Healthcare Revisited

We Americans actually argue over whether or not access to healthcare is a basic human right.  Guns, in America owning a gun is a right, but not the ability to see a doctor.

That’s some seriously f**d up logic right there, folks.

– Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

WC admires Jim Wright’s ability to summarize an argument. True, he can’t do it without, as WC’s grandmother would have said, swearing like a sailor, but of course Jim Wright was a career sailor.1

But have you noticed that national healthcare seems to have vanished from the national debate? After the U.S. House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act fifty or more times, they’ve suddenly gone silent. It’s almost as if the Republicans’ national polling data suddenly revealed the majority of Americans like the majority of the Affordable Care Act.

Two recent studies have shown that the health care exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act both reduce health insurance premiums and increase benefits. You know, competition? Capitalism? But Alaska didn’t get much benefit from the health care exchanges because Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell, in a fit of fifth grade playground maturity, decided health care exchanges had Obama Cooties and declined to create one in Alaska. His immaturity, his unthinking political reflex, cost many Alaskans a lot of money.

But wait, you say. What about Florida’s private insurance plan? Remember the Sunshine State spent $900,000 to build a website that would allow Floridians to buy private health insurance plans from participating companies. Competition would surely lead everyone to a terrific deal. And in the six months since Florida Health Choices ( went online, it has proven to be a huge success, signing up 30 people. In the same period, the hateful Affordable Care Act signed up 984,000 Floridians. If the Republican-controlled Florida state government there had expanded Medicaid, the state would have brought health insurance to another 764,000 people who make too much money for Medicaid now, but don’t qualify for subsidies under the ACA. Just like Captain Zero’s decision not to expand Medicaid because, you know, Obama Cooties.

Okay, so Florida Health Choices was a bad idea. And while most good ideas have a hundred parents, most bad ideas are orphans. But in this case we know who the father is: Marco Rubio, then the speaker of the Florida State House. The Tampa Bay Times asked Rubio’s office whether Florida Health Choices “was fulfilling Rubio’s vision,” and received only a statement that Rubio opposes the ACA. So we can conclude Senator Rubio doesn’t want his name on Florida Health Choices’ birth certificate.

But the bad news for Republicans doesn’t stop with the success of the ACA’s health care exchanges and Rubio’s bastard idea. It turns out that there are some nice collateral effects from the Affordable Care Act. One of them is that Medicare spending is more than $1,000 less per beneficiary than expected.


The Kaiser Foundation reports that

Medicare spending this year will be about $1,000 lower per person than was expected in 2010, soon after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which included reductions in Medicare payments to plans and providers and introduced delivery system reforms that aimed to improve efficiency and reduce costs.  By 2019, Medicare spending per person is projected to be nearly $2,400 lower per person than was expected following passage of the ACA.

That’s good news for the federal deficit, of course. Health care expenses under Medicare are one of the most important contributors to the size of the deficit. But it’s very bad news to a political party that has staked its future to projected growth of the deficit. The Republicans’ Big Issue, the issue that was going to give them the White House and control of Congress, is turning to ashes on them.

It couldn’t happen to a better set of alleged human beings.


  1. So was WC’s father, for that matter. Well, a Seabee, which a real sailor like Jim Wright might argue wasn’t a sailor at all. WC’s father could talk around WC’s mother without swearing, but otherwise sprinkled his sentences with expletives. Some in Swedish; most in English. 

One thought on “Healthcare Revisited

  1. And did you notice one of the headlines this week in Alaska Dispatch? Where it talked about Alaskan’s health care premiums going UP, when the rest of the nation’s (who accepted the ACA) are going down? Parnell will try to blame this on the ACA instead of acknowledging it is a direct consequence of his refusal to work with the Federal Government..

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