In the wake of an unprecedented disastrous launch of a new government website for an unpopular medical program, these Republicans vow to work for the American people and resolve the service problems so that Americans can confidently get the coverage they need.
REP. JOE BARTON (R-TX): “This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches. My goal is the same as yours: Get rid of the glitches. The committee will work closely with yourself and Dr. Mark McClellan at CMS to get problems noticed and solved.”1
REP. TIM MURPHY (R-PA): “Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches. All of us, when our children were new, well, we knew as parents we didn’t exactly know everything we were doing and we had a foul-up or two, but we persevered and our children turned out well. No matter what one does in life, when it is something new in learning the ropes of it, it is going to take a little adjustment.”2
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): “We can’t undo the past, but certainly they can make the argument that we are having this hearing a month late and perhaps we are, but the reality is the prescription drug benefit is 40 years late and seniors who signed up for Medicare those first days back in 1965 when they were 65 years of age are now 106 years of age waiting for that prescription drug benefit, so I hope it doesn’t take us that long to get this right and I don’t believe that it will. And I do believe that fundamentally it is a good plan.”3
REP. PHIL GINGREY (R-GA): “I delivered 5,200 babies, but this may be the best delivery that I have ever been a part of, Mr. Speaker, and that is delivering, as I say, on a promise made by former Congresses and other Presidents over the 45-year history of the Medicare program, which was introduced in 1965 with no prescription drug benefit.4
If you haven’t figured it out by now, these quotes are from a few years ago after what many called a train-wreck of a launch for the Bush administration’s Medicare Part-D program.
It’s interesting that the tumultuous launch of Medicare Part-D which didn’t have good participation until a year after the launch of the new website was so broadly defended and supported by the same GOP that decries the problems with the ACA healthcare.gov website as evidence of a failed policy. When President Bush’s administration had the same bad launch it wasn’t a big deal and with a little elbow grease it would be great, but now with this other guy as President it’s a travesty of biblical proportions and the sign of the End Times.
It’s really a shame that the GOP’s party agenda of making President Obama into a failure is so much more important than the success of Americans. Conservatives were not unanimous in opposition to an individual mandate in the 80s, nor the 90s, and it wasn’t until President Obama took office that it was an affront to liberty and freedom to require insurance. In Massachusetts, Romney’s proposal for healthcare was an individual mandate and he vetoed an employer mandate, but the Democratic Senate there overrode his veto and created a health insurance bill that had both an individual and an employer mandate. Romney was heralded as a success, a visionary, but the man that defeated him in an election the GOP insisted on being entirely about this one issue is somehow an abject failure and leading us down the path to despair.
I choose optimism. I wasn’t expecting a smooth launch and I don’t expect a smooth and perfect next 11 months. I know better than to expect a bunch of old dudes to understand the nuances of technology or have proper expectations of how a series of tubes functions. I do believe what is called “Obamacare” is the best chance Americans have at controlling the mechanical bull of medical costs facing our country, largely due to no viable alternative being presented by the opposition. They’re content to sink countless hours and millions of dollars into frivolously building blockades instead of bridges that should span the rifts between ideologies and [pullquote align=right]when you withhold any assistance and stand in the way of the success of Americans, you have waived your right to be smug and say “I told you so,” [/pullquote]especially when you are doing everything possible to stack the deck against it. Best example of this is probably Florida, which refused to participate in Medicaid expansion and wouldn’t take millions of dollars in funding to cover families in poverty that cannot afford to purchase insurance. The sole reason for doing this is so they can point to a number that represents all the people that can’t afford insurance under the Affordable Care Act; to point and laugh and high-five each other while they change the narrative away from the country succeeding to President Obama failing when the reality is that they are unwilling to even try anything to help those same families and they’re certainly not willing to follow the lead of this particular President for whatever reason they come up with next.
It’s played-out, and I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing this same drum being banged every single day by the same people about how the United States is being destroyed by that mean man in the White House that supposedly hates America. I can’t even take that seriously because it’s not worth treating as a serious position. I’m tired of the nonsense about his imaginary socialist agenda, his Marxism, his fascism, classism, racism, and all the other things people come up with to explain away their irrational hatred of the President and I think it is a special kind of toxicity that does nothing but further polarize people and drive them away from each other. Not even just each other, but it drives people away from reason and rational thought. Look at how the gun lobby managed to tell a tall tale about the government coming to take their guns, when it never happened. It sure did drive up ammunition sales and gun purchases though, which is precisely all the NRA ever wanted to do for their clients.
It’s been mentioned in the press a lot that when polling people about “Obamacare” there are a lot of people who seem opposed to it. Never mind that when questioned on each part of the Affordable Care Act, people are overall in favor of provisions, which is good news for the kochteasers5 that worked so hard and spent so much money to successfully rebrand legislation many people wanted into a terrible failure before it was even in effect.
Every time I hear that we need to delay or need to come up with a compromise I get frustrated. There already was a compromise. You’ve already got it! The far-left wanted single-payer, and the spectre of socialized medicine successfully killed that plan before it even got off the ground. [pullquote]The only constructive path forward was the Affordable Care Act and it is the compromise and it is the uniquely American solution to this problem.[/pullquote] If you believe at all in “American Exceptionalism” it’s time to show it, because the Affordable Care Act is the result of American Ingenuity. It was designed to combine the resources and subject-matter expertise of the insurance industry with the goals and well-being of the entire country.
I have to question the motives and even patriotism of anyone that actively attempts to subvert this course of action or set our country up to fail in this task. It would inspire confidence and show real leadership to acknowledge the ideological disagreement and work together anyway on the things we do agree on. There is no point in battling over the things you’ve already made up your mind about. That isn’t a debate; it is a frivolous circle-jerk to trivialize the future of the people they’ve been sent to represent.
The bus has left, the Affordable Care Act is the law and some of us need to get over it before they miss more opportunities to get out of the way and let this country succeed, even if it means letting it happen on Obama’s watch.