Monday, November 18, 2013

The Other Pre-Existing Condition(s)

At a conference in mainland China (of course), Bill Clinton remarked "I hope we have a woman president in my lifetime, and I think it would be a good thing for the world as well as for America."

Better yet- it would be a good thing if we have a good president in his lifetime.  On balance, it wasn't him. As concisely as possibly, Andrew O'Hehir says it best:

By the time Bill Clinton was elected after 12 years of Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Lee Atwater had meticulously milked racial grievances to peel away much of the white working class and nearly all the white South. Clinton convinced himself that the only way to govern in the aftermath of Reaganism was through the noxious politics of “triangulation,” which produced welfare reform, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the enormous neoliberal, job-exporting scams of GATT and NAFTA. We can debate the reasons for the relative prosperity of the Clinton years (no overseas wars to fight), but Clinton was every bit as much a Wall Street president as George W. Bush, helped drive the stock-market and real estate boom that would later turn toxic, and on most substantive policy questions found himself to the right of every 20th-century Republican president not named Ronald Reagan.

Don't take it from O'Hehir (although he has nailed almost everything), but from Bill Clinton himself. In March, citing "freedom, equality, and justice for all," he contended "I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution."  Sponsoring the GATT and the NAFTA, and deregulating Wall Street by signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, have done infinitely more damage to the nation.  (Jim Leach, by then a former congressman, was one of the prominent Republicans who endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008. Figures.)  However, Clinton, who slammed the President during the 2012 presidential campaign (!) when Obama dared to question Bain Capital, will never admit to helping foster the Great Recession when he enabled Wall Street.  His friends (and daughter and son-in-law)  in private equity might not like him anymore.

And Clinton 42 hasn't changed his spots.    Noting in a magazine interview that people were being dropped from their insurance company plans, last week he stated  "They were the ones who heard the promise, if you like what you’ve got you can keep it.   I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to these people and let them keep what they got."

That provided cover for skittish Democrats to pressure the President.  Soon afterward, Obama apologized even though, as Dean Baker explains

...the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

Or as Bill Maher noted (video, below) far more caustically on Friday's Real Time

Obamacare was trying to protect these people who are being ripped off by insurance companies. But, yesterday, Obama said, 'Okay finally. 'You know what? You want your shitty, crummy plans? You can have them!' You want your policy where you go in for an operation and your covered for when they cut you open, but not when they sew you up? Fine, children, have your broken piece of glass that you want to play with!

And one reason he had to do this was that Bill Clinton opened his big fat vegan mouth, and said Obama should let people keep their crappy insurance, even if screwed up the whole system. You know what? If you're a Democrat, the Clintons are a pre-existing condition.

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