Down the Ballot

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is there a Doctor on the ballot?

Kasier Foundation Poll Results 2013
The 2014 elections are in full swing here in Oregon. Candidates and campaigns are setting their messages and starting to get feedback from voters and the electorate. Something the more astute political observers might have noticed was the large number Republican doctors coming out of the woodwork to run against Obamacare (ACA). Never before has there been an election in recent history that has attracted the response from health care industry workers as 2014 has this year.

There seem to be two generalized positions Republican candidates are taking for federal office: 1) Repeal Obamacare or 2) Modify Obamacare. My guess is the rhetoric required to win competitive Republican primaries will skew most candidates towards option 1 of repeal it all. Republicans that don't have tough primaries will probably not be quick to sound the alarm for a full repeal. Blue state Republicans will have to do a tricky dance of not overtly praising the most loved aspects of Obamacare and trying not to get lost in minutia of how they would make Obamacare better without ruining some of its signature aspects.

We've been aware of the more popular aspects of Obamacare since the Kasier Family Foundation started polling on the ACA in 2010. Here is results of a poll they did about individual aspects of Obamacare in March of 2013. 7 out of the 11 aspects were popular regardless of political persuasions.
2013 Kasier Family Foundation Poll Results

Republicans running to repeal Obamacare should be held to the fire by moderate Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike for the terrible judgement calls they are making on the entire health insurance reform program. Republicans and others running to modify the ACA must be careful not to touch the popular provisions listed above, as well as, not alienate their more conservative bases in the primary. That will be a fine line for a lot of them and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them adopt the rhetoric of the 'repealers' for the sake of winning votes. To survive Democrats must continue to point to the above and also advocate for patience as the ACA takes roots.

While most of the country will continue to debate the merits of Obamacare one state has already decided that while Obamacare is nice, it still isn't the best option. Vermont has decided to try a single payer healthcare system.   It will be called Green Mountain Healthcare. Still to early to tell if it will actually be better than Obamacare, but if gets off the ground and does what the state government and economists project it will can bet other statehouses and the White House are going to be keeping their eyes on Vermont over the next five years. Experimentation and innovation still happen in America.

There are going to be 20+ doctors on the ballot this year all over the country. Over the next few months we'll see which ones are truly trying to make their patients lives better and which ones are out to protect their own pockets by keeping costs up. The smart doctors will want to reform the ACA. Always welcome to changes that reduce the number of uninsured and keep costs down.

Next time we'll take a look at the Doctors that will be appearing on the Oregon ballot this May and November.
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