Bachmann: Obamacare rollout problems are ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ to smash liberalism

Roll call had a reporter at the latest Michele Bachmann display of ecstasy over the Obamacare rollout problems.

Here’s the top:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R- Minn., is absolutely delighted by the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov and President Barack Obama’s recent mea culpas.

Bachmann told reporters Tuesday that the rollout presented conservatives with the “opportunity of a lifetime” because “liberalism is crumbling in front of our eyes.”

The Minnesota Republican explained that as Americans are confronted with Obamacare’s failings, they’re going to naturally look to conservative, free market solutions.

And here’s a link to the full piece.

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Comments (37)

  1. Submitted by Marco Lanz on 11/20/2013 - 11:22 am.

    Michelle Bachmann

    While the missteps of the ACA rollout has been a boon for Republicans (politically), Rep. Bachmann’s hopes are oozing with unrealistic expectations.

    For the Republicans to capitalize on the administrations very real failures they’ll have to offer an alternative other than a gleeful ‘I told you so’.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/20/2013 - 12:53 pm.

    The Left has gotten their way

    in this country, by generally excluding key constituencies from the harm caused by their policies.

    When 47% of the people don’t pay income taxes, go ahead and raise them some more. Your voters won’t mind. Raise the minimum wage? The young and the clueless wing of your party can only benefit. Cut national defense? Most of your constituents have no intention of ever serving in uniform.

    But when the government forced the young and invulnerable to buy health insurance, something they’ve typically never done, to use that money specifically to subsidize the older and sicker amongst us, you introduced them to the other side of the socialism ledger, something they’ve thus far managed to avoid. And they don’t like it.

    Throw in the website debacle, NSA scandal, TSA indignities, internet sales taxes, a natural inclination towards libertarianism, and young people are starting to reconsider the whole big government, collectivist model.

    And “Obamacare” will forever live as the quintessential example of government power and ineptitude.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/20/2013 - 02:22 pm.

      You and Romney

      This old canard has been debunked in detail in many places.
      To summarize, almost all Americans pay -some- taxes.
      Most of the people who do not pay federal income taxes are working poor (whose income is below the threshold for owning taxes), the elderly who are living mainly on Social Security, the disabled, and students.

      Which of these groups would you make subject to Federal taxation, even if their income is minimal?

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/20/2013 - 07:40 pm.

        Who should pay federal Income taxes?

        Everyone who earn an income. If taxes are raised or lowered, they should be raise or lowered for everyone equally. That is fair and balanced.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/21/2013 - 06:47 am.

        Obamacare is the only major social welfare legislation ever passed with support from only one party. Until the Democrats find a way to change it that brings in some Republicans, it will remain a target for the Republicans. What did the Democrats expect? Do you think Social Security or Medicare would have lasted this long with only one party’s support? Obamacare lives on borrowed time until it can be modified to receive bipartisan support. Eventually the Republicans will have the power to reverse it or modify it, by, for instance, cutting the personal mandate, reducing the subsidies, or by charging old people and young people what they actually cost, rather than taxing the young to support the old.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2013 - 12:26 pm.

          “Bring in some Republicans”

          Are you serious? Do you think that such a feat would be possible in this day and age?

          Republicans have drawn a line in the sand. They have, for a variety of reasons, NO interest in working with the Democrats on anything. Obamacare will “remain a target for the Republicans” for no other reason than that it was proposed by President Obama. Bipartisan support for anything is a fantasy.

          Your examples of modifications are equally unworkable. How popular is charging the “actual cost” of the insurance going to be? It also bears repeating yet again that the popular parts of the law–no lifetime maximum, no refusal to insure due to preexisting conditions–don’t work without the individual mandate.

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/22/2013 - 01:51 pm.

          ACA

          Last I checked, Obamacare *is* the free market Republican solution to the health care crisis. They should have been all over it from the word go, but instead decided to fight it all the way once Obama suggested it. This program was championed for twenty years by conservatives as an alternative to a government run program and now that they got their way they suddenly hate it.

          The changes you suggested are completely untenable.

