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This whole "bailout" scheme was his idea, which should make some people a little more skeptical about it.
House Republicans can't figure out how to get 218 votes to say that the "insurance company bailout" is something they should ransom for the debt ceiling hostage. So that's history, but Politico says it's still a problem for Democrats. Because everything about Obamacare the GOP fucks up (see CBO report) is the Democrats' problem, apparently.

But just taking that argument at face value, here's what Politico says.

The latest Republican attack on Obamacare is powerful and simple: “no insurer bailouts.”

But never fear, Democrats are ready with a response: “Well, that’s not really what it is. The provision in question is actually called ‘risk corridors,’ which is a mechanism for compensating health insurers in case their actual costs are at least 3 percent higher than their projected costs. But it’s only temporary, until they get better data on who their customers are. And if their costs are lower than they expected, they actually pay the government. And besides … ”

You see the problem.

The last thing Democrats want to do, with a law as complicated and full of moving parts as the Affordable Care Act, is explain what the law actually does.

But it's really not that complicated. The simple answer for Democrats is that this bright idea from the Republicans would raise your insurance premiums. They could also argue that no taxpayer dollars are on the line because the money in the "bailout" fund actually comes from other insurance companies. They could also argue that the Republicans would actually raise the deficit with this repeal, since the CBO has found that this part of the law actually will reduce the deficit by $8 billion. But nobody cares about the deficit, so let's stick with the higher premiums part.

See, if there isn't this cushion built in for the next few years, some insurance companies will end up losing money by taking all comers and having to pay out a lot for the sickest of them. If other insurance companies don't pitch in to help make up those losses, the losing companies will turn to their customers to get that money. That means higher premiums. See? Easy.

And by the way, Republicans are still lost at sea when it comes to the debt ceiling, or really any other real policy issue (see, immigration). So there's that, too.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 12:26 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 12:26:17 PM PST

  •  I had a small twitter war back and forth today (7+ / 0-)

    with a dyed in the wool Tea Partyist about Obamacare.

    I finished him off by asking if he would allow insurance companies to fall back to denying pre- existing coverage.

    He replied "Yes" he would allow insurance companies to
    deny coverage for pre-existing coverage.

    I wrote back saying... Have a nice day, we are now done.

    •  The market will take care of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Intheknow

      that problem, doncha know. Any insurer that kicks people out for bad reasons would soon find out that nobody will pay them, right? Because free market! Collusion? Oligopoly? Never heard of 'em, so they must not exist . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:07:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No no no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        Actually, that will take care of the market--the labor market.

        You know how millions of jobs don't pay enough to live on?  Well, supply and demand, too many workers, so that's why their labor is worth so little.

        The obvious solution is to reduce supply.  So when they start dying off in greater numbers, the labor market will be back in balance!  See how that works?

    •  Guys like that never believe... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      ...they'll have a pre-existing condition.

      "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

      by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:20:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What else is new? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      La Gitane, sharman, Matt Z

      Teabaggers will say anything in an attempt to support their bullshit. The fact that they may not actually believe it themselves is beside the point.

      Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

      by Tx LIberal on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:40:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They totally don't believe it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        If it ever happens to them ("it" being whatever - job loss, natural disaster, sickness...) then they are the first ones in line clamoring for their check, oh! the indignation!...  phone calls to their reps....

        But they physically cannot admit that anything Obama does is even remotely okay, not to mention good.

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:02:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see this attack as having much traction. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, vivadissent

    I disagree with Politico. It's neither powerful or simple.  
    The word "insurer" simply makes most people's eyes glaze over.

    •  If I'm not mistaken (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan, rabel, KenBee, sharman

      …risk corridors have been around as long as health insurance in the US, including Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplements, and most all insurance/government projects.

      Frankly, the low-info discussion is embarrassing.


      “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ― Eric Schmidt

      by Pluto on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:30:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Frankly, low info (3+ / 0-)

        discussions work with the voters.

        Luntz is right - dems are total losers when it comes to messaging.  Repubs get the emotional connection while dems give these lengthy, boring dissertations about how wrong and illogical the repubs are.  

        Dems simply don't make an emotional connection with people.  And all the lengthy, logical dissertations in the world aren't going to help.

