I’m disappointed with how some progressives are attacking Louisiana Senate candidate Bill Cassidy’s recent remarks on health care. They latched on to the fact Cassidy, a Republican, describes some uninsured as “less sophisticated” and “illiterate” so he can score political points. Instead, progressives should kill him with praise by pointing out he has unknowingly adopted the argument of single payer activists.
If you actually listen to Cassidy talking about the source of the problem without trying to pull out buzzwords, he is basically right. Insurance policies are incredibly complex and trying to encourage people to actively sign up will never be 100 percent effective. After all, only 42 percent of people expected to use the ACA exchanges can correctly describe what a deductible is.
Ironically Cassidy perfectly explains why automatically giving everyone insurance tied to their Social Security number is so superior to Obamacare. From Cassidy (via the Buzzfeed):
Insurance people they will tell you that they will go to a company and an employer will pay for everything, and there are some people who will not sign up. Turns out, those are my patients. They’re illiterate. I’m not saying that to be mean. I say that in compassion. They cannot read. The idea they’re going to go on the internet and work through a 16-page document to put in their data and sign up does not reflect on understanding of who is having the hardest time in our economy. So instead of saying “listen you got to log on,” you just make it an opt-out. Everyone is in unless they say they don’t want to be, much like we do with Medicare. So if somebody never signs up. He gets into a car wreck with his wife. They go to the emergency room. They have catastrophic coverage that the hospital can figure out just by plugging in their Social Security number, that they indeed have. They would have coverage they don’t even know that they have. That I think actually reflects the reality of who the uninsured are.
The issue with Cassidy on health care is that alternative solutions would be wasteful and leave many unable to actually afford health care.
That said, I’m deeply enjoying the fact Republicans seem to have become so desperate to find real flaws with Obamacare they are now highlighting the only legitimate criticisms which are all from the left. (At least that means someone is.) If Republicans want to make the case that Obamacare is bad because it is not progressive enough, I’m not going to stop them.
I hope some Democrats ask Cassidy to co-sponsor a bill to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much like Medicare.