OBAMACARE’S VALLEY FORGE

1. It’s Tuesday, October 25, 2016. It’s 14 days until the election.

2. Sometimes, when your team isn’t in the World Series, you don’t really care who wins.

But sometimes the team that you’d be happiest seeing win the Series other than your favorite team has a shot at it.

That’s how I feel about the Chicago Cubs.

As a New York Mets fan and a former student in Chicagoland, there are sympathies for the Cubs.

For one thing, the Mets have put a big hurt on Cub fans twice in my lifetime. In addition to last year’s blowout in the National League Championship Series, there’s 1969.

What’s arguably the greatest year in Mets history – what we fans call “The Miracle” – is the nadir of Cubdom. A team that included four Hall of Famers got stomped by Tom Seaver and the upstarts from Flushing.

Thus, there’s no ill will on our part. We owe no payback, unlike the way we’ll feel about the Giants next season. And, in fact, we kind of want to make amends for having to take something away.

So go, Cubs, go! And beat Cleveland! If it weren’t for that stupid logo, we might feel a little something for those fans, too.

3. Aside from the presidential campaign, the big news today is the announcement that health insurance premiums available as a result of the Affordable Care Act will rise as much as 25% in 2017.

(As always, the reporting of my former CNNMoney colleague Tami Luhby is invaluable on this.) 

Now most of those who rely on Obamacare won’t pay nearly that much more thanks to the subsidies that reduce premiums to a maximum of 10% of income.

But the churn in these numbers can’t be a good thing for anyone – for those who need health care and have to go get the subsidies, for the federal government that has to come up with the money for the subsidies and especially for those who don’t qualify for the subsidies.

For years, people complained about rising health care costs and the difficulty of getting and keeping insurance to pay those costs.

The Affordable Care Act attempts to deal with those complaints. Naturally, not everybody was satisfied. And that goes either way – those who were afraid of government involvement in what has been a private industry and some who thought this program, with its reliance of the private sector, didn’t go far enough.

So now, in it’s third year, does Obamacare face an existential crisis?

The program’s advocates strongly believe that this year’s big premium increases are an aberration – that this is just the program working out the bugs. Once companies settle into a pattern of making money from Obamacare, they’ll be loathe to change it.

But the next President – and, please, let it be Hillary Clinton – should probably think about tweaking the program. If only because of the public perception that it’s doing little to stop insurance rates from rising.

Clinton has suggested making some changes, including the possibility of offering Medicare to people at a younger age – a proposal that makes a lot of sense to a 62-year-old who’s only complaint would be bitterness that it didn’t happen sooner.

Obamacare is a revolutionary idea. And sometimes, like the American Revolution, you have moments of weakness – a Valley Forge winter.

This might be that moment for this idea. The question is whether it can get through this tough patch. You won’t know that until you find out if the revolution is successful.

Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s