July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012
Five Obamacare Myths


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have almost made it through another work week. I hope you have had a safe and great week so far. It has been another very busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me. The bear is in Washington DC resting up for the start of the International AIDS Conference tomorrow.

Yesterday, I started a blog about the myths about Obamacare. Since there is so much misinformation out there, I wanted to do what I could to set the record straight. So if you have not read my blog from yesterday, I would recommend reading it first.

You’ve heard a lot about the Massachusetts law. You may not have heard about the seven other states that passed laws requiring insurers to offer coverage to all. They were dismal failures because they failed to mandate that everyone, including the young and healthy, buy in. Massachusetts — fairly progressive, relatively affluent, with an abundance of health providers — included a mandate and became the successful exception. To expand that program beyond Massachusetts required ... Barack Obama.

OBAMACARE IS A LOSER. RUN AGAINST IT, RUN FROM IT, BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T RUN ON IT. When Mitt Romney signed that Massachusetts law in 2006, the coverage kicked in almost immediately. Robert Blendon, a Harvard expert on health and public opinion, recalls the profusion of heartwarming stories about people who had depended on emergency rooms and charity but now, at last, had a regular relationship with a doctor. Romneycare was instantly popular in the state, and remains so, though it seems to have been disowned by its creator.

Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)

Blendon believes that because of the delayed benefits and the general economic anxiety, “It will be very hard for the Democrats to move the needle” on the issue this election year.

He may be right, but shame on the Democrats if they don’t try. There’s no reason except cowardice for failing to mount a full-throated defense of the law. It is not perfect, but it is humane, it is (thanks to the Supreme Court) fiscally viable, and it comes with some reasonable hopes of reforming the cockeyed way we pay health care providers.

Even before the law takes full effect, it has a natural constituency, starting with every cancer victim, every H.I.V. sufferer, everyone with a condition that now would keep them from getting affordable coverage. Any family that has passed through the purgatory of cancer — as mine did this year, with decent insurance — can imagine the hell of doing it without insurance.

Against this, Mitt Romney offers some vague free-market principles and one unambiguous promise: to dash the hopes of 30 million uninsured, and add a few million to their ranks by slashing Medicaid.

If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”

Now you know the rest of the story. If you are in the Washington DC area, come up and have your picture taken with Dab the AIDS Bear in support of people living with HIV and AIDS. Help us end HIV stigma one picture at a time.

Have a safe and great Friday.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.



big bear hug,





Daddy Dab