Yes, yes, I know: You are a liberal/progressive and you want a Euro-style health insurance system. Me too. But do you have a workable plan to bell that particular cat? No, you do not -- certainly not anytime soon. You can't let the ideal be the enemy of the at-least-it's-better-than-the-libertarian-nightmare. Not when lives are on the line.
Obamacare is what passed. Obamacare is what we have. Obamacare is what the Republicans are after with a vengeance -- and they wouldn't hate it so much if it didn't actually help low-income people.
With the mandate cut out of it (thank you, 11th Court of Appeals!), what is Obamacare
That decision no doubt sent shivers down the spines of some insurance executives. Striking down the mandate could be a nightmare scenario for the health insurance industry, since the rest of the law compels them to accept sick customers and to not charge higher premiums based on a customer's health, age or gender.
Shivering spines in the insurance racket? Excellent! Tell me more...
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums in the individual market would increase 15 to 20 percent if just the mandate is struck down, since millions of healthier Americans would could forgo buying insurance and thus not offset the costs of new sick customers. But a study by the Rand Corporation estimated a more modest premium increase of less than 3 percent.
Without the mandate, Obamacare still offers "an expansion of Medicaid to cover all low-income people and federal subsidies for lower-income and middle-class people to buy insurance."
Look, I'm still mightily pissed off at Obama (see the important post below), and of course I would prefer a simple, straight-up Medicare-for-all system. But covering low-income folk is a damned fine thing. Snark ye your snarks. I really don't care.
I happen to be low-income myself, and I ain't gettin' any younger. Waiting for utopia isn't an option. You may recall what Keynes said about the long run.