Since before and after the passage of Obamacare, I and
many others have warned it was an unworkable concept, a
bad law, and sure to implode if it were passed. It was
not ever popular, in spite of some attractive and seductive
aspects, because ordinary Americans knew intuitively
that’s not the way the United States does its business.
In 2010, voters clearly and unmistakably signaled their
disapproval of Obamacare, turning the U.S. house back to
the Republicans, and giving the opposition party notable
gains the U.S. senate. But with the healthcare legislation
still not implemented, the G.O.P. frankly not well-prepared
for the 2012 election, and not having sent up the best
candidates to the voters, the message of 2010 was lost
to a superb Democratic campaign that deflected the
nation’s critical economic issues of unemployment,
federal deficits, rising taxes, and a moribund fiscal
In the past year, the Democrats, either knowing full well
that the imminent implementation of Obamacare was
a disaster-to-be or self-deceiving themselves that it could,
defying gravity, somehow succeed, willingly played a shell
game with the Republicans over repealing Obamacare
(which the GOP did not have the votes to pass) and
increasing the national debt limit (which to prevent the
GOP would have to close down the government, an always
GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner seems to have
seen this political environment clearly, but a young and
restless group of his caucus forced him into a corner,
and new and ambitious members of the U.S. senate,
employing the filibuster, made the conservative party
seem to be disruptive instead of what they intended.
A shutdown followed, and the American public’s attention
was averted from the imminent reality of Obamacare.
Finally, the short shutdown was halted, the debt limit was
raised temporarily, and Obamacare was allowed to begin
to be seen in full and clear view.
There are no surprises here. When you pass major
legislation that intends to transform a large part of the
economy without full legislative hearings, no opposition
on the floor of the Congress, and it requires 2500 pages
which the sponsoring legislators admit they have not read
its details, much less its fine print, you are going against
the American grain. When you complicate that with fiscal
assumptions that simply do not add up, and you set out to
turn one of the nation’s largest industries upside down in
a very short period, you have zero chance of success.
I repeat: there are no surprises here. At the very beginning,
the transition and enrollment process was a fiasco. This
was blamed by its promoters on mere technical deficiencies,
i.e., website problems and so forth and so forth. Now it is
becoming clearer and clearer that computer glitches are not
the problem. The whole Obamacare program was sold with
false promises and assumptions. Even if the websites worked
perfectly, Obamcare would be a failure.
Meanwhile, hitherto docile Democratic legislators in the
house and senate, knowing they will have to face VERY angry
voters in less than a year in the 2014 midterm elections, and
remembering the historic political debacle of 2010, seem
suddenly awake to the unfolding catastrophe (millions of
voters losing their insurance, even more millions having to
pay higher rates with less coverage, and insurance companies
simply pulling out of a market now in turmoil).
The U.S. house has taken a first vote to alleviate the problem.
All Republican members voted for it, and 39 Democrats joined
them. This is only the beginning. The Harry Reid “dictatorship”
in the U.S. senate might hold for a while more, but with about
8-10 vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election next
year, an insurrection is inevitable.
I don’t know what will happen next, the legislative
circumstances of Obamacare are unprecedented, but I
do know that Americans don’t like and don’t want
this radical transformation of their healthcare system.
No one can reasonably deny that the previous system needed
reform, but President Obama, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and Majority Leader Harry Reid went much too far in their
radical ideas of a solution.
They did pass their legislation. President Obama signed it.
Its implementation is currently an ongoing debacle. Now it’s
the voters’ turn to speak.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.