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by the end of the main extension period in most states, in brainwrap's latest projection. That's a bit less than brainwrap said recently, maybe 8.3 million. More is better, obviously, but this isn't a political target, unlike the earlier 7 million that we beat, so brainwrap is going to mostly wait for it to happen, and not update the spreadsheet obsessively every day.

Update: Our brainwrap will be on Sirius XM radio this evening. More below.

Spare a thought for those helping people get through their applications, as well as those being helped, because it's still a zoo out there with all of those trying to get in the way, in addition to the increasing desperation that we will see among some who fail to meet this hard deadline. Obamacare saves lives, and not getting it endangers them.

Speaking of political targets, how did you like our collection of the crazy yesterday, and in fact all through this process? Late last night I added what Steve Kornacki of Up! and his guests brought up yesterday morning. Repeal, repeal, deny, deny, confabulate, confabulate…and among the pundits, bloviate, bloviate. There is just so much more where that came from, and I can confidently predict that it will get worse, right up to the moment when the Republican Party becomes irrelevant, which I can also confidently predict. Not the date, just the fact.

Where is Nate Silver when we most need him? He could build us a model that would give a likely date. And why hasn't he invited brainwrap to write a guest column, or even contribute regularly? Can we get up a petition for that? Or a Twitter campaign?

So, news, with the usual updates. Check the Obamacare Saves Lives group for Front Page stories and Diaries on what is happening with Health Care, both in what is sometimes laughingly called reality and in the alternate universes inhabited by some of our opponents. I'll add more to the group as they come up.

I'm mining such a rich vein of crazy out on the Web, how could I give up now? And I must explain a bit about Cognitive Dissonance, because that is why I can confidently predict that Republicans will double and triple down on the crazy.


Update: Programming Note: "Left Jab" tonight on Sirius XM Ch. 127

I don't have Sirius XM myself, but if anyone does, I'm scheduled to be a guest on "Left Jab" this evening, sometime between 7pm - 9pm. It's apparently on Channel 127.

I assume it'll be available as a podcast afterwards…


We have only one new post from brainwrap to report right now, but it is one that we have been waiting for.

My Back-of-the-Envelope Projection for 4/15: 900K More QHPs for 8M Even

I'm not going to set up an elaborate spreadsheet and try to micromanage the projection data for the next 10 days the way I did during the regular enrollment period. Instead, I'm just going with a lazier, more general estimate: Based partly on the California data given by Peter Lee (500K partly done applications in under the 3/31 wire, half of which are likely Medicaid-bound), I'm figuring that total exchange QHP enrollments gonna end up somewhere around 900K total, for a nice round 8M by the end of April 15th. Perhaps a little higher (1M even?).

As always, I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong, as long as I've undershot the mark :)

So will we all. Thanks, brainwrap.

As ever, I will post an update when there is more news.

Update: Up! with Steve Kornacki, quoted the Hill story GOP gets ObamaCare angst, which I linked to yesterday. He and his guests noted that Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is the only Senate Democrat in a fairly Red state who has embraced the ACA.

A Brief Primer on Cognitive Dissonance

There is a lot more to this subject than we can go into here. But the essence of the matter is that in some situations, having a prediction fail strengthens belief among the true believers, and creates impenetrable denial against any form of facts or evidence or reality, even though they recognize and admit the particular failure. When a true believer is presented with the complete failure of a prediction of an event based on an essential point of his or her belief, the person's belief can actually be strengthened. Such people regularly go out emboldened to proselytize others to their faith, and in many cases they succeed.

The source of the idea for most of us is Leon Festinger's 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, written with Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schachter. It reports their research on a real-world instance of what Festinger had predicted. That and other studies have given rise to a robust and moderately predictive theory of such forms of belief, and a voluminous literature applying this and related ideas.

Theory and observation concur that the conditions for this to happen are

  1. Deep conviction, not only that something is true but that it requires some particular action. (Thus, in our case, declare Obamacare to be the work of Commies or the Devil, and do everything to demonize and repeal it. More specifically, predict that Obamacare is a train wreck that will enter a Death Spiral in which it will collapse under its own weight.)
  2. Commitment, that is taking an action that is difficult or impossible to undo. (Commit the lives, the fortunes, and the sacred honor of the Republican Party SuperPACS to repeal, so that no Republican can dissent.)
  3. Specificity, so that disconfirmation is unequivocal. (7 million on the Exchanges! Also 26 million total!)
  4. Disconfirmation, failure of the prophecy, is obvious and admitted. (Well, some still claim that we cooked the books, and they haven't paid, and there aren't enough young, healthy people signed up, and the rates are too high, and they will hate the health care they get…but they have to admit that it is millions.)
  5. Believers have strong social support from a group that would cast them out if they wavered. (Tea Parties <---> RINOs)

This is therefore a predictive theory subject to observation and potential disconfirmation. In a word, science. And it has been confirmed in many instances. You get very strong Cognitive Dissonance and corresponding behaviors where the conditions hold strongly, and much less where they are weaker, and little or none where they do not, as in most of the scientific community and other evidence-based segments of society. Cold fusion shows what happens when a nominally scientific supposed discovery turns out to be nonsense, and carries on for years among the evidence-challenged.

