Given the state of Obamacare, it looks like the Dems already have their 2014 campaign slogan:
ONLY DEMOCRATS CAN FIX THE MESS THEY MADE
P.S.: Remember the slogan the left attached to Bill Clinton’s 1996 promise to (if reelected) soften some of the harsher provisions of that year’s welfare reform law: “ONLY CLINTON CAN UNDO WHAT HE HAS DONE.” It worked! …
Obamacare Overreach, Exhibit A: Obamacare’s “sticker shock” problem would obviously be a lot less severe if the Affordable Care Act didn’t mandate so many minimum “essential benefits” (e.g. maternity care, “[m]ental health and substance use disorder services”)–benefits that the insurance plans everyone’s mandated to buy must cover. Why make people buy a Lexus when you haven’t even gotten everyone into a Hyundai? It’s enough of a burden that people in individual plans who don’t have preexisting conditions have to pay higher premiums in order to guarantee coverage for those who do. Why make them pay even more to cover lots of extra services as well? One step at a time!
It didn’t have to happen. In the middle of this honest, pained-yet-still-overoptimistic piece by Obamacare proponent Harold Pollack, we learn that a commission from the Institute of Medicine in fact proposed a relatively slim package of “essential benefits,” precisely in order to keep premiums low–but they were hooted down by “advocates.”
The IOM recommended a package based on what the typical small business would cover, and noted the importance of such restraint to keep premiums low. It was a much more limited plan than many advocates support, and the committee was sharply criticized.
It’s now obvious the IOM was right and the “advocates” overreached, disastrously. (Pollack says tactfully: “[T]his month’s backlash underscores the wisdom of the IOM’s approach.”)
The first step in the “conversation” TNR‘s Jonathan Cohn wants should be the “advocates” admitting that they blew it, no? Pollack’s taken the first step.