Ugh. I’m a couple of days late noticing Michael Moore’s New York Times op-ed piece titled “The Obamacare We Deserve.”
Moore starts out trashing Obamacare. It’s “awful,” he says. It’s flaws derive from the fact that “the Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go.”
But President Obama wasn’t willing to take on the insurance industry, Moore implies, so he settled for an approach of filling in around the holes between the private insurance megalopoly and the existing single-payer systems (Medicare and Medicaid). As a result, millions of Americans who had no access to affordable health insurance got some, and many more got better insurance than they previously had. That’s why (as Moore doesn’t mention until he’s halfway through) “Obamacare is a godsend.”
Most liberals have been so focused on defending the law from its unfair critics that they haven’t much allowed themselves to notice, nor to mention, the many flaws in the plan, which have recently gotten so much attention that the godsendiness of it has almost disappeared from view.
This is a service Moore has occasionally performed, saying what many liberals would like to say but don’t because they worry about giving ammunition to a certain kind of righty critic to whom everything is socialism.
Moore points out (as many have before) that Obama formerly supported the idea of single-payer. Moore assumes (and I don’t particularly doubt it) that Obama still understands in his secret heart that single payer would have covered more Americans and cost less.
The kindness that Moore doesn’t do for Obama, at least in this piece, is acknowledge that the president seems to have proceeded on the basis that it was better to push through a flawed plan that could actually pass — and that would extend a sort of jury-rigged Rube Goldberg system of health insurance to most of those currently uninsured — than to propose a simpler, less costly, more efficient, more understandable system that would be defeated by the opposition it would invite from the health insurance industry.
Was he right?