Not So Bad

I know Sean (“Death Spiral”) Hannity won’t see it this way, but the demographics of Obamacare so far aren’t that bad.  They had hoped about 40% of those signing up would be 18-34.  So far, it looks more like 24%, so the insurance pool is older and sicker than they’d like.

But, there’s three more months of open enrollment, and it was always expected that the old and sick would sign up first, since they need coverage more desperately, and the young and healthy would be stragglers.  That’s how it played out in Massachusetts when Romneycare first took effect.

Also, the Kaiser Family Foundation says that even with this pool, the insurance market should be stable, with premiums rising maybe a percent or two.  If the risk pool improves as expected, that will help keep premiums down.

Looking a lot better for the Prez (and Dems running in 2014) than it did three months ago.

Mitt’s Pass from the Base

I guess that because Mitt had failed to move to the center as expected, we thought it was never going to happen, and it was such a shock when it finally did at the first debate.  Typically, it happens slowly and gingerly, an issue at a time, so it’s jolting to hear it come in one uninterrupted, 90-minute whoosh.

We expected the pivot after he clinched the nomination, we expected it after his convention.  Each time he tried, as in saying positive things about Romneycare, the base came down hard on him and he had to scurry back.  Because they don’t trust him, it seemed as if he would spend the entire campaign playing to them, as if the primaries were still going on, and never make that general election pivot to the middle.

The pre-debate polls are why we’re not hearing a peep out of the base now.  They finally got it that if they didn’t cut Mitt some slack, he would lose.  So he got his pass from the crazies to unveil his Moderate Mitt routine at the debate, really the last possible moment, and lie his ass off.    The base saw the Ryan pick come and go, they saw the convention come and go, and all that was left were the debates.

But everyone needs to remember that it’s just a pass between now and November 6.  He can sound as reasonable and moderate as he wants for the next month, but he’ll have to govern hard right.

Whatever Mitt’s own preferences, he’ll govern out of pure fear — fear of a primary challenge from his right in 2016.  The post-2010, Tea Party GOP owns him.



72 Million Without Health Insurance?

The Commonwealth Fund predicts that under Mitt’s health insurance plan, 72 million Americans would be uninsured by 2022, primarily because of Mitt’s plans for Medicaid.

Under Obamacare, by contrast, they predict 27 million uninsured, compared to 60 million if Obamacare had not been enacted.

Their projections are based on calculations by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who worked with Mitt on Romneycare and with the President on Obamacare.

Mittens Goes Full Circle

Mitt isn’t flip-flopping on health care, he’s actually gone in a complete circle, back to where he began when he first considered Romneycare.  His rationale for Romneycare was that uninsured people were able to go to the emergency room and that the rest of us ended up paying for that.  He supported the individual mandate as imposing “personal responsibility”.

But now that he hates the mandate because it is part of  Obamacare, Mitt thinks the solution is to return to the days of the uninsured going to the emergency room for free.  He told  60 Minutes, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance.  If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

So what seemed like the problem when he was governor of MA now seems like the solution when he’s the GOP nominee.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who worked on both Romneycare and Obamacare, told Talking Points Memo,* “The guy has come completely full circle.  The whole idea of Romneycare was to avoid this kind of free riding.”

* “Romney Solidifies Major Shift on Health Care,” Sahil Kapur

That Gender Gap

A new CNN poll finds that President Obama leads Mitt on who is “more in touch with women voters” by 60 to 30% among likely voters.

Meanwhile, Mittens is suddenly fond of Romneycare again, trying to use it as a way to reach out to women and show that he is concerned about their health.  Good luck with that.  Watching Mitt is more like watching a tennis match than a campaign, with Mitt on both sides of the net.

The Silent Treatment

Mitt is responding to conservatives’ outcry over his spokesperson Andrea Saul’s touting of Romneycare with total silence.  No explanation whether it was a mistake or was purposeful.  I guess it’s hard to say whether or not Saul was off-message when the Romney campaign really doesn’t seem to have a message these days, other than he’s white and he’s not Obama.

Rush Limbaugh called Saul’s comments a “potential gold mine” for Obama.

Ann Coulter on Hannity said that no one should donate money to Mitt until Saul is fired.  It was fun watching Sean trying to hush her — she who will not be hushed.

It’s never good when your campaign is at a complete loss for words, cowed into silence by your own side.

Mitt’s Back to Loving Romneycare

And, by extension, Obamacare!

In response to the Priorities USA ad about the steelworker Bain fired who lost his health insurance and his wife died of cancer, the Romney campaign is arguing that everything would have been fine for them if they’d just lived in Massachusetts and had Romneycare.

The Base is freaking out big-time.

This isn’t just another clean-up on Aisle Mitt, this is a big toxic chemical spill.

Mitt Agrees with Obama

The Romney campaign says the Obamacare mandate is a penalty, not a tax.

So how can they run against Obama by screaming about the enormous tax increase on the middle class, which is the new overarching GOP strategy and theme?

Mitt is now aligned with the Prez and off-message with Fox News and his own party.

Roberts has painted Mittens into a corner by choosing the tax argument.

The GOP has painted itself into a corner by choosing  Mittens.

McConnell Leaves Mitt Twisting in the Wind

Senate Minority Leader Mitch (“Turtle”) McConnell emerged from his shell to appear on Fox News Sunday.  Chris Wallace asked him if the mandate in Obamacare is a tax ,why isn’t the mandate in Romneycare also a tax?

McConnell said, “I think Gov. Romney will have to speak for himself on what was done in Massachusetts.”

I would have said that it’s a Zen koan.

Quote of the Day

“The politics and economics of health care are plain wacky.  From the moment, in early 2009, when Obama backed away from the public option and embraced Romneycare, things have been turned upside down with liberals supporting a costly and hideously complicated giveaway to the health-care industry, and conservatives depicting a reform that originated at the Heritage Foundation as a socialist takeover.  People on both sides are spouting claims that five years ago they would have dismissed as arrant nonsense.”

John Cassidy, “John Roberts and Mitt Romney:  Two Peas in a Pod,” The New Yorker