What a day it’s been for healthcare news. To give you the gist: Obamacare enrollments are way up, President Obama’s plug for his signature program on Zach Galifianakis’s show “Between the Ferns” became a viral internet sensation but at the end of the day, a Democrat, Alex Sink who ran on the issue against a Republican in a Republican district narrowly lost in what some are incorrectly calling a bellwether election.
Obamacare enrollments jumped to 4.2 million and are expected to have it’s largest enrollments this month before the March 31st deadline. Even young healthy people enrolling in the program jumped and get this, the poll numbers are even up. This will bring the number of enrolled to under the 7 million rough number that the White House was hoping for before the website issues, though well enough to declare victory and far from the disaster Republicans and Libertarian Tea Party groups were predicting. More so, the government has budgeted to cover a disproportion of sick people for another year or two so the insurance system seems likely poised to avoid any issues.
If you don’t have insurance and need it, get it now to qualify for subsidies and to avoid paying the tax penalty. If you are looking to enroll go to Healthcare.gov, or a state based exchange, if your state had a decent governor. If you have a radical right-wing idiot who used the opportunity to score cheap political points instead of provide health care for millions, go to Healthcare.gov and they will still fix you up. If you are very poor and in those states, you may be out of luck as the Medicaid expansion which has so far expanded to cover nearly 10 million more people has been rejected by Republican governors in states like Texas for no reason other than ideology (the cost was covered by the Federal government).
So Obama has been out pitching this whole program and even went on the funny Zack Galifianakis show Between Two Ferns. It’s a recurring internet sketch show that features celebrities and other personalities who then are subjected to Zack’s own nightmare host scenario. Awkward questions, personal jabs and insults fly. Once, with Justin Bieber, he took off his belt and threatened to give him the spanking he needed. With Samual L. Jackson he let loose a barrage of purposeful racial sensitivity (he brought up a movie and said: “that has a black guy on it”) before ending the sketch by saying “Black Power” and making the fist. SO you can imagine where it goes. Yes, it goes to those places.
Of course, this is the President, Zack is apparently no fan of the Right (he did co-write the Campaign which mocks the Koch Brothers after all), so if you hate Obama and you come out of this enjoying the insults Zack delivers, you’ve got some problems you may need to work on.
The sketch went viral and dominated the headlines, just as the new numbers on Obamacare were released. There were two headlines about healthcare that ran into the evening. The haters were hating as usual until the news that Alex Sink lost to David Jolly came in. The election was close, like under 3% close with a Libertarian wasting 4% as well, though the spin started coming out of the media that since healthcare was mentioned that this spelled disaster for Democrats, even if the special election was to replace a Republican Congressman from a Republican leaning area and his victory is hardly impressive, unable to even breach the 50% mark.
It could be spun the other way that healthcare is not actually the magic bullet Republicans are expecting either. The spending was even after you account for all the outside Libertarian Tea Bagger groups, the area leans Red, was Red, and the guy tried to use healthcare at a time when the success is really just getting started. To many, the stigma of that stupid website is still in the air. By November, it will be a distant memory. Republicans actually believing they have the edge is actually a weakness, though I’m sure the Democrats would have rather have won that seat and these things can prove to be a bad sign. That being said, 90% of these bellwether election prove meaningless in the long run, often buried by what actually does happen and a world of talking head pundits that never call each other out for ever being wrong. In other words, this election likely means about as much as people believe it is important, since even I barely even heard of the election in the first place, I’m going to go with: very little.
So all in all, it was actually a pretty good day for Obama and an even better day for Americans, as universal healthcare just made another baby-step today.
We have a long way to go, to reign in Big Pharma, Big Ambulance, Big Insurance and Big Hospitals, though as it stands now, millions who could not get insurance before now can and millions more will.