If President Obama was a Republican…

If President Barack Obama was a Republican, and the health care reform bill had been enacted by a Republican Congress, I would call it a typical Republican sellout to corporate interests.

I would point out that President Obama campaigned on a platform of openness, and yet met secretly with representatives of drug companies and health insurance companies (and not with labor, consumer or health care reform groups) as he worked out his proposal.

I would point out that President Obama campaigned on a promise to provide a public option – a government insurance plan that people could choose if they couldn’t get or didn’t like private insurance – and broke this promise in a secret deal with the drug companies.

I would point out that President Obama campaigned against Senator Hillary Clinton on a promise not to require individuals to sign up for health insurance against their will, and yet signed legislation making the whole uninsured American population a captive market for the big health insurance companies.

I would point out that President Obama campaigned against Senator John McCain on a promise not to tax health insurance benefits, and yet signed legislation taxing the so-called “Cadillac” plans.

I would point out that the legislation signed by President Obama does not control repeal the anti-trust exemption enjoyed by the health insurance industry, nor does it allow the U.S. government to negotiate with drug companies, as foreign governments do, to bring drug costs down, nor does it repeal restrictions on Americans buying drugs in Canada, nor does it allow state governments to experiment with single-payer or public option systems.

I would question whether the subsidies for people who can’t afford insurance will be adequate.  I would question whether the proposed regulation of insurance rates and profits would be workable.

These are the points I would bring up if President Obama were a Republican and Congress were controlled by the Republicans, because I would be able to argue that the Democrats could do better.

But President Obama is a Democrat, the bill he signed was enacted by a Democratic Congress and the only alternative the Republicans have presented is to do nothing.

The Republican Party hasn’t always been like this, and I hope it won’t always be.  Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts proposed a health care plan similar to Obama’s. Even William Kristol, back in the Clinton era when he advised House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich to oppose the Democratic health care reform plan at all costs, felt it necessary to propose alternatives.  As recently as 2007, Republicans worked with Democrats to make constructive proposals. But when President Obama took office, the Republican position has been total opposition, including opposition to proposals that they themselves once made.

I hope the new law will do some good, and provide a framework for further improvement. But it’s possible it will do nothing, and it’s possible it will do harm.

But if nothing had been done, there is no question what would have happened.  Health insurance premiums would have continued to rise.  More and more people would have lost their health insurance. People with insurance would have continued to live in fear of losing it. So that was the choice – something that might not be good and something that clearly would be bad.

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2 Responses to “If President Obama was a Republican…”

  1. Joyce Ireland Says:

    I do believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. Why would anyone allow a person to die simply because they cannot afford health insurance. Doesn’t make sense to me…


  2. philebersole Says:

    The Affordable Care Act will cut the number of uninsured Americans from over 54 million to about 23 million by 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    The uninsured will include (1) illegal aliens, who are barred under the ACA from using insurance exchanges, (2) healthy low-income Americans who choose to pay a fine rather than buy insurance and (3) Americans who are eligible for Medicaid but don’t use it.

    Here is a link to the full Congressional Budget Office report

    Click to access 11-30-Premiums.pdf

    Here is a link to a Washington Post article on the report


    Here is a link to an independent study of how many will still be uninsured

    Click to access 53234.pdf

    On another matter, here is a link which rebuts the claim that President Obama and Congress have exempted themselves from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.



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