SYNDICATED COLUMN: May Sarah Palin’s Stupid Conspiracy Theory Come True

How Obama’s Stupidity Might Get Us Real Healthcare

When it comes to Obamacare, Democrats have every reason to accuse the House Republicans of bad faith. Still, yesterday’s Congressional grilling of the private contractors hired to build the healthcare.gov federal marketplace serves as a reminder that editorial writers’ endless calls for bipartisan cooperation should never be heeded. We need adversarial politics; for that, the more polarization the better. If not for those pissy Republicans, who would get to the bottom of the disastrous October 1st rollout of the Affordable Care Act? Not the secrecy-obsessed Obama, who makes Nixon look like a paragon of transparency. Not his make-any-lame excuse Democrats.

Tea Party types love conspiracies. Obama is a Kenyan socialist. (So where’s the socialism?) 9/11 was an inside job. (But not a good one.)  But sometimes conspiracies turn out to be true — even if they’re weren’t planned that way.

The latest dastardly plot circulating among Tea Partiers is that the Obamaites deliberately screwed up the ACA websites to pave the way for their true agenda: socializing healthcare. (I use the plural because most of the online state marketplaces, developed based on consultations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are just as buggy and crashy as the federal one.)

Sarah Palin articulates this — hey, there are four words you don’t usually see at the same time — in an October 20th blog post:

“Obamacare in its current corporatist form isn’t meant to last. It’s meant to push us towards full socialized medicine with a single-payer system.”

“The broken websites and botched Obamacare rollout help push things to that inevitable conclusion by causing frustration and confusion that only the government can ‘fix,'” writes Palin.

She continues with a logical fallacy: Obama is smart, smart people don’t make dumb mistakes, therefore any “mistakes” they make are intentional.

“In fact,” Palin argues, “these unusable Obamacare websites make a reasonable person wonder how this administration could have made such a colossal bungle of the rollout when they are, after all, the same savvy experts who had the most sophisticated and precise campaign websites ever built. They could pinpoint voters down to a city block, but they messed up a website that cost the government over $200 million more than it cost Apple to develop the first iPhone. Purposeful?”

The problem with this reasoning (which echoes 9/11 Truther theories that the Bush Administration couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to let hijacked planes fly around the U.S. for nearly two hours) is that Obama and his team aren’t really smart. They’re calm.

It’s not the same.

If Team Obama had been plotting Canadian-style socialized medicine all along, they wouldn’t have floated all those dumb “heckuva job, Barry”-style excuses that turned healthcare.gov into the president’s Katrina moment:

  • Too much volume. But corporate websites routinely handle more than the ACA sites. Besides, the feds knew that, in a nation with tens of millions of uninsured people, tens of millions of people were going to check out the website. The truth, as any idiot could plainly see, was that volume wasn’t the issue. Lousy coding was.
  • ACA is “more than a website” — and anyway, why don’t people use the phone? Actually, that’s not true. For most people, the ACA are the websites. That’s how Obamacare was promoted. People were told to go online. So they did. As for those who threw up their hands and tried calling — I was one of them — there was no way to buy a plan by phone.
  • Everyone knew there would be glitches. The problem with that Democratic talking point is that while Americans may suffer from short memories, they’re not totally retarded. We still recall September 2013. It’s not like anyone in the White House announced before the launch: “Hey, don’t freak if you can’t access the websites right away. Chillax, wait a month or two. We’re expecting a lot of glitches, and things could be less than cromulent for a while.”

No, Governor Palin, the truth behind the ACA mess is that Obama and his gang of golfing buddies are idiots.

OK, so there was evildoing. For example, as Forbes reported: “HHS bureaucrats knew [forcing the uninsured to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping] would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away… Obamacare wasn’t designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions…This political objective — masking the true underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans — far outweighed the operational objective of making the federal website work properly.”

There was corruption too. UnitedHealth Group, which as one of the nation’s biggest insurers stands to make billions from the ACA, was a key contractor for the federal website.

Mostly, though, there was idiocy. Secondarily, in execution. End-to-end testing began in late September. For an October 1st rollout. What could possibly go wrong?

That’s right: secondarily.

Primarily, Obama and the Democrats were idiots to think that the ACA’s bastard hybrid of public and private could function properly — certainly not on “a project of such immense complexity. The federal exchange must communicate with other contractors and with databases of numerous federal agencies and more than 170 insurance carriers.”

Look at what happened to the Postal Service: neither beast nor fowl, the uncomfortable marriage of for-profit business and Congressionally mandated payouts has pushed an otherwise viable organization to the brink of collapse.

