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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Why I (Still) Support Obamacare": Because You're a Dummy?

“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”

– President Barack Obama, Portland, April 1, 2010, after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law

As happened to hundreds of thousands of other Americans last week, my brother received notice from his insurance company that his health care policy was being cancelled owing to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks for the straight talk, President Obama.

Don't get me wrong: I support universal health care. On the other hand, even Democratic Senator Max Baucus knew that Obamacare was going to be a train wreck. The legislation was neither thought out nor implemented properly, and I shudder when I think of the ultimate cost both in dollars and in waining credibility of the federal government.

In the private sector, if you want to roll out a new product, you don't leave anything to accident. As known to everyone who worked on Obamacare, this revolution in health care administration overseen by a president with no managerial experience, was an accident waiting to happen.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Why I (Still) Support Obamacare" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-still-support-obamacare.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0), Thomas Friedman explains why he still "supports" Obamacare:

"But thanks to the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution that has unfolded over the last two decades — which is rapidly and radically transforming how knowledge and information are generated, disseminated and collaborated on to create value — 'the high-wage, medium-skilled job is over,' says Stefanie Sanford, the chief of global policy and advocacy for the College Board. The only high-wage jobs that will support the kind of middle-class lifestyle of old will be high-skilled ones, requiring a commitment to rigorous education, adaptability and innovation, she added.

. . . .

In the end, this transition we’re going through could prove more exciting than people think, but right now asking large numbers of people to go from being an 'employee' to a 'work entrepreneur' feels scary and uncertain. Having a national health care safety net under the vast majority of Americans — to ease and enable people to make this transition — is both morally right and in the interest of everyone who wants a stable society."

Okay, I also favor an expanded "national health care safety net," which includes Medicaid and Medicare. However, regarding Obamacare, we have yet to witness the full extent - and cost - of this half-baked fiasco, "still supported" by Tom Terrific.

As explained by Jon Kingsdale, who oversaw the Massachusetts health insurance exchange from 2006 to 2010, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Beyond HealthCare.gov, Obamacare’s other challenges" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/beyond-healthcaregov-obamacares-other-challenges/2013/11/08/26cd7e3c-4702-11e3-bf0c-cebf37c6f484_story_1.html):

"A health insurance exchange is more than a Web site. It is an insurance store, and to manage it well requires insurance experience, technical know-how, and savvy marketing and sales tactics. The administration has a few months to put together a management team with these skills, dedicated exclusively to running the world’s largest store for private insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have talented staff, and Jeffrey Zients, a former budget official who’s been called up to help fix the federal exchange’s online enrollment, may be just the guy to corral wayward technology vendors. But selling insurance is not what policy analysts and turnaround specialists do. I had 45 employees dedicated to operating the Massachusetts Health Connector; California has budgeted more than 300. Who’s minding the federal store?

If the administration fails to convince hundreds of insurers that the federal exchange will do a superb job marketing their products next fall, what then?

Premiums will jump, Democrats will blame 'greedy' insurers, regulators will review rates and push for price controls. And Republicans can credibly crow: 'We told you so.'"

In short, it's not going to be pretty. Or stated otherwise, "Mr. President, you broke it, you bought it."

1 comment:

  1. Managerial experience ... work experience in general ... who needs this?
    You look at this the wrong way. You should see an attractive man in perfect suits, with a perfect smile and verbal fluency.
    A STAR. And then you'll be immediately happy.

    ReplyDelete