Nov 16, 2013

Obamacare or bust!

Yet again we are witnessing how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Well, almost. To recap, Obama and the Democrats passed a previously impossible bill reforming access to healthcare. It cost them the House in 2010 and created a very recalcitrant opponent that has cock-blocked them ever since. But the task had been accomplished. A historic legislation that promised to fix the broken healthcare system was passed. "A BIG FUCKING DEAL" as Biden put it. If it stood, it would forever be associated with Obama.

Still, while passing it was as difficult as a kidney stone, sustaining it was going to be harder. It was almost nullified, but survived by the skin of John Roberts's teeth. And conscience. Repeated efforts to repeal it after that failed. It became the referendum for the 2012 elections, and Obama survived. The final challenge to it came in October 2013 when all the rage boiled over into a shutdown that almost destroyed the faith and credit of the USA.

The price was heavy, but Obama and the Democrats held firm. For once in a very, very long time. They surrendered a lot in their bargaining, but they did not budge on the ACA.

But since the shutdown ended, things have gone south faster than a fugitive making his way into Mexico.

First, the federal website for ACA enrollment crashed. And burned. And crashed. And burned. But fine, it is a website and will recover and even become usable someday. It did however let the recently trounced wingnuts back into the game on offense.

Then came the cancellation of bad insurance policies and Obama's "Read My Lips" moment. "If you like .... you can keep it.  Period!"

Still, a mature president would have simply done a mea culpa and moved on. The bar of success for this plan is set at seven million more insured by March 2014. That is what Obama should be focused on, but no, he and enough of the Democrats panicked.  Landrieu (D - INO) even proposed a bill that aimed to restore these useless plans. 39 Democrats actually sided with the House Republicans in another bill that restores those useless plans.

Then came the jolt from Obama himself. Unilaterally and rather unconstitutionally he announces a "one year extension" for the useless plans, thus gift-wrapping the Republicans enough ammunition so as to make the shutdown a distant memory come November 2014. All for a campaign promise, which he has not exactly been known to keep. Gitmo closure, anyone? Yes, the GOP has blocked his efforts to close it, but it counts as his campaign promise. 

By reacting to correct the cancellations, this broken campaign promise has become what it is being accused of: a lie or executive overreach. The latter on top of the one year delay he announced for small businesses on his own. At the very least this is a dangerous precedent, one which will be easy for future presidents to exploit with justification.

Obamacare has been off to a rocky start, and were it to be successfully implemented, it would result in more people being insured, the rise in insurance premiums being slowed for the next four or five years, and little else. Without a public option, it is a modest improvement with a lot of political baggage.

Now, even that modest proposal looks likely to cost the Democrats big time, and has made Obama the earliest lame duck in recent history.