          -Cutting the personal mandate means people will only sign up when they’re sick, leaving the most expensive people in the insurance pool.

          -Reducing subsidies means the people who need the insurance the most–the poor–will be unable to afford it.

          -Charging young and old people actual costs flies in the face of the very nature of insurance: we’re all in this together. If you keep subdividing health care into ever smaller pools you’ll just make the high risk portions of the pool, such as the elderly, hideously expensive. And most of the elderly are living on fixed incomes, making it very hard for them to afford higher premiums.

          You really need to look into the issues so you can bring some logic to the table. Your suggestions above don’t make any sense at all.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/20/2013 - 02:24 pm.

      There are some good income graphs at

      http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/the_truth_about_taxes_just_about_everyone_pays_them/

    • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 11/23/2013 - 01:15 pm.

      The “young and invulnerable”???

      Yeah, guess I’ve never heard of a young person breaking a limb, or being in a car accident, or encountering a life-threatening illness, or even needing a cut stitched up. No young person ever slipped on an icy step or had an accident with a power tool. Nope, none, ever.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/20/2013 - 03:58 pm.

    Mrs. Bachmann

    …expresses a hope and a wish, perhaps shared by Mr. Tester. Unfortunately for both — and as has so often been the case — it’s simply not true. By “not true,” I intend to convey that it is false.

    Since “Obamacare,” or more accurately,0 the Affordable Care Act, is based on “Romneycare,” or the universal health care program for the citizens of Massachusetts, which works rather well if one asks the citizens of that state, the ACA’s stumbling entry has more to do with the private sector than “government power and ineptitude.” Those two terms are, as used by Mr. Tester, mutually exclusive, so we should briefly look at the intellectual incoherence of the comment — and Mrs. Bachmann’s equally incoherent allegation.

    Were the government as powerful as Mr. Tester would have us believe, there’d have been no stumbling entry of the ACA into health care. It would have been seamless and relentless. Powerful entities would see to it that no mistakes are made. If, instead, we focus on ineptitude, and there certainly has been some, it’s useful to remember that the ACA website wasn’t built, the code wasn’t written, by federal bureaucrats. This was all contracted out to the private sector, which proved itself, in this case, to be inept.

    So: government not all-powerful; private sector inept in this instance.

    As for the sad case of the increasingly irrelevant Mrs. Bachmann, please note that this “servant of the people” is not concerned about her constituents’ ability to get health care coverage previously unavailable to them. Her concern is purely ideological. Her grandiose assertion that “…liberalism is crumbling in front of our eyes” is patently ludicrous and, as I said, represents a wish and hope on her part, not a fact. Fortunately, it won’t be long before Mrs. Bachmann’s wishes and hopes will be confined to the private sector, where her lack of knowledge and tone deafness will be inflicted only upon sycophants and close associates, not the general public.

  4. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/21/2013 - 06:39 am.

    Obamacare is in trouble because it tried to make a big social change while hiding who would pay for that change. The honest truth has always been that the rich, young, and healthy, and those on existing plans, will have to pay more for less, so that the poor, old, and sick can receive more. Had that been made clear, the present policy cancellations would be expected. Instead, Obama made every effort to claim that Obamacare would give us something for nothing. People hate being lied to, even for a good cause.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/21/2013 - 05:09 pm.

      I wouldn’t say it is making some pay more for less;

      I would say that it is imposing a contribution curve that is flatter than the risk curve (I just made that up, what do you think?). There is absolutely nothing unusual about that. Any governmental program that is not direct fee for service will impose a contribution requirement that does not match up directly with the benefit (or risk coverage) any individual taxpayer will receive. Indeed, I’m an extremely talented driver – in the top 1% of driving talent! – yet I’m subject to the same speed limit as everyone else and have to stop at red lights like everyone else. It’s very unfair. This has a cost for me and I don’t deserve it. But distributional imprecision is always an unfortunate feature of collective action toward a greater good.

