If Senate Democrats have distanced themselves from ObamaCare, David Axelrod is doubling down. He appeared on Morning Joe today and ended up tangling with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who as a doctor has a little more insight into health care and insurance than a White House adviser in this administration. When Coburn pointed out that millions of Americans will lose their existing insurance plans, Axelrod insisted that “most Americans” will keep their plans (via NRO):
“Most people are going to keep their own plan,” Axelrod said in a discussion with Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). “The majority of people in this country — the vast majority of people in this country — are keeping their plan.”
That depends on how one defines “most.” Most Americans get their insurance through employer group plans, and those are largely intact, although they’ll be more expensive now, thanks to the mandates insurers have to carry now. But for those who bought their own insurance — which is the apples-to-apples comparison — half or more will find their old plans cancelled. That estimate comes from a UCLA academic who supports the ACA, by the way. That means around 7 million or more Americans will have lost their old insurance plans, and will have to pay higher premiums and clear higher deductibles from now on.
Mediaite has more of the clash with Coburn, who clearly gets the better of the rather desperate Axelrod spin here. That’s easy for Coburn, whose own reform proposals would have had the government in a proper regulatory role rather than as central-planning czar over the health-care industry:
“Medicare is bankrupt,” Coburn said. “20% of everything that’s spent in Medicare is defrauded from the government. Over $80 billion a year is defrauded. How is that running for us? I’m not against Medicare but how about have it run in a way—private insurance fraud rate is less than 2%. We’re ten times greater because we don’t know how to do it, we don’t function effectively when the government does it.”
“What you’re seeing roll out with the Affordable Care Act is same incompetencies we see in large bureaucratic institutions,” Coburn continued. “It’s not that the ideas are bad in the Affordable Care Act. It’s we’re incompetent to roll it out and we’ve proven that today.”
Coburn also claimed that he and his Senate colleagues had proposed a viable alternative to Obamacare.
“Go read about Patient’s Choice Act,” Coburn said. “Senator Burr, myself and about 20 other Republican senators. Every aspect you’re seeing that’s positive in the Affordable Care Act was in that bill, except ours doesn’t cost $2.6 trillion. Ours isn’t run by the government. Ours is run by the private-sector, with transparency, and mandates that you have to be transparent.”
Can ObamaCare be rolled back? Investors Business Daily reminds us that it’s been done before:
In 1988, Congress passed a new Medicare benefit meant to cover catastrophic health costs and provide seniors drug coverage. Unlike ObamaCare, this new benefit program passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
But a year later, Congress voted just as overwhelmingly to repeal that program.
Like millions of families today, the elderly back then discovered that the new “benefit” came at a hefty price, and that it provided coverage many of them already had.
So senior groups mounted “a well-organized campaign that ultimately buried members of Congress under an avalanche of angry mail,” the New York Times reported at the time.
At one point, several seniors followed Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski — then one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington — back to his car and refused to let him leave. TV cameras caught one elderly woman pounding on the hood of his car.
If a relative handful of seniors could force Congress to overturn a new entitlement program, then surely millions of deceived and angry Americans can do the same to ObamaCare.
They just need to organize and inundate lawmakers with the message that they’re mad as hell about ObamaCare and they’re not going to take it anymore.
“Most” Democrats should be competent enough to hear that.