In case you were wondering: Paul Ryan on health insurance

Paul Ryan fesses up: there’s no way the Republicans can preserve the popular parts of Obamacare.

Paul Ryan admits that the popular parts of Obamacare – guaranteed insurance even for those with pre-existing conditions, allowing people up to 26 coverage under their parents’ insurance, a ban on higher premiums for those working physical-labor jobs – wouldn’t be affordable without the rest of it, including the individual mandate. Ryan’s occasional lapses into honesty aren’t really enough to justify his reputation as a Serious Person; he’s mostly a standard-issue downward class warrior and a master of the Magic Asterisk. But that’s no reason not to be thankful when he does tell the truth. “Repeal and Replace” means, in simple English, “Screw you!”

This is why the politics of Obamacare are likely to turn around over the next few months and years. We’re switching from a situation where status quo bias is on the side of the naysayers to a situation where Ryan and the rest of the wrecking crew have to explain to millions of people why what they have needs to be taken away from them in order to support loopholes for corporations and keep taxes low the top tenth of one percent. That’s the logic behind the orgy of rage and fear to which the right wing has treated us over the past five years. My prediction is that health care will be at worst a wash for the Democrats this fall, and that Hillary Clinton will use it to slaughter whatever sacrificial goat the Republicans put on the altar in 2016.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “In case you were wondering: Paul Ryan on health insurance”

  1. I do not believe that Ryan and the rest of the wrecking crew want to take people's health insurance from them in order to support loopholes for corporations and keep taxes low the top tenth of one percent. They would do it for its own sake, even if taxes on corporations and on the top tenth of the one percent were totally repealed. It is social Darwinism: People without health insurance do not deserve to live, at least not with the assistance of the government.

  2. Speaking of the orgy of rage and fear, I wonder whether the obloquy to which President Obama has been subjected exceeds that which was directed at President Clinton during his two terms. I have long said that one of the reasons that Bill Clinton survived impeachment is that his most prominent critics were loathsome — think Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay — or came to be perceived as loathsome, as in Kenneth Starr. (The quintessential comment about Judge Starr came from Bill Maher: "What would Ken Starr think if an army of prosecutors looked into the time that he had sex?"

    I don't think Hillary Clinton has been subjected to the full force of the Republicans' ability to gin up faux rage — at least not during recent years. I suspect, though, that she will be. We don't know yet who the 2016 Republican nominee will be, but I doubt that he will be a mere sacrificial goat. (And it is certain to be a he.) As another Clinton famously observed, Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.

    The Democrats who have in the past, two and a half years prior to the general election, held the kind of advantage over the rest of the field that Senator Clinton now holds have not fared so well. Recall Walter Mondale, Gary Hart (circa 1986, before Donna Rice and monkey business), Albert Gore, Jr. (being from Middle Tennessee, I still recall when he identified himself as such), and the 2006 version of Hillary Clinton. Only Gore ran a competitive general election campaign.

    1. "Only Gore ran a competitive general election campaing."

      Oh, c'mon. Whatever you think of him now, Gore won the popular vote nationally (by more than half a million votes), and if the Supreme Court had not been willing to issue a ruling that was not only without precedent but also was explicitly stated to be unusable as a precedent in the future, he would likely have won FL, and thus the election.

      I think one should argue that he actually ran a marginally incompetent campaign, since he turned down help from Clinton and other DC insiders (like Strauss) which might well have gained him an additional state elsewhere.

  3. I'm holding with a prediction I made last fall that there will be conservatives who listened to the Kochs and didn't sign up for insurance and now post April 1 will have terrible health things happen to them – some of them will turn on their leaders and make some great testimonial ads against those leaders.

  4. "My prediction is that health care will be at worst a wash for the Democrats this fall …" Does this count as a prediction? Democratic candidates will do well or badly this autumn, and you or Nate Silver can make verifiable predictions about that. The causes of this result will be in dispute long afterwards. Exit polls and polls of non-voters will give a blurred indication of the strength of various factors, including ACA, among different groups.. But it will be a mixed message, unless the result is a very unlikely tsunami.
    FWIW, I join Mark's opinion, especially as it's epistemologically quite safe.

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