      Richard, I presume you don’t support a market approach to health care. If you think that people expected that the law would not force healthier people into the risk pool and would not result in the cancellation of substandard policies, then you are assuming that people are pretty unthoughtful and uninformed, and hardly capable of shopping in the health care market. I don’t necessarily disagree with that assumption, but no one could ever mistake me for supporting a market approach to health care.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/22/2013 - 06:48 am.

        We’ll get to see the affects of the ACA long after the web site gets straightened out. What is little acknowledged is that there will inevitably be further changes, no matter who is elected in 2014 and 2016. Both Democrats and Republicans will want further reform, and at least in small ways, they will get it. The most likely changes are reductions in the penalties for businesses, and lowering the minimum standards for the basic plans to reduce costs. The overall structure will likely be retained, but businesses will find a way to start putting their employees on the exchanges instead of running their own health care plans. Which is not a bad thing, but it will require more funding.

        The longer it’s in place, the more it become something established to tinker with, rather than try to eliminate. The realistic presidential candidates for 2016 will have stopped talking about eliminating the ACA; they will be talking about fixing it.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/22/2013 - 09:34 am.

          Two effects that we’ve already seen

          are an increase the the number of people with health care and a decrease in total health care costs.
          These are signs of a successful program, despite the probably avoidable startup glitches.

  5. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/21/2013 - 08:11 am.

    Obamacare is in trouble because it is trying to graft together 2 or 3 different ways of paying for healhcare.

    At the end of the day, either Obamacare will be up and running, or it will not.

    If it is, that’s good for the previously uncovered or poorly covered people. What’s bad about that? The Republicans will end up arguing to remove or reduce coverage for those people–not a very winning strategy.

    If it is taken down, what can the Republicans campaign on? “We removed the possibility of you getting coverage or better coverage”? “We made sure you couldn’t get coverage for ‘pre-existing conditions'”? “We made sure that there will be little control on medical costs”? “We made sure your adult children couldn’t be covered on you policy”?

    Because it it getting harder and harder to push the meme that the existing healthcare systems are working and are the best in the world It will be damn hard for Republicans to campaign on that when the evidence is there, day after day, life after life.

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/21/2013 - 08:48 am.

    Conservative, free-market solutions…..

    Still waiting for those conservative, free-market solutions.

    It’s only been 20 years from the first go-round in the Clinton administration and 3-1/2 years from when the ACA was passed.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/21/2013 - 10:38 am.

    I hate to tell this but…

    Whatever Bachmann said, and I don’t care what she said; Bachmann is one of if not the most irrelevant figures on the American political landscape today, and has been pretty much her time in office. This media business of talking about or “covering” her idiotic statements just because she made them actually contributes to our problem as a nation.

    Other irrelevant figures:

    Sarah Palin
    Dick Cheney
    Rand Paul
    Tim Pawlenty

    We need to be focused, informed, and smart. We’re 30-40 years behind where we should be as a nation in several regards because we’ve spent decades listening to idiots who don’t even want to know what they’re talking about. The media needs to find a way to recognize credibility, not merely interview or report on people because of who they are.

    For instance Palin and Cheney both come out with books filled with tripe that virtually no one is going to read and they spend two weeks on the talk show circuit… why? We got 300 million people in this country many of whom actually know stuff but who’s getting interviewed?

    As for Obamacare, the roll-out has been a disaster but by election time things will shake out. We should all be accustomed to see the Democrats pull defeat out of the jaws of victory by now, this debacle began with the refusal to even put single payer or a lesser cousin the public option on the board, it went downhill from there, but that’s the Democrats for you.

    The thing is, pretty much the whole country has realized by now that the Republicans are worse, and that aside from attacking everything they don’t like they have absolutely no plans of their own. The next elections will still tilt towards the Democrats.

    As for Bachmann, she thought she could be president, what more do you need to know?

  8. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/21/2013 - 03:08 pm.

