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Rooting against Obamacare

Posted: November 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.

So let’s get some things straight right off the bat: Yes, Obamacare’s rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. And yes, some people have lost their insurance plans despite President Obama’s assurances that if they were happy with what they had they could keep it.

It’s been a crummy month for the Obama administration’s signature achievement.

It’s also true that President Barack Obama has apologized for these screw-ups, frequently and unconditionally — which is more than you can say for any of the mega-disasters that President Bush was responsible for.

And that’s a key difference between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats admit when they’re wrong — eventually — but Republicans stick to their guns, unapologetic no matter how huge and obvious their errors in judgment.

For instance, to this day both President Bush and Vice President Cheney still insist that launching pre-emptive war against Iraq was the right thing to do, and that the real failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina were the fault of the local authorities in Louisiana.

Just as a thought exercise, can you name one obvious mistake made by the Bush administration — and there are plenty to choose from, from fumbling the warnings that led to 9/11 to failing to capture Osama Bin Laden — that resulted in President Bush directly apologizing to the American people?

It seems Republicans believe that apologizing is a sign of weakness, and that if you never admit responsibility for any failure it projects confidence and strength, as if you’re somehow fooling the public into believing you’re infallible.

The thing is, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t admit you have one. For instance, if you don’t admit that having millions of uninsured Americans is a problem, you don’t have to address it — which has been the national Republican policy since health insurance was invented.

Republicans believe that health care is a privilege, not a basic human right, which is why they’re ideologically opposed to a universal single-payer health care system — Medicare for all.

Many Democrats would prefer this, but they know it would’ve been politically impossible to push through Congress.

So Democrats responsibly compromised by adopting a Republican think-tank-generated free-market health care solution, hoping it would lead to bipartisan acceptance of a national plan to cover millions of uninsured Americans.

Not only did this option fail to get a single Republican vote, but this conservative solution was suddenly dubbed a “socialist plot” and a “government takeover” of health care now that Democrats were advocating for it.

And now that this plan is experiencing some birthing pains, Republicans are gleefully savoring every new problem, openly rooting for its failure — and ignoring the irony that the biggest problems with the program have to do with keeping private insurance companies as an intrinsic part of the solution, i.e., the conservative roots of this plan.

A few things to remember about the current glitches with the launch of Obamacare. First off, just because the website isn’t working doesn’t mean that Obamacare itself won’t work.

Websites get fixed; if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be any websites. Just because there were tons of bugs in

Apple’s iOS7 operating system doesn’t mean that Apple should go out of business.

Second, Obamacare has already been beta tested: It’s called “Romneycare,” and it’s been a genuine success in Massachusetts for years.

We don’t have to speculate whether it will work or not — it’s already working today, and no one is lobbying to dismantle it because it’s cost jobs or wrecked the state economy.

Third, those insurance policies people have been complaining that they liked and have lost due to Obamacare?

Well, the vast majority of them are crappy bait-and-switch policies with lousy coverage and high deductibles — basically, insurance “in name only.”

Most of those policies have been canceled because they don’t meet the basic standards of Obamacare — standards designed to protect consumers from bad policies that risked sending them into bankruptcy if anything went wrong.

What are some of those “outrageous” requirements that Obamacare demands of new insurance policies? Oh, crazy stuff like emergency room visits, hospitalization, lab tests, prescription drugs, outpatient care — you know, over-the-top luxuries like that.

Republicans argue that not everyone can afford to drive a Cadillac and that some people are content with lesser, more affordable insurance plans.

But that’s the thing about leaving your health care up to the mercy of the free market: no one would willingly choose to have the used “Yugo” of health insurance plans unless they were forced to.

Conservatives deem Obamacare a failure even though it doesn’t go into effect until March 2014.

Meanwhile, supply-side economics has been ongoing since 1981, and despite its utter failure to create the jobs promised, raise wages or shrink the ever-widening income gap, Republicans still believe it’ll kick in any day now.

Obamacare may indeed require some major adjustments to scale up to the national level, but no matter the right wing’s premature eulogies, the jury is still out on its ultimate success or failure.

Charlie Vignola is a former college Republican turned liberal Democrat. He lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.


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