ACA was created in response to skyrocketing healthcare costs — a problem directly attributable to the big insurance companies, which are raping patients and doctors with extortionist rates in order to accumulate obscene profits. The common sense solution? Cut out the insurers; put them out of business. Nationalize hospitals and private clinics. Turn doctors and nurses into federal employees. Obama built the ACA to increase the big insurers’ profits even more. Thus, for example, no federal price controls on the plans to be sold through the government websites. It comes as no surprise, but sad confirmation that we were right, that insurance company stocks have soared since the passage of the ACA.

Now, with a little luck, we’re looking at the possible realization of Sarah Palin’s nightmare scenario:

“With Obamacare we have crappier health care (fewer choices, fewer doctors, and an IPAB rationing panel of faceless bureaucrats, aka the ol’ ‘death panel’ that has been admitted to existing in Obamacare), but it is very expensive for the individual American…Americans, if you’re faced with a 300% increase (or even a 65% increase like my family) in your health care premiums for crappier coverage, doesn’t ‘free’ socialized medicine all of a sudden sound appealing? And that’s how Americans will be led down the primrose path to a single-payer system. People will be frustrated, worn out, and broke under this new government burden. Many will end up concluding they’ll settle for — then demand — full socialized medicine because they’ll see how the unworkable Obamacare will break our health care system (where, presently, no one is turned away from emergency rooms and we have many public and private safety nets for people in need), along with busting our personal bank accounts.”

I never thought I’d say this, but: From Sarah Palin’s lips to God’s ears.

(Ted Rall’s website is tedrall.com. Go there to join the Ted Rall Subscription Service and receive all of Ted’s cartoons and columns by email.)

COPYRIGHT 2013 TED RALL

10 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: May Sarah Palin’s Stupid Conspiracy Theory Come True

  1. When OJ was hauled into criminal court for murder, everyone had seen the car chase and knew he was guilty. Only one person could have gotten him off, his brilliant defense attorney Marcia Clark!

    The ACA has a lot of problems and looks like a windfall for the insurance companies. Fortunately, the Tea Party is working day and night to convince voters it’s working perfectly, and is providing all Americans with affordable care. And, like Ms Clark, they might be succeeding.

    For now, I tried and was told no plan in Texas will cover me. Mr Rall says the ACA will raise his cost of insurance by 67%. But Mr Rall’s claim is, I suppose for personal privacy reasons, not compelling: if he has insurance, and if the ACA plan costs 67% more for less coverage, why doesn’t he keep his current plan? He gave some details of what he found when he tried to log in to the New York exchange, but only now gives a final answer: 67% increase, but with no details.

    On the New York Times ‘request for anecdotes’ a few days ago, most said, ‘It’s great that the ACA now provides affordable care.’ My take is that those commentators never actually logged in, since they gave no details (someone on gocomics asked, ‘How did you reach that absurd conclusion?’). And the lack of details might be privacy related. Or it might be that they’d never logged in.

    The few details were, ‘The ACA cut my out-of-pocket costs by almost $1,000 a month!,’ but only 3 gave such details. Are they telling the truth? And how were they able to pay more than $1,000 a month before the ACA?

    On gocomics, an Obamabot said a friend of a friend who was a tertiary care physician said the ACA cut his cost of coverage by half. Since most tertiary care physicians have a total out-of-pocket cost of $0 before and after the ACA, I’m sure he was telling the truth, and he now pays exactly half what he paid before the ACA.

    So I have almost NO data on what the ACA really provides.

    The gocomics critics used to say that the ACA is costing the government $2 – $3 trillion a year. This is patently false.

    Now they say the web-site glitches mean everyone will have to pay $5,000 because they won’t be able to sign up before 15 December ’13. Also patently false.

    Hannity on Fox News had three people who said the ACA has increased their costs of healthcare. All were shown to be liars.

    For 90% of American voters, the ACA does not affect them. And the Tea Party is doing its best to convince them that the ACA is providing affordable healthcare to the 10% who ARE affected.

    • Well, I should probably be clear: the reason that I’m looking at an increase in my premiums from my previous plan is that I was forced to drop my previous plan because I could not afford it. Thanks for the miracle of the affordable care act, however, I will be able to afford a plan that costs significantly more. And offers significantly less in coverage.

  2. Ted Rall: 9/11 was not an inside job.

    Ted Rall: The Bush Admin received a memo on August 2001 that Bin Laden wants to “kick our ass six ways to Sunday”.

    • Yes, Susan, that is true. The Bush administration received that memo on August 6, 2001. However, if I send you an email saying that you should really be careful because something is going to happen but I can’t really tell you what it is or who is going to do it or when it is going to happen, what exactly are you supposed to do with that – totally useless – information?