    Liberalism

    Despite the wish casting from other comments, the Obamacare rollout has been an enormous black eye for liberalism. I don’t know how much damage has been dealt nor how long it will take to fix but make no mistake, it’s pretty bad right now. And this isn’t just my own biased opinion. We saw a big move in the numbers for VA Gov pretty much as soon as the gov’t shutdown ended and people focused on the bad rollout. There was a recent Gallup poll that showed significant movement against the idea that health care is a gov’t responsibility. The polls for Obama and generic Dems have had nothing but awful news for the past few weeks.
    This could very well become a long term obstacle to big gov’t projects in the same way that the Iraq experience has made the public more resistant to military projects. Of course I don’t know this for certain, but the elements are all there. The Obama admin was dishonest in the way they sold the plan. They were wildly incompetent in terms of implementation. They’ve disrupted things for large numbers of people, after reassurances that they wouldn’t. Lots of people will ask why they should be trusted again.
    I’m also guessing that the arrogance of the Obama supporters will only add to the long term ill will. If you’re insisting, in the face of common sense, that the Republicans are to blame or (ha!) the private sector, then you’ll be fairly dismissed. It would be like a Republican in 2006 insisting that the problems in Iraq were all the fault of the Dems or the media. Why even listen after that?

  9. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 11/21/2013 - 04:44 pm.

    liberalism will always be with us

    Liberalism will always exist as long as people expect the government to give them free stuff, as long as people think the president has authority to make or change laws whenever he can’t get what he wants from Congress, and as long as people believe the ends justify the means

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/22/2013 - 09:36 am.

      or maybe

      because it works.
      It actually fixes problems rather than blaming victims and saying ‘I’ve got mine, Jack.”

  10. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/21/2013 - 08:08 pm.

    ACA

    Health care reform is not a zero-sum game. Many countries cover everyone, spend less, and have better health outcomes. There are significant differences even within the U.S. The ACA may not have been the best way to fix our very badly broken system, but the idea that we need to take from the haves to help the have-nots simply is not true.

    As far as the lack of Republican support, if no Republicans are interested in meaningful reform, do you just do nothing? The ACA was modeled on the Republican alternative to the early 1990s Clinton health care reform and the Massachusetts model under Mitt Romney. This isn’t single payer – which is the true health plan of liberalism. The ACA keeps the private insurance system intact.

    The rollout has been a mess, but it has been actively sabotaged by its opponents. The success or failure largely depends on whether or not the state implementing is cooperating.

    And if the ACA fails and the Democrats lose politically, so be it. I don’t vote for Democrats just to give them jobs. I want them to try and fix the problems with our country.

    As for liberalism itself, as as there are people who believe in compassion (or compassion not contingent in ideology) tolerance over prejudice, logic and reason instead of, well, whatever you want to call the alternative, liberalism will be just fine

    • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/21/2013 - 09:49 pm.

      State Support

      “The rollout has been a mess, but it has been actively sabotaged by its opponents. The success or failure largely depends on whether or not the state implementing is cooperating.”

      Not even remotely true. The website failed because the Obama admin has no idea how to actually build things. They ignored bad news and just decided to keep saying pleasant things in hopes that it would work out. None of this is the fault of Republicans or anyone else. That’s pure incompetence from them.
      And why has the rollout failed in blue states like Oregon? Was it tripped up by Republican mind beams and ill wishes? Even here in Minnesota, we’ve had almost ten times as many people bumped from their plans as have actually signed up for Obamacare. Do you put that in the ‘success’ category?
      More excuses.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/22/2013 - 07:51 am.

        ….The website failed because the Obama admin has no idea how to actually build things….

        Gosh, another example of Obama as the “omnipotent incompetent”.

        Picture the evil genius Obama and his aides, sitting up late night after night, bumbling their way through writing the code for the site, hoping no-one notices that the links have problems.

        It’s their personal failure–nothing to do with the contractor or contracting personnel or the hodge-podge of antiquated, incompatible, stand-alone federal information systems.

        No, it is entirely about Obama not being able to write workable code and not being able to debug the system.

        It’s an amusing, uninformed way of looking at government.

        • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/22/2013 - 10:23 am.

