Friday, November 15, 2013

The Democrats Deadly Dilemma: Why Obama and his Democratic allies are doomed

President Obama has committed the one unpardonable political sin: embarrassing your friends.

So far he has gotten away with anything he wanted no matter how much it cost the country. But now it is not just costing the country; it is costing his political allies. You can do just about anything in politics but that.

And because of this they are fleeing the sinking political ship like rats. Today, 39 Democrats broke ranks to vote for a Republican-sponsored bill that would do what Obama said he wanted to do in his speech yesterday (and what he promised before Obamacare was passed): keep your current health care policy.

But Obama says he is going to veto it if it comes to his desk. Why would the President veto a bill that would ensure that insurance companies could do what he promised they could do yesterday?

There is a very simple answer to this question: Although he wants to appear as if he wants insurance companies to be allowed to do this, he doesn't really want them to do it.

If insurance companies continue to offer the same health policies they offered before, then fewer healthier people will join the exchanges. And if they fewer healthier people don't join the exchanges, then, because of the high percentage of high-risk participants, rates on policies purchased through the exchanges will increase.

In other words, the very success of Obamacare depends on the success of driving people now insured through the individual market into the exchanges. But it also depends on people being able to keep their policies like Obama said they would.

In other words, the two criteria necessary for Obamacare to succeed are mutually exclusive:

If people are allowed to keep their current policies, then rates will increase, which will doom Obamacare. If, on the other hand, people are not allowed to keep their current policies, then they will rebel, which will also doom Obamacare. Since either people will be allowed to keep their current policies or they won't, either rates will increase or people will rebel. In either case, Obamacare is doomed.

There does not appear to be any way around the horns of this dilemma. In fact, something even worse is likely to happen.

In fact, the pressure of this dilemma has been to increase even more by the failure of the Obamacare website. What the failure of the website has done is bring about the worse possible outcome of the President's health care legislation. In most dilemmas, you are forced to make a choice between two unacceptable alternatives--in this case raising health care insurance rates or making people angry by throwing them off the plans you told them they could keep.

What the failure of the website has done is ensure that the President and his Democratic allies are impaled, not on one horn of the dilemma or the other--but on both of them.

Because of the technical problems that are preventing people from signing up for health care, it is everything but an absolute certainty that people will not get back their cancelled policies. Under the Presidents plan--and the Republican bill passed today--insurers are not required to keep offering these policies and there is no incentive for them to continue to offer them.

In addition, it will be almost impossible for the exchange to sign up enough people to keep rates low, even if the site is fixed before the end of this month--another promise Obama made which he cannot keep.

And the timing of things couldn't be worse for Democratic congressmen: The announcements of rate increases will arrive next September or October, right before mid-term elections.

High rates and lack of choice. Oh, and one more thing, because of the inauspicious timing of the Obamacare schedule, many people will be without health care policies on January 1, when, under Obamacare, they are required to have them.

If this political coffin needed another nail, there it is.

I'm trying to think of what is going on right now in the minds of those people who predicted just a week or so ago a drubbing of the Republicans at the polls next year because of the threatened government shutdown. In fact, does any even remember that now?


Lee said...

Wow. Crickets. Chirp. Chirp.

Lee said...

At this point, my only concern, based on the proven stupidity of Republicans, is that they will try to rescue this legislation. One try has already been made, but the President has vowed to veto it.

Never, ever, interrupt your political enemies when they are in the process of destroying themselves.

Best thing the GOP could do now is shrug and say, hey, we were beat. We were called "racists" and otherwise villified for opposing this legislation. You guys won. Time to take all the credit for yourselves.

Martin Cothran said...


I don't think the Republicans were trying to salvage Obamacare. I think they were giving Obama more rope to politically hang himself.

They knew their legislation would be vetoed by Obama. But by putting his own idea into a bill and giving it to Obama and having him veto it (or Senate Democrats not allowing a vote) it underscores the fact that the President isn't serious about helping those who are losing their plans.

Lee said...

Yeah, I hear you. And I hope you're right that it has that effect.

But what if Obama signs that bill? It is surely not going to fix everything, even if it fixes anything. Anything the Republicans touch will be marked and introduced as evidence that everything is their fault. The media will only be too happy to play along.

So far, the GOP hasn't touched anything, and I *still* seem them getting some of the blame, for not being... I don't know... less obstructionist? The premise being, if the Democrats messed things up this badly, with token, minority opposition, just think how well they might have performed with even more Congressional support.

These guys can spin anything.

Just best to keep that stuff from getting on your fingers. The GOP should turn to the Democrats and simply say, you broke it, you fix it.

Anonymous said...

We've elected Chauncey Gardiner, twice, to the post of most powerful man in the world. God help us all.

Lee said...

I think Chauncey Gardiner probably knew what he was doing, professionally.

The best-case scenario with the current administration is that they're incompetent. Americans are probably more forgiving of incompetence than being blatantly lied to. At least, that's what the White House seems to think.

Lee said...

Slightly different subject... if memory serves, and sometimes it doesn't, I have been chastised in these comments sections for questioning the veracity of the government's unemployment statistics.

My logic generally runs like this: where an incentive exists, and the power to pursue the incentive, you can usually expect a human being eventually to succumb to the temptation.

Again, if memory serves, objections to my construction went along the lines of, where's the evidence, and sir, have you no decency?

I'll spend some small amount of time trying to dig up such exchanges, presuming they're not a figment of my addled memory.

But if someone reading this remembers having that conversation with me, well... I will magnanimously accept your concession speech. :)