ObamaCare Was Designed, Passed, and Implemented by Democrats. Obviously Republicans Must Be Responsible for Its Failures

Credit: WhiteHouse.govCredit: WhiteHouse.govIt was probably inevitable that as ObamaCare began to fail, Republicans would get the blame. After all, Republican legislators in Congress didn’t vote for it, Republican voters have never supported it, and nearly every Republican governor has let the federal government build and run the law’s health exchange in their state. Republican critics of the law warned before it was passed that it would be too expensive, to complicated, and too onerous on both individuals and businesses. So of course now that the implementation process has begun to reveal signs of trouble, it’s the Grand Old Party’s fault. Who else could possibly be responsible?

If you want the complete argument for why Republicans are the culprit here, you can find it in Think Progress health wonk Igor Volsky’s piece making the case for, in his words, “why Republicans are to blame for ObamaCare’s delays.” The piece is hooked to this week’s announcement that the choice option in ObamaCare’s small business exchanges would be delayed for a year, and the short version is that because Republicans refused to implement the law themselves in the states and have declined to provide additional funding for implementation at the federal level, the GOP is on the hook for delays and failures.

It’s hard to blame Republicans for the delay of the small business choice option: it’s not something that Republicans have focused on to any great degree, and the main reasons for the delay seems to be a the technical challenge of designing a multitude of plans that fit the exchange requirements and the administrative burden of having to design those plans while working on other exchange features in the law. Republican opposition doesn’t have anything to do with it.

Overall, Volsky makes a good try, but sorry, no: Democrats are to blame for the failures and problems of a law designed by Democrats, passed by Democrats, and implemented by Democrats. That it is not working now is the fault of the people who said it would work, decided to try making it work, and are now tasked with the responsibility to make it work. They are failing, and the law is failing because of them—not because of Republicans.

More generally, though, this offers a lesson in why it’s ill advised to pass major legislation on strict party lines that is supported by neither the opposition party nor the bulk of the public. Especially when the law is predicated on the assumption that the opposition will cheerfully help with implementation. That Democrats seem to have assumed that Republicans would give in and play ball suggests some mix of deep arrogance, wishful thinking, and willful ignorance of the national political dynamic. It’s just plain bad policy design: A law passed by Democrats that can only work if Republicans decline to oppose the law is a law that almost certainly will not work.

And sure enough, three years after passage, ObamaCare shows signs that it might not be quite as wonderful as promised. But ObamaCare’s supporters are so determined to avoid admitting that it might be a failure—or even just less functional than they insisted it would be—that they are refusing to take responsibility for the politically troubled bureaucratic mess they created. 

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  • fish||

    This is why assholes like T o n y desperately need republicans! There always needs to be someone else to serve as the receptacle for blame when their piece of shit legislation goes down in flames.

  • -Umbriel-||

    My suspicion is that the "lack of cooperation" on steamrollered legislation isn't an unforeseen mishap, it's become part of the accepted dynamic. Nobody in government gives much thought to problems of implementation or the actual efficacy of the legislation they pass. They pass legislation solely as a symbolic gesture to their constituency. The failure to fix anything can always be spun as they other guys' fault.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Losers.

    It's retarded at this point.

  • The Original Jason||

    +1

  • ||

    "you can find it in Think Progress"
    *shudders*

  • mr simple||

    This just in: partisan pundits are nothing more than lying, hypocritical TEAM mouth pieces. More at 11.

  • ||

    What disappoints me most is that there has been not a single state, or even governor, which has actually refused to allow the implementation of the law in their territory. It's saddening that the members of the Union are passively permitting the federal titan to thrust this abomination upon them.

    Are there no strong-willed state governors?

  • RightNut||

    Could they without potentially losing millions of state tax payer dollars in medicaid reimbursements?

  • ||

    That's my point. I wish there were still people in state governments willing to shun all their goodies and just tell the federales to fuck off, once and for all.

  • RightNut||

    Its a lot of money, I would bet most states would be in the red without the money the feds give back to them.

  • ||

    I thought some states were still refusing to implement it (like Texas) and that the supreme court decision said that medicaid reimbursements couldn't be withheld.

  • ||

    Ah I see the difference I guess (letting the Federal government do it)but what else are they supposed to do.

  • ||

    Resist.

  • Almanian!||

    STOP RESISTING!

    (beats Res with a Government Issue® MagLite.

  • Raven Nation||

    Resistance is futile.

  • ||

    Never.

  • Sevo||

    And those rethuglicans? You should see what they're doing to California!

  • Killazontherun||

    Krugnuts California is doing great, and its the austerians fault that it is falling apart.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It doesn't really matter who's to blame. We're stuck with it, and there's no comeuppance for those who are responsible (save the most recent midterm decimation).