          Yes, Obama Incompetence

          With something this important, he should have been asking for regular progress reports. When he got bad news, he should have listened to it. Instead, he seems to have thought that passing the law was the only important part.
          Were the contractors bad? They probably were, though they suffered under some handicaps. The Obama admin waited a long time to actually set down the rules. They kept changing their mind about things. Apparently it wasn’t until sometime in September that they decided to change things so that users would have to enter in their info before they could see the pricing options. According to testimony from earlier this week, the website still doesn’t have a way to channel payment.
          A more competent manager would have been all over this stuff. I don’t expect a politician to be down at a construction site building a bridge, but I do expect them to have an idea as to how it’s going. That part of what *being in charge* means.
          But go ahead and think that his responsibility ends with picking a contractor and then whatever happens, happens. But then you need to explain to me and the rest of the country why he should be trusted with any large program ever again.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/22/2013 - 12:16 pm.

            That’s the problem

            with turning a government job over to a private enterprise.
            By the time you’re done with the oversight, you might as well have done it yourself.

            • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/23/2013 - 07:06 am.

              Done It Yourself

              If you guys want to pile on Paul here for suggesting that Obama take over the coding, go ahead.

          • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/22/2013 - 02:35 pm.

            Implementation

            To be fair, this doesn’t make ACA a failure, just the implementation a failure.

            • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/23/2013 - 07:12 am.

              That’s a Fair Point

              If the exchange becomes fully functioning, which is up in the air right now, then we can start to judge ACA on its merits as policy. So far it seems like it’s causing more rate shock than help but I’m willing to be patient on this point.
              The failure to even get it off the ground is pretty embarrassing though. It’s a simple premise that if you give the state more power to do things then the state should be able to follow through and actually, you know *do* the stuff that you’ve asked it to do. We haven’t even gotten to that point yet. We’re still testing basic competency.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/22/2013 - 11:13 am.

        Remotely true

        The biggest mistake Obama made was failing to recognize the extent that some GOP governors would go in not setting up state exchanges and otherwise trying to help their residents get insured. Its spite as public policy. But the result was that the federal exchange had to be much larger and more complex.

        The Oregon site was just a technology failure, and has nothing to do with being red or blue. Generally (I said largely before) states that cooperated have had better results.

        When you talk about people being dropped, you have to distinguish why. If its because they had nonconforming junk plans, they are probably better off. If its because insurance companies chose to drop them, that is not Obama’s fault. Again, if you want to criticize Obama for failing to recognize what he was up against, that’s fair.

        • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 11/23/2013 - 07:26 am.

          Biggest Mistake?

          You think that was the biggest mistake? Not making promises (“You can keep your plan”) that he couldn’t keep? Not failing to oversee his signature legislation? How about not realizing that buying insurance is a complex thing?
          But let’s go back to the governor thing. If Obama really thought that once the law was passed, all opposition would end, then he’s hopelessly naive. If a Republican president and congress passed some sweeping pro-life legislation that counted on heavy state cooperation, would they face some pushback across the country? Would we call that pushback ‘sabotage’?
          Of course not! We’d recognize that it’s a contentious issue that wasn’t even close to being resolved. I don’t know why Obama and his supporters don’t get that about increased gov’t control over health care. Of course there was opposition! And no, it wasn’t motivated by ‘spite’. It was motivated by honest opposition.

          • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/23/2013 - 03:58 pm.

            Spite

            I will concede that there was some naivete by Obama. But the sabotage is spite. Its not a coincidence Minnesota rates are so much better than Wisconsin’s. It won ‘t stop the ACA, but it will make things harder for people who need insurance.

  11. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/21/2013 - 08:26 pm.

    Conservatism Will Always Exist

    As long as the rich, the powerful, big business and big finance regard themselves as “makers” and use their financial resources to massage and shape sufficient numbers of politicians to ensure that everyone ELSE pays for the infrastructures on which they depend, the education of their work force, and makes up the difference when they don’t provide affordable health care coverage or pay a living wage,…

    all in order to pad the already-overstuffed pockets of those who have NO need for additional resources and who cannot begin to justify, in terms of benefits provided to society, the resources they currently possess (as we see so clearly with Walmart, our nation’s largest employer and largest retailer).

