Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lies From Rob Portman

I promise I won't try to deconstruct every political ad in this campaign season -- it's impossible and I'd drive myself nuts (or further nuts, if you prefer) -- but here's one that really chaps my ass.  It's from OneNationAmerica.org, Karl Rove's dark-money 501(c)(4) working in support of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.  They've run several sleazy ads -- "Dr. Bane" comes to mind -- without letting Robbie appear or speak, but in this new one they make an exception and Robbie sounds like the nerdy, uninspiring, rich idiot that he is:  

Machine shop owner "Claudia" claims that, because of Obamacare, health insurance is now her company's "single biggest expense."  (Bigger than payroll itself, Claudia?  No friggin' way!  Bullshit,  Claudia!)  She claims the company couldn't afford the plan they had, and had to increase deductibles.  Then Robbie chimes in with his dull nasal monotone to assert that "Obamacare is costing us jobs, no question," and, pathetically, he still wants to "repeal it and replace it with something with lower costs and more choice."  Whatever, Rob.  Good luck with that.

This ad is 30 seconds of confusing FUD nonsense aimed at people who know nothing about Obamacare or health insurance in general.  (And that's way too many people.)

Owner Claudia said nothing about layoffs.  Obamacare didn't cause any job loss at her company, and there's zero evidence it caused job losses anywhere.

It's obvious that, pre-Obamacare, her company offered its employees the sort of cheap, substandard, shitty coverage no longer permitted under the ACA.  The insurer must now offer real coverage, including pre-existing condition coverage and no annual limits, and her premiums probably are higher due to improved coverage.

Higher deductibles are Claudia's choice, and have nothing to do with Obamacare.

Obamacare has nothing to do with premium costs.  State insurance departments are responsible for admitting carriers and approving insurance plans, rates and premiums.  If Claudia doesn't like her cost, she should bitch to Ohio's Republican-run Department of Insurance.

Claudia is a cost-conscious business owner.  Now that she's required to provide genuine health insurance to her workers, she has undoubtedly picked the cheapest option available.  If that most affordable option should happen to be a group plan from the healthcare.gov exchange (i.e. Obamacare), or if her employees opt out of her company plan in favor of better deals on the exchange, then Claudia really should shut the fuck up.

I note with some pleasure that Hillary Clinton has embraced the idea of a public option for health insurance coverage -- essentially a government-run insurance company competing with the private carriers in the marketplace and on the exchange.  The public option be a heavy lift in a polarized Congress, but it's a fine idea whose time will come, sooner or later.  Probably sooner.

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