Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Buzz Kill

Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times: Reports of Obamacare “failure” are highly exaggerated.

Attacks on the Affordable Care Act have stepped up over the last week or so. You’d think that the healthcare reform known as Obamacare is leading to the wholesale loss of affordable insurance by huge sectors of the American public, many of whom will be impoverished by being forced into low-quality health plans at exorbitant prices.

You’d think the entire reform is on “life support,” as the usually judicious National Journal put it today, speculating that Democrats may soon start calling for its repeal.

Don’t buy the hype. The numbers tell an entirely different story. What they also demonstrate is that the myth of Obamacare’s “failure” is a product of the same Republican noise machine that has been working to undermine this crucial reform since Day One. It’s assisted by news reporting about canceled health policies that typically ranges from woefully misinformed to spectacularly ignorant, and even at its best is incomplete.

Indeed, the spectacle of Democrats panicking over bad news on Obamacare resembles the herds of giraffes one sees on the Serengeti being stampeded by swarms of tsetse flies. Here’s a lesson the giraffes could teach the Dems: Stampeding leads only to injuries and death, and doesn’t solve the tsetse fly problem.

The myth has also been advanced by the lizard-brain part of our human nature which is to immediately and without thought believe the worst.  It’s much more interesting to watch a train wreck than a success.  And even though we’d all like to think that we’re better than that — that we hope for the best — in truth we’re more inclined to believe the bad news than the good.

The usual suspects in the media are counting on it.  That’s what sells newspapers and TV ads.