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Health Care War Games

Matt Miller at the Washington Post published an interesting fantasy this morning (h/t Big Tent Democrat):

Health care’s federal future, brought to you by the GOP

“Good afternoon, I’m Brian Williams reporting from Washington, where it looks like October 26, 2017, will be a day that truly goes down in history. In a few moments, at a table not far from where I now stand, President Hillary Clinton will sign into law the universal health-care legislation – “Medicare for All,” as she calls it – that completes a journey Mrs. Clinton began nearly 25 years ago. Back then, as first lady, her attempt to reform the health-care system proved a fiasco that cost Democrats their hold on power. Who would have thought then – or later, when President Barack Obama’s big health reform was overturned by the Supreme Court in a controversial 5 to 4 ruling in 2012 – that today’s bipartisan bill would be the result? For some perspective on the twists and turns of history, we’re joined by NBC’s David Gregory. David, health reform seemed dead in the water in 2012. How did we get from that Supreme Court ruling to today?”

“Brian, when historians look back on this period, they’ll see it as a classic case of shortsighted politics – of Republicans winning the battle but losing the war. It really dates to the fight to overturn Barack Obama’s health reform. There’s no question the GOP got a boost from that ‘victory’ – it galvanized their base, and, combined with high unemployment and the dollar crisis right before the 2012 election, denied President Obama a second term.

The vision in that Washington Post story isn’t meant to be rosy.  Yeah,  there’s that (to me) lovely bit about Hillary signing Medicare for Everyone into law.  But, in this fantasy the only way we get there is by living through a pretty horrific period between now and then.  It’s more like a post-apocalyptic tale — with Hillary and Medicare for Everyone in the role of “the end of the world”.

As usual, this vision discusses the hard statistics of the health care crisis (the estimated 70 million without access to health care)  like a game.  A fake video-game-war where Republicans get a “victory” with a Supreme Court ruling and Democrats end up “winning” with President Hillary Clinton and Medicare for Everyone (ooohhh, scary!)

Well, it’s a fake game:

I don’t know that The Affordable Health Care Act is all that affordable — I still can’t figure out how people making just above 400% of poverty are supposed to keep up with the ever-rising premiums.  And what happens if/when a future Senate decides that the subsidies for those whose incomes are under 400% are an entitlement that we just can’t afford anymore? Suddenly what was affordable isn’t so affordable anymore.

So with or without The Affordable Health Care Act, premiums and the numbers of uninsured will rise…..

And I can’t figure out who’s winning that game.

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