November 1st, 2013

Looking back at Obamacare: three and a half years ago

I am going to post an excerpt from a post I wrote in March of 2010, two days after the ACA was passed and signed into law. I’m not doing it just to say how prescient I was. And I still don’t know exactly how this will pan out in the long run. I’m posting it to show that what’s happening now with Obamacare was not so difficult to predict. In fact, it was rather easy.

Here you go:

…[T]his bill affects people’s lives in the most intimate way possible—their access to health care—and (despite promises to the contrary) the majority of them are concluding that it will ultimately take away from them more than it will give. They judge that it will take not only more money from them, but their present access to medical choice, something most are quite satisfied with now. They calculate that it will take away the high standards of medicine and particularly medical innovation they have come to expect in this country. And it may even take away the country’s solvency, already highly compromised.

All this has been done by the government without their consent—unless you believe that, once an election has occurred, anything that government chooses to do is by definition done with the people’s consent, even if the government’s plans had been misrepresented before the election.

Arguments that Obama campaigned and was elected on this particular bill are ludicrous (worse than ludicrous: transparently duplicitous). The centerpiece of his campaign was a new bipartisanship and transparency, and some general sort of health care reform was going to be part of it. But the specific provisions of this bill (including, for example, the individual mandate, which he had explicitly disavowed) most certainly were not, nor was this process of bill passage. His most oft-stated promise—that you could keep your current health plan if you like it—has become another joke (unless you understood that the promise came with an expiration date of a year or two).

No, there has never been another bill like it. Historical. The comparisons to Social Security or Medicare are laughable as well. Yes, there was some opposition to both among conservatives of the time. But they were very much minority voices and did not carry the day even within the Republican Party. Both bills were hugely popular with large majorities of Americans, and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. No one had to go out afterwards to “sell” them like a snake-oil pitchman; they had already sold themselves.

The process by which the bills passed was the normal one, as well. And, more importantly (even though we see the enormous fiscal costs now), they were mostly seen at the time as “win-win” situations by the American public. Nearly everyone paid into them and everyone would be getting something out of them, and for the vast majority of Americans they did not replace better benefits that were already in place.

In contrast, the current bill is seen as taking from the many to benefit (theoretically, at least) the few, as threatening mightily to endanger the economy of the entire country, and was rammed through against the will of the American people. That’s the sort of “historical” we could have done without.

Big F-ing deal, indeed.

I got a bit of a chill reading that, I must say. And it’s not even Halloween anymore.

6 Responses to “Looking back at Obamacare: three and a half years ago”

  1. M J R Says:

    Just makes me wonder (yet again) just how much or what it will take for sufficiently many people to “get it”.

    Are we getting there? Are we even close yet?

  2. Tom Murin Says:

    “By any means necessary.” That’s the bottomline for the Libs. So Obama had to lie – so what. It’s for our own good (and I believe they think that everyone will thank them for it at the end of the day). They are playing chess while we’re playing checkers?

  3. Gringo Says:

    I got a bit of a chill reading that, I must say. And it’s not even Halloween anymore.

    But today is All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead, depending on your religion and where you live. Certainly you can make something of that. Here in TX, Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos is widely celebrated.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_dead
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints%27_Day

  4. T Says:

    ” . . . the current bill is seen as taking from the many to benefit (theoretically, at least) the few . . . .”

    No surprise here. We live in world where a single individual with a single objection thwarts the will of a 99% majority.

    The founding fathers were particularly worried about the “tyranny of the majority.” They failed, however, to forsee the tyranny of the lone voice; perhaps their single most serious failing.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    M J R,

    my estimate in 2006-8 was that it would take 100 WACOs before Americans wake up more or less in the majority.

    There’s been like one or two, if you add all the incidents together, but we’re not near 50 yet.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    They failed, however, to forsee the tyranny of the lone voice; perhaps their single most serious failing.

    The tyranny of the majority Is the 1% ruling over the 99%.

    That’s what they figured out and why they instituted Senates, Republican based system, and Plato concepts.

    Whenever you have a group of 51% deciding things, inside that group another 51% decides what the 51% decides. So essentially 26% is deciding what will happen to the 74%. Then within the 26%, there’s another 14% that decides for that group what happens. So on and so forth, until you get to a group of 3 percenters, and 2% of them makes for a majority decision.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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