Democrats' Plan for ObamaCare Left Out an Important Detail: Republicans


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) is, ah, kind of upset with Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). That's because Baucus, who has claimed authorship of the Finance Committee health care bill that became the basis for ObamaCare, and was a big booster of the law both before and after passage, now seems rather concerned that the implementation process has gone awry. The Montana Senator warned yesterday of a "huge-train wreck" coming as the law's major coverage provisions kick in at the end of the year.

In response, Rep. Pompeo has released a harshly worded letter to Baucus that basically amounts to the congressional version of Adam Sandler's endlessly useful Wedding Singer line about "things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!"  

"Unless you act before it's too late, the American people are going to hold you personally responsible for the failings of this law that negatively impact their jobs, their health, and their families," the letter says. "You drafted it, you twisted arms to get it passed, and, until now, you have lauded it as a model for all the world." There's more, but you get the idea.

The law's supporters are, of course, going to attempt to blame Republicans for its failures—noting, for example, that most Republican governors have declined to implement the law's exchanges, and that Republicans in Congress have not gone along with Democratic requests to top off funding for implementing the law. This is self-evidently silly.

For one thing, ObamaCare was a wholly Democratic creation: Democrats wrote it, passed it, and are now in charge of implementing it. For another, many of the failures aren't directly linked to Republican obstructionism. The delay of the employee choice aspect of the small-business exchanges, for example, appears to be a result of a combination of slow regulatory rollout from the Obama administration and overburdened insurance companies. It's even hard to blame (or credit, as the case may be) Republican governors for trouble with the exchanges; after all, the law was written—by Democrats—to give every governor the choice to either set up an exchange or let the federal government do so. If the law wasn't going to work if some governors opted out, then the fundamental problem is bad legislation, not political opposition.

As for political opposition, Democrats failed to account for that too. It's bad policy design to build and pass a law that relies on the assent of a determined political opposition in order to work. Republicans elected officials made it pretty clear from the beginning that they opposed the law and that they were going to continue to oppose the law; and arguably they had a small-d democratic responsibility to do so: Republican voters have always been quite wary of the health law.  Democrats never really had a plan to deal with Republican opposition to ObamaCare, except to hope it went away. That was a pretty stupid plan. And Democrats deserve responsibility for going with it.

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  1. That was a pretty stupid plan.

    Politicians are pretty stupid people.

    1. But they are cunning – look at Dick Durbin, for example. The guy is no towering intellect, and probably couldn’t hack it in the real world – but he has done everything the Party asked, and as a result has power, and a good paycheck, a pension and slobbering worship of the media.

    2. That was a pretty stupid plan.

      Well, I’m sure they all honestly believed that people would start to like the bill as it rolled out. And they had good reason to believe that because they had intentionally front-loaded implementation with goodies.

  2. Obamacare Seen as Major Threat by McDonald’s Franchisees

    Average Huffpo commentors response: Duuurr KORPURASHUNS, social justice for making poor people fat.

  3. I’m feeling rather iffy as a young man working a tenuous part-time job, and still two years away from my degree. This is either the very best or the very worst time to weather the Obamacare debacle: I may be even more marginally employed and employable at the end of this year than I was at the start, or the whole of it may blow over by the time I’m professionally employed.

    Or maybe I’m wearing rose-tinted glasses in either case by underestimating how bad it will get, and stay.

    1. Go into health care administration or IT. You’re guaranteed 30 years of work.

      1. We’ve got a couple guys on the board working on this type of thing. Who is the one doing the Obamacare coding?

  4. “Democrats never really had a plan to deal with Republican opposition to ObamaCare, except to hope it went away.”

    The King of the shitweasels assured us numerous times that after it went into effect we would just love it. I think he and his gaggle of morons actually believed that, and are still holding out hope.

    They are fucking delusional.

    1. Dude, I’m still trying to figure out if he believes his own horseshit or if he just shovels it because it works, and he couldn’t care less if it were true. I really can’t tell and it kind of freaks me out. Can it possibly be both?

      1. I think it is both. When he was young and foolish he believed because it felt right. Then he saw how Washington really works and became disillusioned. Now he keeps it up because it is expected of him and it works to some extent.

