In the Beginning…

In the beginning, God said “let everyone have health care.” Ummm, errrhhh, well, no he didn’t. Contrary to the declarations of the United Nations (oh, the irony) and World Health Organization, (click here to read) the right to receive health care is not a God given mandate. Nor is the right to receive health care found anywhere in the United States Constitution. Now, does that mean that a Liberal (to refresh your memory on the difference between Liberalism with a capital L and today’s mind-numbingly inane American liberal-small case l-click here ) should not aspire to provide health care for the populace? I would argue that it does not. A Liberal (capital L) society should absolutely seek to protect and preserve the well being of its people. 

Here’s the rub; Obamacare was noble in intent, and horribly wrong ( by design-more on this to follow) in execution. Obamacare was dead on arrival because it was driven by liberals (small case l) who believe the government is the source of all solutions. If you took the time to click on the definition of Liberal you would know that original Liberals did not look to government to solve their problems. 

You could (with good reason) take me to task for declaring Obamacare dead on arrival, since as I type it remains the governing health care law of our land. But folks, it is failing, and it is failing because it was intentionally flawed from the outset. Here is the ugly secret no one discusses: President Obama intended for its structure to implode because from the beginning he wanted a “single payer system” (click here for more on that.) The only way President Obama could achieve his end game was to set insurance companies up to fail. By not allowing commerce across state lines, and by continuing to feather the nests of plaintiff’s attorneys from coast to coast (thus driving up health care costs because of runaway tort liabilities) the President knew that eventually Obamacare would be crushed under its own weight and the next step would be to oust the private sector and let the Government come running to the rescue through the single payer system!

Then we have the Republicans. What a nightmare. In the beginning, they promised to repeal this flawed law and replace it with a law that would work. In the end, they failed. Time will tell whether they revisit Obamacare, but what a mess they have made of what should have been a great success story. 

If the Republicans don’t learn from this debacle, they are in a world of hurt. I have said it before and I say it again. Compromise is not a dirty word. The fact that moderate Republicans thought the replacement bill was too draconian, and conservative Republicans thought it was too moderate probably means it was just about right; not perfect, mind you, but infinitely better than where we were and remain today. Shame on Republican obstinance. If this behavior is replicated in the upcoming discussions around tax reform, the Republicans will be signing their death warrant as a leadership party. I know I have been wrong ( with regularity!) on many topics in the past 24 months, but you can put that prediction in the books. 

In the beginning, there was hope. There is still hope, but the hill just got steeper and more obstacles are blocking the path. It’s time for leaders to lead. The next few months will determine whether the we have witnessed the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end. 


  1. says

    I see your first point except how do you explain Medicare? Won’t you get coverage from Medicare at age 65? Doesn’t all insurance by employers stop at 65? Medical insurance is the biggest concern of all Americans – I hear it all the time from friends. I wish I understood more about the pitfalls of Obamacare.

    • says

      I would not support a replacement plan that does not take care of our elders. I was simply trying to counter this oft-repeated claim by the “left” that healthcare is a God-given right. It simply isn’t!

  2. Cousin Quirk says

    well said….sadly the hurt is felt by those least able to feel the hurt….the Great Ronald Reagan said “half a loaf is better than no loaf”…Best Cousin Quirk

  3. David Hedges says

    Jim, I will resist responding to some of your wilder claims such as that Obamacare was intended to fail. It was Obama’s signature accomplishment and he did not want it to fail. Also it is not imploding or exploding, whatever the pejorative de jure. It is in trouble in some markets because of sabotage by the Republicans and because of compromises made at the time it was enacted. To obtain buy-in from insurance carriers, the law had a provision that essentially guaranteed the carriers against loss. Marco Rubio proudly touted his leadership in repealing this provision a couple years ago. The repeal resulted in the carriers losing close to one billon dollars a year. More importantly, it failed because young healthy people did not sign up. All healthcare systems including Medicare and most corporate health plans work because the young people pay a large premium for healthcare they probably won’t need to subsidize older insureds. In Obamacare the mandates (which were originally proposed under Nixon by Heritage Foundation and other conservatives) were intended to force young people to sign up. To work, the tax penalty for failure to buy insurance has to be at or near the cost of insurance. During the negotiation of Obamacare the amount of the penalty was drastically reduced to a sum far below the cost of insurance to a young person. As many experts predicted, this was a fatal flaw and resulted in young people paying the penalty and not purchasing coverage. The insurance carriers participating in the exchanges were thus left with older and sicker people and some lost money. Two easy fixes to Obamacare would be to restore the money taken away by Rubio and to make the penalties for not having insurance much higher. Instead of negotiating these easy fixes, the Republicans have now shot themselves in the foot or even somewhere more painful. Given the Freedom Caucus position that is dictated by the Kochs (read “Dark Money” if you have not ) and the moderates who have tens of thousands of people in their districts covered by Obamacare, Ryan’s Obamacare light was doomed from the start. The fun will really begin when Trump tries tax reform which is ten times tougher. David

    • says

      David, thanks for taking the time to write and being so thoughtful. I agree with most of what you say regarding why Obamacare is in trouble. I do not agree with the premise that the President did not want a single payer system. He did and he does. He took this because it was what he could get. And he didn’t touch tearing down the ridiculous prohibitions preventing health care from being offered across state lines because he didn’t want to touch anything that was objected to by the all powerful plaintiff’s bar. He ended up supporting a structure that was doomed to fail. There is too much empirical evidence to suggest otherwise. Parenthetically, I know a lot of people who are not well off who simply chose to pay the onerous penalty because their health care options skyrocketed after this bill became law. I support the notion of providing a safety net for all…but it won’t work unless those who sponsor the bill will take on all special interests, and that starts with the plaintiff’s attorneys.

  4. Patrick lemp says

    Jim…nice piece which I generally agree with…the real problem is the republicans had seven years to get their act (I really wanted to use another word) together and come up with a workable plan ( hard work)… but they didn’t…it was much easier to rant on the horrors of Obamacare
    I am most disappointed in my man Paul Ryan who I still respect…but who did a poor job of making sure a workable bill came together. He rushed this in an effort to get senor trumpy a win.
    Furthermore I fear your/ my hope for further wins on items such as tax reform many be difficult to achieve due to the fracturing of the Republican Party and the loss of moderate voices. At what point did a founding principal of democracy…compromise… become a dirty word.

    I hope for the best as always…but the immediate future with the child narcissist as ruler..looks bleak to me

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