There are, of course, alternative theories, and there have been other observations and experiments tried and reported. Also science.

The names were changed in Festinger's account of "Mrs. Keech", but the gist of it is that his research group heard about an explicit prediction of aliens in spaceships coming to Earth on a specific date, and offering to save those who welcomed them from the looming destruction of the Earth. People gathered on the date, and of course nothing happened. The group provoked strong pushback among the surrounding community and among relatives of members, with threats of police action over public disruptions, and of commitments to mental hospitals. Festinger's group initially hired a sociology student to join the group and report observations, and then joined in the effort themselves. The prophecy failed, and as predicted the community then grew larger and more deeply committed. They decided that the aliens had given Earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word that earth-spoiling must stop. The book reports many more observations of great interest and importance.

OK, in the evidence-based world, failure is a good reason to abandon a belief, if there is a suitable alternative. But you can't just latch onto the first alternative that presents itself. You need more evidence, of particular kinds. That way lies science, where certainties are always conditional but not squishy about it. We didn't throw away Newton, we just worked out when he was accurate enough, and when, as with Mercury, gravity lensing, and GPS satellites, we need more accurate Einsteinian calculations. Einstein isn't the final answer, but we are sticking with him until we find something specific that requires another approach, and gives us sufficient hints about what that should be. Have you heard about the observations of gravity waves from Big Bang inflation? It has ruled out some models, and further experiments are now under way.

This is not how things work in the faith-based world of the Religious Right and in Tea Party politics. There the problem is that you go to Hell if you are the teensiest bit wrong, or it's the end of Civilization as We Know It because of a Liberal and RINO conspiracy. Or both. It's a good thing that millions of their children are falling away from the hate and fear and nonsense every year.

Which brings us to today's crazy, which will appear in the updates.

Update: Apparently there hasn't been as much crazy today, perhaps because it is Sunday. But the quality leaves nothing to be desired.

Charles Koch whines as the Harry Reid Kochtopia pushback begins

This isn't specifically an Obamacare story, so it isn't in the Obamacare Saves Lives group list, but hoo, bubbele, have you got the crazy, Charlie. Full on Bircherism, inherited from dear old dad, a founder of the organization. So when he says "collectivism" you know he means Soviet Communism, Stalinism even. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Communist stooge, and his brother Milton was his control Bircherism.

Listen, Charlie, I have a deal for you. Such a deal you wouldn't believe. I wrote it up myself in 2010 just for amazing people like you.

A Modest Proposal for a Tea Party Utopia

Investors Business Daily really hates Obamacare. They have a page of nothing but links to stories bashing it. For example,

ObamaCare Boosts Health Spending, Other Outlays Fall
Well, duh, we just got millions of people health insurance, and those who were uninsured are going to see the doctor for the first time in years, and getting their cancers and their heart disease and their other outstanding ailments treated all at once.

The rest is worth savoring, too, but I don't want to copy and paste all of it.

Insurance News Net also really hates Obamacare.

White House's Obamacare victory likely short-lived

What is the matter with Huffington Post? No, don't answer that. We know.

5 Things The Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Won't Tell You

Republican talking points, every one.

But HuffPo is not a total loss, by any means, and the day does not go only to the crazies.

New Poll Shows Americans Don't Want To Give Up On Obamacare

National Journal: The battle over Obamacare is running into overtime, with risks for both parties—and the country.

The Health Care Reform War Without End
Then they immediately contradict themselves.
In the 1936 election, one year after President Roosevelt signed the law creating Social Security, his Republican opponent Alf Landon called it a "cruel hoax" and promised to repeal it.

Landon won just two states—and, four years later, Republican nominee Wendell Willkie ran on expanding Social Security.

That's more like it.

New York Magazine: The Obamacare Train Did Not Wreck

The article distinguishes between Democrats, who view government programs as a means to various ends, and Republicans, whose mantra is "Government bad" no matter what, and invariably compare anything government does unfavorably with Soviet central planning and tyranny.

Conservatives have expressed from the beginning a theological certainty that Obamacare will fail. “Just as economic shortages were endemic to Soviet central planning, the coming Obamacare train wreck is endemic to big-government liberalism,” wrote Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol last August.
This turns out not to be the case, however. The author misses the central Dog Whistle, which is that big government is wonderful for Republicans when it enriches the rich and oppresses the poor and helpless, and is bad only when it helps the 99%. Remind me to give you tutorials sometime on Thorstein Veblen and The Theory of the Leisure Class, and on post-Confederate Jim Crow/Lost Cause ideology. They explain even more about Republicans than Cognitive Dissonance does.

Politicus USA: Obama White House Calls The Republican Argument to Repeal Obamacare a Loser Obamacare may be cutting health costs

WaPo Wonkblog: Facing Obamacare deadline, more young people signed up in March

Well, I'm glad to be wrong about how much crazy would be out there today.

Originally posted to Mokurai on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 01:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives.

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