American Elephants

Let’s Remember Just Why the Affordable Care Act is such a Mess by The Elephant's Child
June 26, 2015, 6:42 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Health Care, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Harry Reid glumHere is a really important article laying out just exactly why Obama Care is such a mess. Now that Chief Justice Roberts has decided that the intent, the viability of the Affordable Care Act is more legally important than its actual language, it’s worth taking a few moments to remember just how the law was passed, and why the inconsistencies and internal contradictions were not just predictable, but inevitable.

Obama keeps calling it health care and assumes that he has given millions of people who lacked health care a great gift. But he has given them only health insurance, and really poor insurance at that. The American people did not want it, and it polled poorly. The Democratic leadership, fearful that the momentum was failing decided to rush a bill through the Senate before they left for Christmas 2009.

On December 18, Majority Leader Harry Reid merged two separate pending bills into a bill to be voted on by the Senate….  To meet the self-imposed Christmas deadline, Reid provided only six days for debate. The Senate bill passed on a strict party line vote, 60-39.

Few people, including Senators and their staffs, had time to read the whole 2,700 page bill, much less note any possible weaknesses, flaws, or ambiguities. Reid and other Senate Democrats weren’t terribly worried about this. The bill was set to go to the House, then back to the Senate, then to “reconciliation” between the House and the Senate versions, and then to the president for his signature. Everyone thought there would be plenty of opportunities to make changes.

But a major impediment arose soon after the Senate bill passed. Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy had died that past summer, and the January special election to replace him was won by Republican Scott Brown, who ran as a strong opponent of Obamacare. This deprived the Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and meant that the Senate would not be able to pass a revised bill. The only way to pass Obamacare at this point was to have the House vote on identical legislation to the Senate bill, while engaging in legally dubious procedural maneuvering. And that’s what the Democrats did.

They passed the bill as is and a separate reconciliation bill with minor changes, eliminating some of the most obvious flaws, but leaving the rest intact. So they passed a Senate Bill that nobody wanted and that no one had read in its entirety, and no one understood. Obama and the Democrats believed that it would become increasingly popular and Democrats would continue to control both houses of Congress. Anything wrong with it could be quickly fixed.

Didn’t work out that way. The people never liked it and Republicans took over the House and then the Senate, partly because of ObamaCare. Republicans don’t want to fix a law that they unanimously opposed. The Court, it was hoped, would realize that those who rush through a mess of  a law that they haven’t read and don’t understand, with no political support from the other side have to live with the consequences. Instead the majority decided that when the law is unworkable as written they should help out the other branches.

So, you blithely promise Americans who don’t want any such thing that their cost of heath care will go down, that they can keep their doctors, that their medical care will be more efficient, add volumes of regulations and taxes, add a vast bureaucracy to manage it all and make more regulations — pay for the new bureaucracy, then add all sorts of gimmicks sure to reduce costs (that don’t work at all) wrap it up in a computer debacle that only the federal government could manage to come up with, and there you have it. Only a Democrat would believe that could work.

4 Comments so far
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Without fanfare, the GOP has amended Obamacare 36 times since taking office in 2011. The only way that it gets repealed is if there’s a massive groundswell against it between now and November 2016.


Comment by atmsafetypin

Are you assuming then that the GOP doesn’t want to get rid of it? Not true at all. It’s a matter of not having a veto=proof majority. Some claim that Republicans have no alternative plan, but they have too many.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

And good portion of those amendments were things that either weren’t working or were the legalizing through the legislative process things that Obama was trying to get away with by unilateral executive fiat.

Obam is only interested in keeping the PPACA together for another 18 months anyway; once he’s out of office, when the inevitable collapse comes, he’ll just say that, hey, it was successful while he was in office… it’s NOT HIS FAULT that it broke down.


Comment by Lon Mead

I’m beginning to think that way too much is governed by Obama’s need to never be to blame for anything whatsoever, especially in terms of national security. Back in 2008 or early 2009 Richard Epstein (who knew him at U.Chicago, and through his next door neighbor, Obama’s closest friend) said that Obama’s ideas are fixed in concrete, and he does not change his mind. Which could be interpreted as saying that he doesn’t learn from experience. Though enormously self-confident, Obama is self-aware. and knew what subjects he didn’t have much knowledge about — hence the Czars. But he doesn’t seem to know who might be a good adviser, nor does he pay much attention to them anyway. He asks for issues to be presented in short paragraphs with 3 choices of action, and he’ll pick one. Hell of a way to run a country.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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