With the flubbed roll-out of Obamacare and upcoming elections, Democrats are worried and GOP leaders are seizing on what they hope is an opportunity to win votes and repeal or drastically reduce the health reform law. The New York TImes draws an interesting comparison to the situation with Ronald Reagan's Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1989.
What happened to that?
Reagan's catastrophic-care law illustrates "the political and policy hazards of presenting sweeping health system changes to consumers who might not be prepared for them," reports NYT.
The similarities between what happened then and today's Obamacare drama boil down to a case where the loudest voices who feel they are paying for the law are made louder by the law's political opponents.
The idea of the Medicare law was to add catastrophic plan protection and pay for it with a new premium, while limiting seniors' out of pocket costs to lessen the chance they would be bankrupted by medical bills.
But affluent Medicare beneficiaries didn't want to pay for it, any more than affluent Americans want to pay for Obamacare's low-income subsidies now.
Back then, most Medicare beneficiaries already had the kind of coverage that Reagan's catastrophic program offered -- just as today, most Americans already have health insurance through their employers.
Taking advantage of seniors' concerns, politicians fanned the flames with direct mail letters, similar to what political anti-Obamacare ads and social media campaigns do now
The result was a mob of angry voters surrounding the chairman of the Ways and Means Committe in Chicago, caught on camera above. A few months later, unable to stem the political damage, law makers removed the bill from the books.
Obamacare proponents like Families USA CEO Ron Pollack reject the similarities because the ACA's costs and benefits are spread among more people, such as young people who are now covered on their parents' health plans because the ACA extended the eligible age to 26. Read the story.