      2. “…still trying to figure out if he believes his own horseshit or if he just shovels it because it works…”

        Same here. It is impossible to tell. It really doesnt matter because the effect is the same.

        My strategy for the Dems has evolved from debate and argue to “Fuck you. NO.”

      3. Oh…and watching the votes on the gun bills yesterday makes me think that perhaps it wont be working so much anymore. That gives me a little smile.

        1. I love his little tantrums when he gets shut down. Fucking delicious.

    2. They designed it that way. That’s why they front-loaded implementation with a bunch of goodies. They thought that would switch the polling from a small majority opposing the bill to a small majority supporting the bill. And given our nation’s history I don’t think that was delusional at all. How many times in the past have ignorant voters rewarded politicians for handing out goodies while hiding the costs?

  5. Pompeo was AWESOME during the Solyndra trials. Glad to see him making some noise again.

    1. Yes he was. He introduced American economic neophytes to the phrase “skin in the game”.

  6. I pity the poor fools having kids after this is fully implemented and their wives lose their preferred Ob/Gyn. The monthly bitch sessions will be epic.

  7. The exchange setup thing is such bs.

    Setting up 20 state exchanges should only be marginally more work than setting up 1.

    Are they saying they weren’t prepared to create EVEN ONE exchange?

    1. Are they saying they weren’t prepared to create EVEN ONE exchange?

      No. They aren’t saying that, but it’s the obvious conclusion. They were hoping the republican governors would change their minds and go along with it.

    2. First, no, they were not even marginally prepared to set up a single exchange. Realistically given the complexities of developing ANY software for a government entity they needed to start development work within 6 months of passage of the law**, however since no one knew whether the whole thing would be overturned by the Supremes or a potential Republican administration prior to it’s implementation nobody wanted to sink serious money into that development effort. So very little work was done towards developing the software until after the election and SC ruling but that left them with less than 2 years to do a 5 – 6 year IT project.

      ** = It is not that software developed for the government is any more difficult than software developed for anyone else, it is the 6 million layers of bureaucracy that must be jumped through to make a decision and then still finding out that some petty tyrant with enough authority to make it stick doesn’t like what you did requiring you to change it.

  8. MSNBC will find some way to spin this in the dems favor. I just don’t know how, but they will do it. Blaming recalcitrant governors won’t fly because it’s likely to be a disaster even in states that implemented it. BTW, did you know CA has received about $1B to implement the exchange the state?

    1. Blaming recalcitrant governors won’t fly because it’s likely to be a disaster even in states that implemented it.

      The just won’t even mention the problems that states that do choose to set up exchanges are having. It will just be a steady drum beat of “RETHUGLICUNT OBSTUKSHONIZM”. If they repeat the lie often enough, most people will end up believing it.

  9. Blaming Republican governors for not implementing exchanges is like blaming businesses for keeping their profits overseas or blaming farm corporations for claiming farm subsidies.

    If you don’t want it to happen, don’t make it an option.

  10. For another, many of the failures aren’t directly linked to Republican obstructionism

    Either you’re new at this, Peter, or you’ve never been to California.

    There’s always a Republican that can be blamed for Democratic failure. And if you can’t find a Republican, there’s this new group known as Libertarians you can stick the blame on.

    Because being a Democrat means never having to say you’re sorry.

  11. ObamaCare was a wholly Democratic creation: Democrats wrote it, passed it, and are now in charge of implementing it.

    That’s right, own it, fuckers. OWN. IT.

  12. I’m suprised nobody has mentioned this.

    One thing gun control supporters have said, because a majority of Americans support background checks, Congress must pass this. Shouldn’t if follow that since the majority of Americans don’t support ObamaCare shouldn’t Congress repeal it?

    1. I’ve seen it mentioned with respect to voter ID laws, which can poll in the 70+% range.

      1. That’s a civil rights issue. Owning a gun isn’t a right. But healthcare is.


  13. overburdened insurance companies

    Those poor poor insurance corporations.

  14. The ACA was designed to fail, and its success will be realized when its failure ushers in single payer or socialized medicine.

    That’s the real plan. Only the clueless have any faith in the ACA Rube Goldberg machine.

    Though progressive politicians want ACA to fail, they don’t want to be blamed for its failure. That’s what Republicans are for.

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