It’s time to Break It Down!
Only in America, as Don King might say. On Monday, Senator Cruz announced his candidacy for President. However, a funny thing happened on the way to a Ted Cruz Presidency. Heidi Cruz, the Senator’s wife has taken unpaid sick leave for the duration of her husband’s Presidential campaign. As a result, she will not receive company benefits, including health insurance, during this period.
Cruz has previously said he gets his insurance coverage via Mrs. Cruz’s plan, boasting about not needing to receive government health care benefits. Oops!
I must pause for a moment to make a small but key observation. The attitude demonstrated by individuals whom, based upon their comments and actions, seem to harbor distaste for government and government services, yet spend anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars to get elected to government offices display a deep conflict at best, and possibly are afflicted with cognitive dissonance. The Senator’s comments reflect that type of disconnect.
Senator Cruz has made a fair amount of political hay opposing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. He indicated to Dana Bash of CNN yesterday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the ACA. Given his efforts to kill the program, which he says he’s still committed to do if he becomes President, there is an acute irony that he now finds himself about to acquire coverage under the program.
In his own words, he said, “We’ll be getting new health insurance and we’ll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we’ll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange.” Somewhere in Washington, I can imagine President Obama flashing a Cheshire cat grin. Frankly, it’s hard to blame him.
Even as the Senator prepares to get Obamacare, he continues to rail that Obamacare has decimated the private health insurance market. As he put it, “What is problematic about Obamacare is that it is killing millions of jobs in this country and has killed millions of jobs, it has forced millions of people into part time work. It has caused millions of people to lose their insurance, to lose their doctors and to face skyrocketing insurance premiums. That is unacceptable.”
Of course, that’s the Senator’s story. We understand that over the course of the Obama Presidency, the economic and employment picture in this county has rebounded significantly in virtually every measurable metric. But what about health care, specifically?
Good question; I’m glad I asked it. The Congressional Budget Office has monitored the effects of the ACA, and finds that the program has lowered healthcare costs even more than initially projected, and that it has slowed the rate health care inflation rates. Whitehouse.gov released a report that shows:
- Health care spending growth is the lowest on record
- Health care price inflation is the lowest in 50 years
- Recent slow growth in health care spending has substantially improved the long-term Federal budget outlook
- The slowdown in health care costs is more than just an artifact of the 2007-2009 recession
- The slowdown appears to reflect “structural” changes in the United States health care system, a conclusion consistent with a substantial body of recent research.
- The ACA is contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending and is improving the quality of care.
- New economic research shows that the ACA’s Medicare reforms are likely to reduce health care spending and improve quality system-wide.
- Accounting for “spillovers” implies that the ACA’s effect on health care price inflation may be even larger than previously understood.
- In the short run, slower growth in health spending is a positive for employment.
- Over the long run, slower growth in health spending translates directly into higher wages and living standards.
- CBO estimates that the ACA will substantially reduce long-term deficits.
In the real world, there is a familiar idiomatic expression, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s fair to say, at least for the moment, we live in a world where we get to contemplate this reality…“Ted Cruz: Facing The Bane and The Benefit of Obamacare!” Who woulda thunk it?
I’m done; holla back!
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