Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: POTUS Idea For Open Debate–Too Little, Too Late

Back in the heady days of summer, President Obama and the leaders of the House and Senate wore arrogance about passing Obamacare like a stylish coat. Ram it through, was the order of the day, as the mounting protests from the grassroots were dismissed and denigrated as just “tea baggers,” or “racist haters,” but absolutely nothing about which to be concerned. So, “the process” as our political technocrats like to call it, was shoved through, bloated to an obese 2700 pages, and completed with crass backroom deals.

I began to sense they were wrong, not about the racist haters part–that was always ridiculous–but about the nothing about which to be concerned part, back in August. As recounted here, I was invited on very short notice to speak to a town hall meeting in Louisville. I expected maybe 150 people–and 1500 turned up, the air crackling with democratic determination.  It was then that I knew something big was really up–especially after Harry Reid called such committed democratic participants “evil mongers.”

Over the next several months, President Obama got creamed in the healthcare debate, with Obamacare now approved in several polls by a mere 35 or so percent of the people, and the Senate seat in MA going to an unknown Republican who explicitly ran on the plank of defeating the bill. So now, after his political hat has been handed to him, Obama wants openness and a fair vote. From the story:

At the fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee later on Thursday, however, Mr. Obama said that once Congressional Democrats had worked out their differences and settled on a final bill, he would push for a vibrant, public debate over the health care legislation. He said he planned “to call on our Republican friends to present their ideas.”

“What I’d like to do is have a meeting whereby I am sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health care experts and let’s just go through these bills,” Mr. Obama said. “Their ideas, our ideas. Let’s walk through them in a methodical way, so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense. And then I think that we have got to move forward on a vote. We have got to move forward on a vote.”

Too late. A bill with those kind of changes should receive full committee workups and analysis, not just inserted clauses and a vote, particularly since Obamacare’s benefits–as opposed to its costs–wouldn’t begin until 2014 anyway.

If POTUS and company had really wanted a measured and centrist reform, this approach should have been taken from the beginning. Now, it is just a means of trying to save face by cramming through something–anything. Better to wait until after the mid terms and then introduce targeted reform that doesn’t seek to remake the entire health care system. Obamacare is too flawed, its supporters already on record as wanting it as a shell in which to later reinsert all the bad stuff, to permit it to pass now that it has been soundly defeated in the public square.