  • Trash Hauler||

    I think we're at the tail end of a brief flowering of individual liberty that began in England in the late 17th century, peaked in the U.S. in the second half of the 19th century, and has been steadily declining since about WWI. Shortly we'll return to the despotism that has been the norm for almost all of human history.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bleak.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    You must be mistaken. I've been told small government has been working quite well.

  • John||

    Yeah because it is a regular Stalinist Russia out there. And paradise is just around the corner, just as soon as all people become liberty loving and peaceful. It is going to happen man. I can feel it.

  • ||

    It did until around WWI when we started the march toward our own flavor of what the Europeans were doing.

    We haven't had small government in a hundred years.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Ugh, can we please stop pretending the 19th century was libertopia?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It wasn't libertopia, but there were only two big fights for most of the 19th century: slavery and tariffs.

    As we turned into the 20th century and the proglodytes reared their ugly heads and legalized theft became a moral duty, suddenly the number of battles over the appropriate use of government power exploded.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'm sure Native Americans were proud to be forced off their land at gunpoint by non-progressives who would never tolerated legalized theft.

    Meanwhile if your were female you weren't allowed to own property or work in most of the country. Your "peak" is right at the height of segregation and lynchings. If you were gay, you could imprisoned throught most of the country.

    Even if you were lucky enough to be a white male, society was far more conformist than it is now. Have the wrong political, religious, or social views, life was going to be pretty hellish.

  • geekster||

    But other than all of THAT, it was awesome.

  • Virginian||

    I'm sure Native Americans were proud to be forced off their land at gunpoint by non-progressives who would never tolerated legalized theft.

    "Their" land? I thought Native Americans were all peaceful communalists living in harmony when nature? That's what I learned in school anyway.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I'm sure Native Americans were proud to be forced off their land at gunpoint by non-progressives who would never tolerated legalized theft.

    Nice little bit of obtuseness. Are you talking about the Indians who took up arms against the United States in alliance with the English? Or the Red Sticks of the Creek whose shamans foresaw the extermination of all colonists and did their level best to bring it about?

    Manifest Destiny (a concept endorsed by the Jackson Democrats and opposed by the Whigs) was a load of shit that essentially amounted to "might makes right." But this "noble savage" line you're implying is equal shit.

    Meanwhile if your were female you weren't allowed to own property or work in most of the country.

    Point of fact: Married women could not own property in their own name in many parts of the country or hold employment without their husband's consent. Unmarried women could do both.

    Your "peak" is right at the height of segregation and lynchings.

    When did I say the 19th century was the peak of anything, you dishonest hack?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But this "noble savage" line you're implying is equal shit.

    Yep,

    There was nothing noble in the white man's savage relationship with the Cherokee.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It wasn't libertopia, but there were only two three big fights for most of the 19th century: slavery and tariffs. and railroad subsidization

    It wasn't libertopia, but there were only two three four big fights for most of the 19th century: slavery and tariffs. and railroad subsidization and expansionist wars

    It wasn't libertopia, but there were only two three four five big fights for most of the 19th century: slavery and tariffs. and railroad subsidization and expansionist wars and limits on personal liberty

    ...
  • ||

    That tells you something about how fucked up the rest of human history is that that period of time was probably the most free humanity has ever been.

  • Trash Hauler||

    this offers a lesson in why it’s ill advised to pass major legislation on strict party lines that is supported by neither the opposition party nor the bulk of the public

    We need a lesson in that?

  • Sigivald||

    Evidently about half the country does, yes.

    (I suspect the Republicans might need such a lesson, too, but I can't think of an obvious example.

    I'd suggest the stupid Medicare D entitlement as an example, but I don't think it was nearly as unpopular, merely as partisan.)

  • RightNut||

    Democrats were against Medicare part D because of the "donut hole" in coverage, which was designed to keep costs down, and because it increased the debt. Of course, one of the things Obamacare did was close the donut hole, which further increased the debt.

  • Rich||

    I call it "DemocratCare". The donks own it, lock, stock, and two smoking barrels.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Only because Obama couldn't sell it to the people, his one great failure.

  • Adam330||

    one OF his great failureS

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Nope, the only one. I know because he said so.

  • The Original Jason||

    DonkeyCare!

  • G-dub||

    If only the Republicans had the same ideology, worldview, and policy aims as the Democrats, we wouldn't be having these problems. It's clearly the Republicans' fault.

  • Xenocles||

    Well, after the Democrats spit in the faces of virtually the entire Republican Party in the way they rammed the bill through, the state officials that the implementation relies on who are Republicans aren't too keen on making nice. That's why it's the Republicans' fault.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "We have to pass the bill to find out whose fault it is when it fails."

