Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Running Against Obamacare Is Soooo Overrated.

     Yesterday's Obamacare enrollment deadline wasn't particularly apocalyptic.  Seems like American civilization as we know it will go on.  Stock markets--representing the business community that supposedly has been all agog about the advent of the Affordable Care Act--had a nice rally today, continuing their flirtations with all-time highs.  They don't seem too shook.  Same way with commodity markets, which provide the raw materials for all those businesses that are supposed to be materially affected by the enrollment requirements of ACA.  They're stable and humming along at healthy, if not record breaking, levels. They look to the future and they see no disruptions in the market or the economy. As to those death panels, I haven't seen any.  Have you?
     Fact is, I doubt that the country's transition to ACA, despite its glitches and "let's make it up as we go along" quality, will do much to upset this country's equilibrium in any meaningful way.  I've never really had strong feelings about the ACA myself, mainly because I couldn't completely understand the thing, but who couldn't miss all the political histrionics it engendered?  I believe the U.S. House of Representatives has voted over 50 times to repeal it, no doubt with the unwavering support of our South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem, all to no avail.  And just yesterday, Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso was on national t.v. complaining that the Obama administration had "cooked the books" in counting up the 7 million enrollees in ACA. It was an attention-getting charge, but he presented no evidence to back it up. Still, the rage is there, so much so that the GOP intends to make its hatred of the ACA the focal point of its midterm strategy this November.
     Personally, I think the Republican Party is fighting for a lost cause on this one.  Speaking as a Republican who is more the businessman than party ideologue, I think we have to deal with the world as it is, not how we want it to be.  For one thing, this repetitive and tiresome act of trying to repeal it in Congress will probably go nowhere, given President Obama's veto power and the unlikely event that enough votes could be rounded up to override his veto should a repeal vote pass both houses of Congress.  For another, all the horror stories the Republicans have been pitching about ACA don't seem to be materializing. A nice piece in Yahoo Finance today lays it out pretty well.  For example, the Republican-generated hysteria about mass layoffs coming because of employer mandates doesn't explain how 900,000 jobs have been created since ACA came into being last October.
     Looking ahead, the Manufacturers Alliance For Productivity And Innovation is sanguine. Last month it told Industry Week "manufacturing will grow faster than the overall U.S. economy, according to MAPI. It expects manufacturing production to increase 3.2% in 2014 and 4.0% in 2015." These kinds of increases occur with job growth, not massive layoffs.  Republicans should be listening to their core constituents about their outlook for a society with ACA.  And if manufacturers aren't enough to seal the deal that ACA is likely here to say, listen to what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents 3 million retailers thinks.  Chamber President Tom Donohue said last January, "we have to devise ways of making it work.
     This strikes me as the kind of pragmatic attitude that the GOP should adopt, mainly because I think the firestorm of contempt for ACA is beginning to wear itself thin.  Yesterday's ABC News/Washington Post poll showed more Americans favoring it than opposing it for the first time, which I believe will be a trend that continues as people get used to the idea of dealing and living with it.  If Republicans think they can tap into a groundswell of rage against Obamacare, they're making a big mistake.  








      

     

4 comments:

  1. John, A friend of mine's son-in, who is in his late 50s has come down with a debilitating COPD from his work as a welder. He is covered for his healthcare but his wife, my friend's daughter, was then left without health insurance. She shopped and shopped here in SD and found nothing for less than 500 a month. My friend happened to hear some phone number nationally to call for last minute help. She called it and was able to get covered for 57 per month. I found it interesting that Wellmark entered the local market for the Affordable Care Act, here in this last week, before the law took effect.

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    1. Stories like this--I have some too--will emerge more and more frequently, only adding to the acceptance--if somewhat grudging from many quarters--of ACA's inevitability. Thanks for sharing it here, Lanny. Readers, I invite you to share personal observations or experiences, good and bad, with ACA to this conversation.

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  2. Professionals whose clients/patients have long term needs, chronic conditions, etc., include insurance specialists on their payrolls just to deal with the companies that are eager to deny or limit claims or end coverage. One of my hopes is that ACA will limit the need for such people. That would be one of the ways costs are reduced.

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    1. Stands to reason ACA should have that effect, Deb.

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