Give Michael Moore
credit: He tells truths about Obamacare that few others have seen fit to recognize.
Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful.
That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get.
I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.
What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.
By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare.
So how do we deal with this awful system? Republicans and progressive purists will say: Just scrap it. But what will that do to people with pre-existing conditions?
Moore goes on to say:
And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.
Like it or not, we have to find some way to make this bad system work. And then we have to transform the bad system into a better system. The simplest way to do that, as Moore points out, is to push for a public option on a state-by-state basis.
The competition provided by a public option will force the private insurance companies to tighten their belts and provide better coverage for better prices. If the private sector can do that, great. If the private sector cannot compete, then we glide toward single-payer.