        The repubs are going to use what should be our message to win votes.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if they smack us good in the next cycle.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:46:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Evolution is HARD! (0+ / 0-)

          It requires conscious thought about complex ideas.

          It's so much easier to sell sugar-water beverages to morons.

          Sometimes a culture of imbeciles is just not able to go there.


          “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ― Eric Schmidt

          by Pluto on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:00:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sure you'll get (0+ / 0-)

            a lot of votes by calling the people imbeciles.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:07:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well that was harsh. (0+ / 0-)

              I refer to only 49 percent of voters.

              But we are losing them daily -- and the percent of those with intact brains is going up:

              Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher.

              The figure, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February, is based on the agency's own data and numbers reported by 21 states from 1999 through 2011. Those states represent about 40% of the U.S. population. The other states, including the two largest (California and Texas) and the fifth-largest (Illinois), did not make data available.

              Who wasn't counted?


              “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ― Eric Schmidt

              by Pluto on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:22:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You are not mistaken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto

        it is a risk management tool used for decades.  

    •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan

      Most folks won't know how it affects them personally -- the element that actually makes something powerful and simple to American voters.  

      •  Um, how about (0+ / 0-)

        this is the shortterm provision of the law that ensures premiums are reasonable?

        How about:  It's a permanent fixture of Medicare Part D--just possibly, this objection to the same thing, for a limited time, in Obamacare is a trumped-up outrage?  Dear Americans, does it piss you off even a little, to be lied to and manipulated so shamelessly?

        Or even:  Unlike the similar clause in Medicare Part D, under Obamacare, insurers are requird to pay the govt if their premiums are too high.  And current estimates are that the payment will be coming from, not to, the insurers.  

        The only reason our side's argument don't seem to catch on is that we don't have one-tenth of the megaphone the other side does

        •  What our pals in the corporate media (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sharman

          are letting us know is that, once again, 'our' side of the argument is -- while more truthful -- just too complicated to spend real air-time on.  Because it is longer, and less splashy, than a bumper sticker.  

          So they're just giving us fair warning -- you know, as a friend -- that they will be reporting "Obamacare critics accuse...," and they won't be answering those misleading accusations with facts, once again.  Because that's our problem.

  •  Clearly they'd support a robust public option, no? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, KenBee

    Then we could clarify that this is far from bailing out health insurance companies.

    There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -Thoreau

    by Frameshift on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:04:24 PM PST

  •  But of course (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sweatyb

    the Dems will go with your rejected tactic instead of any of your other suggested arguments. Because that's how these Dems roll.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:05:03 PM PST

  •  This is standard GOP propaganda (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel, KenBee, sharman

    Any charge will do, as long as it's loud, simple and false.

    Of course Tiger Beat on the Potomac (as Charlie Pierce calls them) will perceive yet another Republican whopper as a "problem for Democrats."  How unfair, that Democrats prefer a closer approximation to the truth for the most part in their rhetoric.  

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:05:05 PM PST

  •  We'll trade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman

    Swap ya the oil company bailouts for the insurance bailout.  Vote both yes, or both no.

    Easy Peazy.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:07:24 PM PST

  •  They could add that this proposal should be an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto

    embarrassment to Republicans, because it establishes without a doubt that they do not even understand how insurance works.

    I don't think insurance should be a component of healthcare, but it is, and since it is, it must be allowed to function as insurance.

    You'd think self-described champions of capitalism would understand that.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:17:01 PM PST

    •  The repubs don't need (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sharman

      to understand anything other than attacking dem programs and getting a good, effective message out.  Kind of like they have done for years.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:48:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats' response: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EighteenCharacters, Pluto

    "Well, insurance exchanges were a Republican idea, so we've had to do a lot of tweaking to get things to work right.  They can't complain about things they didn't think through very well."

    "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

    by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:19:09 PM PST

  •  Because Insurance execs are nearly Homeless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EighteenCharacters

    meaning they are down to just their primary residence, 2 vacation homes and a timeshare

  •  Time for another gubmit shutdown (0+ / 0-)

    The tea bagger GOP got so much traction the last time, right?

    Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

    by Tx LIberal on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:34:04 PM PST

  •  Another wonderful example of how the GOP is able (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel

    to manipulate the media by proposing outlandish legislation that can translate into simple sound bites. Instead of the MSM pointing out the lameness of the proposal, they look past the folly and simply say "well if the Dems are explaining, there losing".

  •  All we ever do is play defense. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel, dfarrah, Bisbonian

    I'm sick and tired of it.  It's a losing strategy.

    Hard to have a government when one-third of your representatives are insane and the other two-thirds have been sold to the highest bidder.

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:35:44 PM PST

  •  Actually it's EXACTLY what they ought to do: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel
    The last thing Democrats want to do, with a law as complicated and full of moving parts as the Affordable Care Act, is explain what the law actually does.
    Exactly backwards: the more people understand this law, the more they will see all the ways its designed to protect and help.

    The big mistake in Massachusetts is they just said, "It's the law, obey it," and thought it was self-evident that it was a good thing. People had to figure it out themselves.

    Democrats should bend over backwards at every opportunity to explain how the mechanics of the ACA protect people. The more people understand it, the more they will love it. Oversimplification is playing the opponent's game on this one.

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:35:57 PM PST

    •  Pfffft. We've already done that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian

      and it isn't working apparently.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:49:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, we have to keep at it. (0+ / 0-)

        Explaining, explaining and explaining some more.  To this day there are people that get their "news" from that Faux Entertainment Enterprise and think they are being informed.

        This health insurance reform is a monumental achievement of not only President Obama but a real positive for this nation.  We are finally stepping into the 21st Century and will join the other Western Industrialized countries with a better vehicle to insure our citizens.

        It is an unprecedented reform, never before done and it would have been totally shocking if it went smoothly.  It will take at least a decade for all the moving parts to level off.  

        In the meantime, these Republican fools play the game of saboteur.  It is rather hilarious to hear their bluster.  It will all come back to haunt them.

    •  It worked okay in Massacusetts (0+ / 0-)

      Romneycare was an improvement.  Far from perfect, but it filled a gap.  The exchange essentially created a good high-risk pool, replacing the awful underwritten individual market.  The small business / small group market continue to operate pretty well, with a few good local HMOs, and the large group market was never the biggest problem.  So we ended up with a very high insured rate.

      Of course there was no partisan bickering trying to knock it down.  It had Mitt's name on it but it was a Democratic legislature (>2/3 Democratic veto-proof margins) that passed it, so it was really a bipartisan compromise.

  •  So this hatred of explanations... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel

    It kind of dovetails with the whole vilifying of teachers thing.  

  •  If by "Magic" you mean they'll use it to shoot (0+ / 0-)

    themselves in both feet then yes it's a "Magic" bullet

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:41:30 PM PST

  •  And they were "for" it before they were "agin" it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee

    NPRs All Things Considered did a nice piece on the concept tonight.
    http://www.npr.org/...

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:44:39 PM PST

  •  GOP: Good at bumper stickers, bad at government (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats need to say, "If you want the easy answer, go with them.  If you want the right answer, come with us."

    Don't no one disturb the peace for riot. Don't no one disrupt nirvana. Don't no one wanna blow the high.

    by Rich N Mdriems on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:45:24 PM PST

  •  Politico? (0+ / 0-)

    Politico is a bottom-feeding trough for pond scum eating troglodytes.

    They have the credibility of null space.

  •  This is good: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman
    They could also argue that no taxpayer dollars are on the line because the money in the "bailout" fund actually comes from other insurance companies.
    It's not a bailout - it's a fund that the ins co's pay into themselves.

    It's "insurance".  For them.  What a concept.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:59:17 PM PST

    •  What's especially great about that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      La Gitane

      argument is that, with this GOP line, the bad guys are the insurance companies.  Sooooooooo, in fact it's bad guys paying each other.  The punishment fits the crime!

      (Amazing how obediently their Base will line up to villilfy anyone they are told to villify.  So now, it's big insurance companies who are villains.  Why do they hate capitalism and success?)

  •  whose idea was the Farm Bill insurance premium (0+ / 0-)

    supported by taxpayers?

    whoever did that has some splianin to do...

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:10:51 PM PST

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