Arizona Democrats if we’re going to stand by and let the frigging Chamber of Commerce take credit for thousands of poor Arizonans getting health care. Sure, they supported and lobbied for the expansion but it wouldn’t have happened without President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. Yes, we own Obamacare, and that’s a good thing.
This opinion piece was originally posted on DemocraticDiva.com.
Donna Gratehouse blogs at DemocraticDiva.com.