Poll on ACA

Like a lot of people, I was sorry to see the messed up inauguration of HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance website. Normally, heads would roll as a consequence of such a debacle in industry, but little along those lines has occurred. Instead, and sensibly enough, the decision was made to fix it ASAP.

Another disappointment to me was to read repeatedly in the press that the American people disapprove of the ACA. So it was interesting and a bit of a relief to read about a poll that looked into the reasons behind this disapproval, and found that a considerable number of those who disapprove do so because they think the ACA is not liberal enough. In fact, if you combine those who approve with those who think it is not liberal enough, it comes out to a hefty majority of 54% who favor universal health insurance.

In my opinion, as the number of people enrolled under ACA continues to mount, the movement on the right to repeal it will become untenable. When it gets to the point that millions of people would lose insurance because of the repeal of ACA, it will be game over.

Denialist Debunked

A particularly insidious phenomenon today is the one-issue website with a political agenda. Such is the International Climate Science Coalition.

This is the charge of Tom Harris, a mechanical engineer and global-warming skeptic. A letter from Mr. Harris (“Learn to adapt to climate change,” Nov. 20) quoted from a recent report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, two different organizations, to make the case that cyclones like the one that hit the Philippines recently are not occurring more or less frequently than in the past. The first of these panels is a mainstream scientific organization and the second is dedicated to blocking action on climate change.

The bottom line in Mr. Harris’ letter is his leap from the alleged weakness of the case for increased storm intensity to the conclusion that the only solution to climate change is for us to adapt to it. This non-sequitur is not surprising considering the bias behind it. We ought to adapt to all sorts of disasters, man-made or not, but that does not rule out that we should do something to mitigate the changes that we have caused. We should reduce the production of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel, which is responsible for the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide that has occurred since reliable measurements began more than a century ago.

A version of this appeared in the Nov 21 Issue of the Albany Times Union. I have corrected it to reflect Mr. Harris’ complaint that he was not the founder of the ICSC.

Contrite Obama? Give me a break.

I read the headlines today about Obama being contrite during his press conference today. I read it differently. He made a perfectly reasonable proposal. I am not sure whether anybody needs to sign off on this, but it seems to me reasonable that if a person wants to keep the junk insurance they had for yet another year, it will be permitted.

But the overwhelming impression I had from what the man actually said was that he would be willing to work with anybody to actually improve the administration of the law.

The goal to insure millions of Americans who are currently in danger of having all their savings and property sacrificed to medical bills seems to me so far outweighs other concerns about individual liberty (to live on the edge of disaster?) that it is almost ludicrous. The Republicans, who have sought not only to prevent this legislation, but to repeal it, or failing that, to sabotage its implementation, deserve a long sojourn in the private sector.

Refusal to Pay for a Common Good

Charles Krauthammer in his column (“Obamacare nothing but subterfuge,” Nov. 5) criticizes the president for claiming that everybody who wanted to keep existing health care policies could do so, and for being paternalistic in insisting that all policies cover certain basic procedures.

These are not novel conservative talking points, and it is also unsurprising that Mr. Krauthammer does not even mention the social goal of the Affordable Care Act, which is to extend access to health care to millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. He knows that it is impolitic to be against that so he keeps quiet about it.

Perhaps Mr. Krauthammer thinks the old model of fee-for-service medicine offers a solution. But if private enterprise could solve the problems of our health care system, it would have done so by now.

Our country is decades behind the rest of the civilized world in recognizing that health care is a right and not a privilege.

Mr. Krauthammer decries the fact that people are forced to pay for services they are unlikely to ever use, just so the costs are reasonable for those who are likely to use them.

This reflects the inherent egoism of the conservative position: The refusal to pay for a social good.

These are the same people who fought against Social Security and Medicare.

Theirs is a fundamentally flawed attitude, which does not bear close scrutiny, which is why Mr. Krauthammer and his conservative friends seek to conceal it.

Blog at WordPress.com.