An infamous occasion passed last week with little fanfare as senile president Joe Biden and his White House staff commemorated and celebrated the twelfth anniversary of the passage of Obamacare. There wasn’t exactly birthday cake and party hats to mark the incident, but
there might as well have been. The federal government’s biggest boondoggle baby ever is now a tween, and heaven knows what the ogre will grow into as a teenager.
Has it really been that long?
The answer is an emphatic yes. It’s been twelve long years since the enormous struggle to pass some sort of national federal healthcare initiative concluded, a battle that actually broke out decades before when then-first lady Hillary Clinton testified before early 90’s congressional committees on the crackpot impulse of making health insurance coverage a right for the entire U.S. population. Darn the costs! Democrats never considered how much anything would cost when they imposed their grand schemes to lock up the votes of the lazy, entitled, unmotivated and moocher class (which unfortunately seems to be getting larger) on us.
I recall reading the news the day Obama signed Obamacare and thinking the United States would never be the same afterwards. Looking back, I feel I was prescient. If Democrats could pass that stinker using all of their sinister procedural tricks, what couldn’t they do? The sky’s the limit!
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the bill’s successful journey through the process didn’t end the matter. The American public’s mood turned very dark after the Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, passed the proposal just so we could find out what was in it. Obama still lists the law that bears his name as his signature accomplishment and Democrats unite like pack dogs on a hunt whenever it’s advocated to get rid of it.
Some people forget how it was just two years ago, during the Democrat 2020 presidential primary debates, when senile Joe had to defend Obamacare against his party’s rabid socialist contingent who preferred to ditch the whole thing in favor of the much more comprehensive and expensive Medicare for All outrage. It was almost as though Biden was the one encouraging smaller government. What a farce.
Obamacare marked somewhat of a turning point in American politics, one that the Republican Party has wholly failed to take advantage of. But it was all smiles (behind masks, of course) for Democrats last week as they finally had something to celebrate -- even if the original accomplishment occurred a dozen years ago.
“President Biden marked the 12th anniversary of the health care law he championed under former President Barack Obama by extolling its reach to more than 30 million Americans and warning Americans that Republicans will try to scrap the program if they win control of Congress.
“Mr. Biden said a record-high 14.5 million Americans enrolled in private insurance through Obamacare’s websites during the recent signup period and the 2010 law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage for the poor covers an additional 18.7 million people. He suggested those numbers could be rolled back if Republicans overtake Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
“’We’ve made tremendous progress, but our work is far from over. Over the last 12 years, Republicans in Congress have voted more than 70 times to repeal the [Affordable Care Act], with no real plan to replace it,’ Mr. Biden said in a written White House statement. ‘As Republicans try to raise health care costs for the middle class, congressional Democrats and I will do everything in our power to protect and build on Obamacare’s landmark achievements.’”
It isn’t often that senile Joe is to be taken at face value, but he’s no doubt speaking the truth here. On the ever-shrinking list of issues Democrats seem to own, healthcare is one of them. For some reason, a majority of the U.S. population was suckered into believing that it’s better to have the federal bureaucracy handling healthcare insurance coverage decisions and controlling prices for care than it is to do it oneself. It’s a basic and naive mistrust of the market and individual responsibility that Republicans haven’t done a very good job of selling alternatives.
Much was written at the time about Democrats attempting to take over one-seventh of the national economy in one fell swoop, and there’s been precious little pushback from the Republican establishment in the form of serious, in-your-face repeal efforts. As you may recall, Republicans campaigned throughout 2010 promising to repeal Obamacare. The “replace” part didn’t come until later. In the beginning, it was enough to get Americans animated and motivated to vote GOP by promising them to ditch the law wholesale, mostly before any of the provisions even took effect. It’s arguable that Republicans’ first and best opportunity to do it was in early January of 2011, when the new Republican House majority could’ve voted on a one-page bill to toss the toxic monster in the garbage bin.
To be fair, they did pass the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” (H.R. 2), but the Democrat controlled Senate and Obama didn’t go along with it. So what? Republicans could’ve shown right then and there that they were good on their word and established a precedent for future congresses and GOP majorities to act while the iron was hot. The House could’ve done the next best thing by using the lower chamber’s control over the federal purse and starved the law of any funds to implement it.
Instead, the John Boehner-led party establishment corralled a host of wishy-washy moderate big government RINOs and failed to do anything about Obamacare. Many of them said they were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the un-constitutionality of the individual mandate provision for those who remained uninsured.
There was much anticipation of the Supreme Court tossing out the law in its entirety, primarily because there was no severability clause included in the text. Therefore, if the Court had found that Obamacare’s individual mandate wasn’t written according to Congress’s taxing power, that penalty provision couldn’t just be struck from it and have the whole thing survive.
Turncoat Chief Justice John Roberts (in 2012) saved Obama’s legislative rear end by ruling that Obamacare contained a “tax” even though the administration’s lawyers and defenders had argued that there wasn’t one enshrined into it (or it might not have passed in the first place). The nation let out a collective groan as another Republican Court appointee failed to interpret the law as written, just like a generation of justices had gone soft on the abortion issue.
Then there was a government shutdown in 2013 over Obamacare. Obama still wouldn’t budge on altering the law and GOP leaders wouldn’t force him to bend. No wonder Democrats figure Republicans will always cave when it comes to shutting down the government -- because they do it every time. Many thought this was the last best opportunity to kill Obamacare.
In 2017, with a Republican controlled House and Senate and President Donald Trump in the White House, GOP leaders still couldn’t come together to agree on a much scaled-back version of repeal and “replace”. This time the fiend was the late John McCain, who pulled the plug on his support, literally at the eleventh hour. The Arizonan then delivered a passionate speech calling for going back to the old days and a return to regular process in devising legislation. Yeah, sure, John. Democrats don’t give a rodent’s turd about doing things the right way.
By consistently failing to force Democrats’ hand on Obamacare, Republicans have left the issue open for slimy politicians like senile Joe and waves of Democrat candidates to campaign on healthcare. How many commercials have there been about Republicans threatening to end federal coverage, and how many close elections have swayed based on liberals demagoguing the subject? With the overblown COVID-19 hype in 2020, they were doing it again with enthusiasm, scaring the bejesus out of low information voters.
Some of the critiques are valid. Conservatives and Republicans should’ve long ago devised legislation establishing widely popular health savings accounts while also providing for the sale of private insurance plans across state lines so as to allow the market to help lower costs. Many have also surmised that consumers need to know the true price of health services before they go for care, rather than just plopping down a copay and having the insurance company cover the rest.
Senile Joe, Nancy Pelosi and Chucky Schumer managed to sneak more hundreds of billions in subsidies for Obamacare into their COVID “relief” package they passed on a party-line vote a year ago. Howell’s article noted that the subsidies run out in a year, and the Democrats will fight like crazy to get them extended so as to mask the real budget busting nature of Obamacare.
As for now, Obamacare looks as though it has new life. Even if Republicans manage to win majorities after this year’s elections, there’s no way senile Joe would refrain from vetoing a bill that cuts into his and his boss’s legislative legacy. The GOP could use Obamacare as a bargaining chip to force serious cuts in other Democrat programs if they had the gumption.
Don’t hold your breath. No wonder Democrats looked so happy last week.
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