    The benefits the 1% extracts from our society and their fellow citizens, both by direct benefit from, and aided and abetted in their private affairs by our government, FAR exceed any “free stuff” that might be given to those whom us “liberals” seek to help.

  12. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/21/2013 - 08:30 pm.

    Hyperventilate much????

    The end of liberalism?

    The twin disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan and the collapse of the economy should have ended conservatism. Deaths of thousands of Americans, loss of trillions of dollars–surely as serious a set of disasters a president could make could.

    But they didn’t end conservatism.

    And oddly enough Obamacare, with its goals of saving lives and money (note the symmetry??) won’t be the end of liberalism.

    So sad for you, Mr. and Ms. Conservative.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/22/2013 - 11:29 am.

    The end of liberalism

    Well, for one thing, Bachmann is no conservative, she’s a reactionary at best, more than a little whacko at worse. Orienting any political landscape from her perspective is sure folly.

    Neither liberalism or conservatism will ever disappear forever, only an idiot would expect that to happen. Nor would you want one or the other to disappear forever, such a disappearance would mean an end to essential intellectual diversity. Anyone who thinks we should abolish intellectual diversity is… well… an idiot. Form you own syllogism here.

    Conservatism is already nearly dead in America for the moment, killed by reactionary’s with no intellectual and very little personal integrity. There are no legitimate intellectuals amongst the conservative ranks at the moment, and conservatives have done no intellectual work for decades. You can only go so far with high school debate mentalities and the Tea Party has discovered the outer boundary. It’s not liberalism that Bachmann has been destroying, it’s conservatism. Of course she doesn’t realize that, a dog can’t play a violin.

    We’ve seen epochs like this before however, sooner or later conservative intellectuals with integrity and will emerge and they’ll be interested in solving problems not merely trying to win arguments with high school debate tactics. That is if we don’t blow ourselves up in the meantime.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/22/2013 - 12:56 pm.

    To put a somewhat finer point on it

    This impulse to obliterate intellectual diversity pops up every so often. Although it’s not strictly a conservative canon of any kind it always emerges from the conservative end of the spectrum.

    We saw this in the Fascist regimes of 20th century and the Soviet regime as well. We can take heart in observation that even under those extreme circumstances, the regimes fell, liberalism was not truly obliterated.

    I think the problem we’ve had in this country is that for some reason liberals have been in denial for decades. For a variety of reasons American liberals simply would not accept the fact they were facing reactionaries not merely conservatives. One thing we know about reactionaries is that you cannot concede or negotiate with them, every attempt do so in history has ended in disaster. Nevertheless Democrats and liberals have been tossing one concession after another at American reactionaries for decades. All they got for their trouble was a huge recession, a structurally damaged revenue stream, temporary political disasters and defeats, and sundry wars and foreign policy fiasco’s.

    It looks Harry Reid is finally starting to see the light, it’s bad Obama didn’t see it sooner.

  15. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/22/2013 - 02:56 pm.

    Liberalism is just fine and will continue to be so. After all, everyone is a liberal when we compare ourselves to our forefathers. There aren’t too many people left in the country who want to go back to slavery. Or who would like to take away the right of women to vote.

    Just a couple of generations ago it would have been scandalous for women to wear pants. Yet most conservative people today would think you’re an idiot if you tried to mandate that women can only wear dresses.

    A few more examples that people of all political stripes would be loathe to give up:

    -40 hour workweek: liberal cause

    -Child labor laws: liberal cause

    -Seat belts and air bags: liberal cause

    Liberals lead the way and society follows because their causes are just and right. It just takes some people a few generations before they wake up and get on board.

  16. Submitted by jason myron on 11/23/2013 - 10:29 pm.

    I’m always amazed

    at the dichotomy of opinion on the President from the right. He’s supposedly an incompetent, in over his head, at the same time as being the mastermind of a complete take down of the republic while installing himself as dictator. He’s like a Superman villain come to life…

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