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March 22, 2017

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No such thing as a free appendectomy

I'm sorry to say that Obamacare is back in the news. Premiums are going up 25% on average. The administration has prepared talking points for its minions. Debbie Wasseman Schultz, the cursed minion queen, was out there yesterday misrepresenting the situation in her adorable staccato.

The talking points are: (1) Oh, that 25% thing is just a statistical aberration caused by one or two places like Arizona, where premiums exploded; (2) Don't worry, subsidies will absorb most of the premium increase for most people; and (3) People love this hugely successful program because it (a) Allows kids to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26; (b) covers pre-existing conditions; (c) artificially adjusts risk-based premiums so that men and women pay the same; (d) prohibits total dollar limits on coverage.

The first talking point is baloney, plain and simple. Check the graphic. The second point means that taxpayers as a whole will be picking up the tab for rising healthcare costs. Even if Trump is elected, Mexico is not going to pay those subsidies.

The third point reminds me of a shtick that Neil Cavuto of Fox News conjured up a few years ago. He hired some guy who pretended to be the world's fastest speed-reader and sat him at a table with a huge stack of paper that was supposed to be the Affordable Care Act. Cavuto wanted to know what was in there. The guy made speed-reading motions, turning a page every two or three seconds. Mid-show, Cavuto checked back with the guy and the stack of paper was still immense. End of show, he checks again, and the guy's tearing into it but the stack of paper is still up to his ear. This goes on for days. It was a good gag, but I suspect that most people didn't get it.

The four touted aspects of Obamacare that most people really do like would fit neatly into maybe ten pages of legislation. What's going on with the other 1,990 pages? Well, they're, um, kind of a mess.