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This Is Your Politics On Obamacare

The Republicans are having a good year in Massachusetts.  They elected a Republican Senator for the first time since the 1970s, and several (maybe as many as four) of their nominees for the House of Representatives look competitive.  They have a shot at the Governor's chair too.

They might win it, but there is something interesting about the messaging in the Governor's race that could have implications for national politics going forward.  The Republican nominee is a former health insurance company executive.  Health insurance premiums are have been rising very quickly in Massachusetts.  A lot of the anti-Baker ads have been hitting him for raising people's health insurance premiums.

This is something we are going to see a lot more of in the coming decade.  Romneycare has tended to increase insurance premiums.  The Massachusetts Democratic Party's response is to demonize insurance companies for the consequences of government policy.  Obamacare is, in large measure, a much more poorly designed version of Romneycare and is going to cause the same kind of premium spike.

In the short-trerm it doesn't matter much.  The economy is lousy enough that Baker might win anyway.  Not many Republican nominees are going to be former health insurance company executives.  But the important point is the need for conservatives to control the narrative on the consequences of Obamacare and never let up.  To the average person, the consequences of Obamacare (which will unfold over years and years) will just seem like a bunch of stuff that happens with no obvious cause.  The liberal narrative will be that the health insurance premium increases are the fault of mean insurance companies and that only heroic liberal politicians can save them with new statist initiatives.  Massachusetts is a preview of how liberals will use the failures of statist health care policy to advance the cause of even more statist health care policy.  And they could win.  

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 3 Comments

Well, it didn't take all that long for these future consequences to unfold for me. The premiums for my wife and I, for a high-deductible policy have gone up by almost 30%.

About the only improvement added because of the new national mandates was to remove the cap on lifetime benefits (it used to be around $0.5 Million). Of course, I'm also paying for a lot of so-called features that we have no need of, like benefits for children under 26.

I was so extremely happy with this premium increase that I sent an e-mail to my congressional representative thanking him for what he had helped accomplished, and asking why he had stopped crowing about his role in passing the health care reform bill.

They have been winning. Pete, what you are talking about is nothing new. Health insurance have gone up because of government regulation as well as federal and state mandates for what must be covered and how. The way our government "manages" the economy and components of the economy routinely raise prices on everything from light bulbs to gasoline to public education, building products, refrigerators, the packaging of everything that has to be labeled, now -- any individual thing is nothing in itself, but the aggregate becomes expensive.

No question that Democrats are in the forefront of that kind of complaint, but Republicans will join the chorus if it looks like a politically popular thing to do. Part of the joy of watching the Tea Party movement is hearing the numbers of them who are small business owners and have suffered and struggled to succeed when one of their major bars to entry in the markets has been their own government. Their candidates tend to know better than most politicians that this is one of the major causes of discontent in the polity.

Yes, I know, someone is going to say, "Well, you don't want people manufacturing or selling just anything, do you?" Give me the FDA or give me death? If they were infallible, I might concur. Neither they nor any other regulatory agency is infallible -- but they sure are expensive.

DaveK, did your representative respond yet? I would love to know the rest of that story.

The response from my Democrat Congressional Representative?


Unfortunately, it looks like he'll be reelected unless the Republican and Independent turnout is really awesome.

As for the rest of the story?

I'm sure it's coming... I'm guessing that my high-deductible health insurance policy will become unavailable and I will have to step up to a much lower deductible, with probably a doubling of price. Unless our Congress comes to it's senses, along with a President who decides that he really wants to be reelected in 2012.

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