Ken's Project Blog

January 21, 2011

Karl Rove Op-Ed Considered

Filed under: Five Days in October,Health Care,In The News,Politics — Ken @ 11:07 am

Earlier this week, Karl Rove posted an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called “The GOP’s Health-Care Offensive Has Just Begun,” and if you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to go read it now. It’s a quick read, it’s informative, and it’s the basis of this posting, so, you know, why not?

I want to take a look at a few paragraphs in Mr. Rove’s piece – here’s the first:

Moreover, the fight against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, of which this week’s vote is but the opening round, once again focuses public attention on the law’s flaws. Virtually every claim the Obama administration has made on its behalf is turning out to be untrue. (Recall “If you like your current [health-care] plan, you will be able to keep it.”) Or it wasn’t credible to start with, such as the claim by the Office of Management and Budget that the bill will cut the deficit. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll this week showed that 62% see it as increasing the deficit, 54% think it’ll hurt the economy, and 46% think the law will cost jobs. When Republicans have winning arguments, they should keep pressing them.

The first half of the paragraph is fine, but notice what he did in the second half of the paragraph – he’s countering an Office of Management and Budget analysis with a poll of citizens and their views of the “cost” or “impact” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)- this is the definition of comparing apples to oranges. The CBO still stands-by it’s earlier assessment that the ten years of regulation and about 6 years of Health Care reform (after act is fully implemented in 2014) will save $100 Billion by 2020, with a projected $1 Trillion in savings by the year 2030:

CBO reiterates that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion in the current decade and more than $1 trillion in the decade after that — which represents the most deficit reduction enacted since the 1990s.

Source: Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget

Now, for the second paragraph:

The longer this issue is around, the worse it’s likely to be for Democrats. This year’s ObamaCare-mandated Medicare cuts are geometrically larger than last year’s. Dissatisfaction among health-care providers will continue rising as the new health-care law adversely affects their profession. The concerns of business leaders will become more pronounced as the law’s mandates limit their choices while increasing their costs. And consumer discontent will grow as promised declines in insurance premiums and health-care costs don’t materialize.

In this paragraph Mr. Rove starts of with statements of fact, but then goes into consumer perceptions and expectations, but that’s OK, because he’s approaching the same idea from different places – he’s reinforcing his assertion, not disputing someone elses. What is important to note in this paragraph is the importance of consumer (voter) perception, not the rhetoric of those who seem to think they can just promise benefits absent any actual basis in reality. Supporters tend to argue about “coming benefits” and choose to ignore the current implications of the PPACA. Consumers see their premiums go up and they see insurers reducing their choices (stand-alone coverage for children no longer available, for example)

The third and fourth paragraphs of interest:

A slew of recent polls also show that Americans favor replacing ObamaCare with sensible reforms that increase competition and choice, and thereby expand access and lower cost. For example, the Resurgent Republic poll showed voters support, by 70% to 23%, the ability to buy health insurance across state lines. They back proposals that would make it possible for workers to take their health insurance from job to job by 53% to 36%. And they believe frivolous lawsuits drive up health-care costs by 53% to 38%.

Other GOP initiatives—like allowing people to save more of their paychecks tax-free for out-of-pocket medical expenses, and letting small businesses pool risk to get the same discounts that big companies get—are similarly popular. President Obama said after the midterm election results that “he’d be happy to consider . . . ideas for how to improve” health care. Fortunately, Republicans have a ready agenda with widespread public backing.

In these two paragraphs Mr. Rove enumerates various popular ideas that many believe will have a positive impact on reducing the cost of health care in America, and while the GOP’s opponents argue that the impacts will be minimal, af there are any at all, but that doesn’t seem to be gaining traction among voters,a s Mr. Rove’s poll results show. Supporters of PPACA will also likely find themselves in the awkward position in the coming months arguing such illogical propositions as: denying sale of insurance across state lines, contrary to promises of increasing choices; support so-called “frivolous lawsuits” and limiting tax-free deductions for out-of-pocket expenses, contrary to promises to lower the cost of health care; and deny small business the ability to pool resources to realize savings similar to those larger organizations enjoy, ostensibly because the savings would impact the tax revenues the government needs to collect to fund the PPACA.

I really enjoyed Mr. Rove’s Op-Ed, and my analysis shouldn’t be taken as an “attack” – my purpose here was to highlight the manner in which he makes his case, and to serve as a reminder of the tough row the PPACA supporters will have arguing in support of a law so large, it contains something to offend everyone.


Wall Street Journal: “The GOP’s Health-Care Offensive Has Just Begun,”

White House’s Office of Management and Budget: CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook

Congressional Budget Office Director’s Blog: Preliminary Cost Estimate for Pending Health Care Legislation

New York Times: Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print

Karl Rove’s website:


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