Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Obamacare Defunding Effort Gains Momentum

Free market Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul are leading an effort to end Obamacare by "defunding" it.  What does that mean?  Well, basically, government programs need money to operate.  One way Congress can stop a program is by refusing to pay for it.

In the links below, various Republican politicians and activist groups are working toward defunding Obamacare.  Here's how what they are trying to do might work.

Obamacare relies heavily on federal spending.  Many people will be eligible for tax credits or subsidies if they buy health insurance on the exchanges.  That takes federal money.  In addition, the federal government has promised to fund the states' Medicaid expansion programs for the first few years.  That takes a lot of federal money.  And of course, there are thousands, maybe millions, of federal employees paid to administer Obamacare.  They probably won't do that work if they don't get paid.

Democrats, of course, oppose the defunding effort.  In addition, some Republicans do not want to be painted as obstructionist.  The real danger to them is that sending a federal budget bill to the President without funding for Obamacare would get vetoed, meaning there would be no funding for anything in the government.  Republicans would get blamed for not paying forest rangers, military personnel, and other popular government workers and programs.

We've seen a lot of polling on both sides of Obamacare.  Most people oppose Obamacare.  Other polls ask about specific features, like new rules governing adult children up to the age of 26 and bans on pre-existing conditions exclusions.  Liberals point to those polls as proof of the law's popularity.

What I'd like to see is a poll asking people what they think Obamacare is.  My guess is that many people think they will get free health insurance.  That's true for some, but not many.  When people find out Obamacare places mandates on them to buy insurance while creating enormous pressure on employers to drop their health plans, they'll really understand what it's about.  We'll see how popular the law is when people see the bills and get no free health insurance.

We'll have to wait and see.  Having spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the strategies businesses should take regarding Obamacare, I believe the law will be even less popular this time next year than it is now.  Some people will lose their health insurance and will find even subsidized policies unaffordable.  Others will find themselves on Medicaid and find that although it is free, you get what you pay for.  More people will find themselves cut to part time as their employer seeks to avoid paying for insurance.   Not a pretty scene.

My two cents.  Right now, Obamacare is still 100% the responsibility of Democrats.  If it fails, it's their problem and entirely their fault.  I believe there's a very high probability of serious problems with the new law and Republicans should not allow Democrats to shift the blame.  That means letting it happen.

So let the train wreck happen, just stay out of the way.  Hopefully I'm wrong, but it seems that the more cynical I get the more right I become.

Now, around Today's Obamacare world!

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