The Grand Case Against Obamacare

You’d think with the resources he commands as de facto leader of the conservative movement at the Heritage Foundation, rightwing warhorse Jim DeMint would be able to come up with a fresh and compelling argument for why he wants to shut down the federal government and maybe risk a global economic meltdown in order to stop the implementation of a health reform law based largely on a blueprint first devised by his own think tank. But DeMint’s latest ukase on the subject for the Fox News site is as tired as an uninsured diabetic in South Carolina working two shifts at minimum wage.

I won’t quote DeMint directly, but his five big reasons for killing Obamacare are the usual woofers: it may force people in the individual market to change insurance policies (for better ones, with premium subsidies available for those of modest means); it may cause some consumers to choose between the policies and providers they want (just like private insurance policies today); the Medicaid expansion is a fraud because Medicaid’s worse than no insurance at all (tell that to the many millions receiving Medicaid now); Obamacare will slash and maybe kill Medicare (the usual confusion of cost reductions and provider cuts with benefit cuts); and of course, the whole thing will blow up budget deficits (not what the nonpartisan CBO says at all).

But what’s most remarkable is that DeMint doesn’t even mention the tens of millions of people with preexisting conditions who will obtain health insurance they just cannot get right now, and also cannot get under any GOP alternative (though DeMint doesn’t bother to mention any) known to mankind, at least since the GOP abandoned Stuart Butler’s plan hatched at Heritage.

I don’t know why DeMint and his wordsmiths even bother with such “persuasion” efforts, particularly for Fox News readers. Anyone buying his premises has already bought the conclusion.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.