Thought of the Moment
For the past several months I’ve watched the Obamacare saga unfold. As a current Medicare recipient, and somewhat an outsider, I’ve witnessed the goings-on more with humor than consternation. However, a few days ago the continuing fiasco touched me a bit closer as both an associate and my housecleaning lady informed me of the cancellation of their medical insurance policies, to be replaced with “conforming” policies at substantially increased premiums. It’s now hitting a little closer to home; I can’t resist offering a few comments.
Why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became dubbed “Obamacare,” is unfortunate. Although President Obama initiated the legislation with a set of vague guidelines, he probably had little input into the details as fashioned. It’s equally likely few legislators had any inkling of what was contained in the 2000+ pages which congress enacted and became signed into law March 23, 2010. Actually, the most accurate statement at the time came from then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, when she acknowledged: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” So, when President Obama proclaimed, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan—period,” he probably believed what he was saying.
It’s equally clear why the president is now attempting to rescind millions of scheduled health policy cancellations until after the November 2014 elections. Should they go into effect, it may cost enough Democratic senators their jobs that the Republicans will control the Senate for the final two years of his term. Of course, how legislation enacted by congress and signed into law can be invalidated by presidential edict is unclear. Whether he can rule by executive decree is still to be determined.
A final thought: Despite the many criticisms and uncertainties, I’m convinced the ACA will remain on the books and eventually operate much as its creators envisioned. The reason for this is as presidential candidate Mitt Romney observed in 2012: that 47% of Americans must be written off as exhibiting no personal responsibility. More than a year has passed since then; we’re most likely now past 50%. When more than half the voters are on the dole, the dole will never end. To quote George Bernard Shaw: “A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul.”