  • desidesosa||

    up to I saw the receipt saying $9092, I did not believe that my brother realey taking home money in their spare time at there labtop.. there friend brother started doing this 4 only about twenty three months and just paid the dept on their condo and got a new Honda. this is where I went and go to home tab for more detail ... http://www.big76.com

  • Almanian!||

    So - this is why Obamacare's not working?

  • Raven Nation||

    Well, if you keep spending money on condos & Hondas, ain't going to be any left for health care.

  • Hugh Akston||

    We need to focus on paying off the national dept first!

  • PapayaSF||

    I read that as "national derp."

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    No, that would be Patty Murray.

  • ||

    I used to cook meth on a labtop too. Small world man... small world.

  • Tony||

    Republicans resisted this (their own Heritage Foundation plan) on purely political grounds, and made the healthcare reform conversation toxic, all the while pretending there was no healthcare problem to solve. Fuck them. I find Republicans to be responsible for most of the major problems in this country. Obamacare is not among those problems.

  • Sevo||

    "Tony| 4.4.13 @ 5:57PM |#
    "I find Republicans to be responsible for most of the major problems in this country."

    Yeah, well, you're an ignoramus, shithead.

  • fish||

    If they had tried to implement this it would have failed spectacularly as well.

    PS: Fuck Heritage.....rubber stamp factory for TEAM RED Stupid!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    . I find Republicans to be responsible for most of the major problems in this country.

    For the sake of a full disclosure of facts, you are a bit of a moron, so that helps to explain your views.

  • Unindicted Co-conspirator||

    That Tony is still flogging the "ObamaCare was a Republican idea!" canard is first-rate stupid.

    Yes, it was a Republican idea -- in the sense that a few guys from Heritage floated it as a less-bad alternative to HillaryCare, were instantly excoriated for their apostasy by the good folks at Cato, and only ever found a handful of Republican officeholders to sponsor it in Congress.

    TEAM BLUE wants to make out like ObamaCare or something like it was part of the GOP platform until Barky got elected. Transparent bullshit.

  • Tony||

    All policy is compromise under duress. I'm hardly denying the GOP has moved to the right. Does that absolve them of hypocrisy? Who cares? The real problem is they have gotten even stupider.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 4.4.13 @ 9:59PM |#
    "All policy is compromise under duress. I'm hardly denying the GOP has moved to the right. Does that absolve them of hypocrisy? Who cares? The real problem is they have gotten even stupider."
    Well, shithead, the advantage is that whatever team red does, they can't approach you for stupidity, shithead,

  • Unindicted Co-conspirator||

    What the blue hell are you babbling about?

    You're making the claim that ObamaCare is a Republican idea, by way of excoriating Republicans generally for partisan hypocrisy. Your problem is that ObamaCare wasn't a Republican idea in a general sense: it wasn't widely embraced by the grassroots, it never was seriously pushed by influential policymakers; it was just an idea that a few flacks at Heritage came up with as a less-bad alternative to HillaryCare.

    In other words, most of the GOP has been steadfastly opposed to socialized healthcare since we first started having these arguments back during the Clinton administration, and you're a dishonest asshole for pretending otherwise.

  • KPres||

    Exactly. If Obamacare was the Republicans idea, why didn't they pass it after the took over congress in '94, since surely Bill would have signed it?

  • KPres||

    "Yes, it was a Republican idea -- in the sense that a few guys from Heritage floated it as a less-bad alternative to HillaryCare"

    Yep, and it's important to note that Democrats eventually agreed with them...that it was a better plan than Hillarycare...which is why they adopted it as their own.

    Of course, given how bad Obamacare is, all that tells us is that Democrat ideas are EVEN WORSE!

  • Duke||

    Tony Nospaces is right. Democrats are above partisan politics and all of their proposals are moral, reasonable and fiscally sound.

  • Tony||

    Only in comparison.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 4.4.13 @ 10:00PM |#
    "Only in comparison."
    Sarcasm, shithead, and it's not surprising that you're stupid enough to miss it, shithead.

  • Unindicted Co-conspirator||

    ... to the caricature of Republicans that exists only in his mind.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Republicans resisted this (their own Heritage Foundation plan) on purely political grounds...

    Politicians engaging in politics is completely unacceptable unless they are progressive democrats.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "and the main reasons for the delay seems to be a the technical challenge of designing a multitude of plans that fit the exchange requirements and the administrative burden of having to design those plans while working on other exchange features in the law."

    Central planning is hard. Who knew?

  • ||

    Kulak wrecker/hoarder syndrome strikes yet again.

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