  3. “The common sense solution? Cut out the insurers; put them out of business. Nationalize hospitals and private clinics. Turn doctors and nurses into federal employees.”

    Oh yeah, that makes a lot of “common sense”. Christ, in one sentence Rall tells us just how badly the government has botched the rollout of a fucking website, and in the next he tells us it’s “common sense” to nationalize the ENTIRE health care system. Read that beautiful and oh-so consistent logic again folks: The government just fucked up a website, but common sense dictates they take over the 3 trillion a year health care system.

    Yeah — what could possibly go wrong?

  4. Seriously — Ted you won’t be happy until there’s a government office in Everytown USA which reads “Free Money”.

    You want some “Free Money”, just step up to the office folks — we’ve seized all of Bloomberg’s assets, so we’re flush! Hey, if we start running low on handing out those greenbacks to every deadbeat meth-head and fat-ass, no problem — we’ll just seize the next guy’s assets, like Bill Gates. He shouldn’t be allowed all that money, so we’ll just take it as needed.

    Need a new car? Step up and get your Free Money!
    Low on rent because of meth? Step up and get your Free Money!
    Have a skill no one needs? Step up and get your Free Money!
    Want to be an artist? Step up and get your Free Money!

    Disgusting.

    • There is plenty of free money out there. It all goes to people like Bill Gates. All I’m suggesting is that the rest of us should get some too.

      • «All I’m suggesting is that the rest of us should get some too.» Parlously close to treason, Ted – money is the birthright of the 1 % ; the idea that it should be spread around pure socialism. It is only risks that are to be socialised, benefits and profits never….

        Henri

  5. Few Americans (Paul Krugman included) understand US health insurance. There ain’t any.

    After WWII, the US provided massive tax benefits to companies that provided identical health care benefits to all full-time employees. Companies hired an insurance adjuster for a fixed (low) fee. The company put into escrow the company contribution and employee premiums. The adjuster a) negotiated 75% (or more) discounts from healthcare providers; then b) made sure employees paid their contractual share of healthcare costs, and paid the rest from the escrow account. Most employees had an annual maximum that was affordable. But there was a lifetime cap (so high few ever reached it).

    Those forced to shop for insurance found the premiums were high and the coverage was non-existent.

    The ACA started by forcing insurance adjusters to accept children of covered employees (if they paid extra) between 18 and 26 years old, and eliminated the lifetime cap. Popular with everyone. Also, insurance companies sent cheques to almost everyone just before the ’12 election, saying ‘This was required by the ACA,’ (but was paid out of marketing funds).

    Now, the 10% who are uninsured must buy insurance. Insurance company stocks are up sharply.

    The 90% (who are unaffected and have not looked at healthcare.gov) are divided. The right-wing says it’s costing the government $3 trillion a year, plus individuals must pay $5,000 since healthcare.gov won’t accept their application. The Obamabots say that, finally, all Americans can get affordable healthcare for less than $100 a month out-of-pocket cost. I strongly suspect, both are lying through their teeth.

    And no one is giving an honest account of what the ACA is really doing.

  6. A bunch of topics. But let’s focus on the core point here: the government failed, and the failures have been going on for years now.

    First, Dubya failed to look up from his coloring book to take a PDB seriously. Granted, as you say, it’s hard to react to Jean Dixon-style “something bad will happen somewhere.” The big objection isn’t that Bush didn’t react, it’s that he was on a month-long vacation in Crawford clearing brush right before 9/11. And his bored disinterest ran rampant throughout his presidency: a trait that Obama is replicating to a T.

    Then, we had Dubya again failing. How? Hurricane wipes out New Orleans and people died because supplies couldn’t get in after the hurricane. Absolutely indefensible. Roads are gone? Then helicopter in supplies. Medevac choppers should have been touching down the next morning and moving the sick out and doctors and nurses in. Did not happen.

    Obama shows up and proceeds to start a presidency so mind-numbingly unimpressive that it’s sickening. His signature contribution, the healthcare plan, which took a mere five years. And again, it’s something that shoulda, coulda been done nearly flawlessly. For all the talk about complexity, no, this was not complex. There were a finite number of plans available, with a finite number of options in those plans. The system crashed because the people responsible weren’t interested. Why? Because they’re all wealthy, none of them needs health care, and even if they screw up, they know they won’t be fired. If Sibelius is “responsible,” then fine, fire her, bring her up on charges of murder (someone WILL die because of this system fiasco) and waste, and put her in prison. That will NOT happen.

    And it was the same with the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the NSA scandals, etc. Government no longer gets held to any genuine accounting. No one (except the taxpayers) ever “pays” for failing to perform.

    That’s the problem.