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Rand, Kaiser, and the WSJ Editorial Page Admit Obamacare is Here to Stay

......not willingly, but hey, be generous

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, April 09, 2014.

It was once possible for industry and military to appreciate and yearn for objectivity and accuracy in data and fact accumulation. In the 1950's, Air Force General Hap Arnold along with the founder of Douglas Aircraft, a major supplier of military aircraft, founded the RAND Corporation, a non-profit think tank. Opinions vary about RAND, but it is not clearly a liberal or conservative group, although we might think its leanings would be approved by military types and conservatives. I've always thought of it as leaning right, if able to keep its balance.

The Rand Corp. released a study this week on Obamacare. I've only read about it, as I'm not given or about to read a huge academic horror these days, but apparently it touched upon some of the benefits of Obamacare or other mass health insurance coverage that were ignored early and now in the debate. Among other things, Obamacare may well lower auto insurance rates.

It would also affect workers' compensation claims and medical malpractice suits. Rand thinks it will lower liability costs for auto insurance and worker's comp, but may push an increase in medical malpractice. The reason for the projected decrease is that, and I'm quoting from Talking Points Memo, we "...sometimes use non-health insurance to cover health problems that aren't related to any specific accident, for example. If they are covered through conventional health insurance, they might be less likely to do so."

Regarding medical malpractice liability costs, it's suspected that insured people might have more opportunity to file such suits, increasing rates to doctors.

Rand does say "there is considerable uncertainty in our estimates, which are intended as broad indicators of sign and magnitude rather than as specific predictions." Still.

The figures projected are meaningful but not huge. What is impressive is that the study was both made and announced only seven months from the by-year election. It is institutional admission of Obamacare's acceptance and permanence and that it's going to benefit us all in ways not previously considered and at the needed depth.

There's an easy example for all this, that I've overused, but just as nuclear weapons were once part of the department of energy and not included in military budgets, there are huge expenses to people not being medically insured that don't show up under medical expense on city, county, and federal budgets, but they are real expenses likely to be greatly reduced.

There have been many stories about how severe medical emergencies have bankrupted families and destroyed them. More prevalent are uninsured people indebted for life because of early onset cancers or other diseases for which expensive medicine and attention by doctors is needed. I used to think that, while true, these stories were often fictional glurge and vastly exaggerated in number. Not anymore.

People will steal, lie, and do anything to acquire the means to save a family member's life or support their children or keep a home whose reclamation, because they could not pay for six figures of annual medical or hospital care and the mortgage, means they are evicted and the children are taken away. At the other end, people in high value but underpaid jobs - yes, think women in business or government or anywhere - may have to adjust schedule and work to care for family members at home, thus stalling career advancement to the realms where they got health insurance for themselves and their children. Of course, back then their kids would never get insurance for existing conditions anyway. So, all the time and money into the parent's education and work expertise comes to nothing, is wasted, because of medical expense.

Both Rand and the Kaiser Foundation came up with startling new figures this week. Lots of coverage has been given the 7.5 to 9.2 million who signed up for Obamacare in individual coverage, but the two think tanks believe another 7.2 million are now newly covered in employer plans. If true - and it might, they say, vary by several million in either direction - it means 15 million are now insured who were not previously. This is way above what the GOP feared and Obama longed for.

Even America's commie paper, the Wall St. Journal editorial page, has pivoted and condemned Republicans who still want to repeal it. It's just an admission that the plan works, is helping people, and they know who to thank. The GOP thought they were clever in calling it Obamacare. They'll regret it this coming election.