Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eugene Robinson: Why Obamacare Is a GOP Nightmare

Why does the GOP want to keep millions from getting health insurance–especially when the means of doing so was first implemented on the state level by the last Republican presidential candidate? Eugene Robinson writes that what the GOP really fears is that Obamacare will be popular and successful:

Some of Obamacare’s provisions are already in force and seem to be having the intended effect. For example, young adults are now allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26. In 2009, 29.8 percent of those 19 through 25 were uninsured; in 2012, 27.2 percent lacked insurance, a modest but significant decline.

Now the central provisions of the Affordable Care Act are set to come into effect—the individual mandate, the insurance exchanges, the guarantee of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Republicans scream that Obamacare is sure to fail. But what they really fear is that it will succeed.

That’s the reason for all the desperation. Republicans are afraid that Obamacare will not prove to be a bureaucratic nightmare—that Americans, in fact, will find they actually like it. The GOP fears that Obamacare will even be credited with slowing the rise of health care costs to a more manageable rate. There are signs, in fact, that this “bending of the curve” is already taking place: Medical costs are still rising much faster than inflation but at the slowest rate in decades.

Keeping premiums under control will require convincing lots of young, healthy people to buy insurance—and thus, in effect, subsidizing those who are older and sicker. That is why a group called Generation Opportunity, funded by the ultraconservative Koch brothers, plans to tour college campuses with disgusting ads in which a creepy Uncle Sam subjects a young woman to a pelvic examination.

The GOP message: Whatever you do, don’t buy health insurance. It may be—shudder—good for you.

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