Topics: Obamacare

Obamacare is its own worst enemy

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Noemie Emery,Columnists,Obamacare,President,Health Care,Federal Budget,Analysis,Constitutionality

"Saboteur" is a 1942 Hitchcock thriller about World War II treachery.

It is also the tag that Norm Ornstein (who ought to know better) and a stable of other liberal bloggers are trying to hang on the Republican Party concerning the launch of health-care implementation, which thus far is not going well.

But this assumes that health care needs to be sabotaged in order to be a disaster, while the truth seems to be that it carries the seeds of disaster within itself and seems almost designed to implode.

Every week -- every day, almost -- tells the tale of some glitch that needs to be adjusted or seen to, some client group seeking exemption or waivers, some wholly predictable problem that no one foresaw.

Who could ever have dreamed, for example:

• That the proposed tax on medical devices would threaten to stop the creation of new methods of treatment?

• That the effort to make religious people and/or institutions fund things like abortion would lead to the predictable outbreak of rows and of lawsuits?

• That doctors would plan to retire en masse due to the staggering new burdens of regulations and paperwork?

• That the employers' mandate would stop business growth, prevent hiring, force employers to replace full-time employees with part-timers who get no health care or benefits?

• That it would kill off what was planned as "recovery summer" for five unbroken years in a row?

Even Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, a backer, has called it a train wreck. Who ever dreamed that such things could happen? Surely not they.

And who ever dreamed that passing a huge bill that affected every American citizen in the teeth of a strong and intense opposition was a great way to win hearts and minds?

That great measures shouldn't be passed upon narrow partisan majorities is rule one of politics, but this act had deep, wide, majorities lined up against it, which the Democrats did their best to inflame.

When the act in itself made Massachusetts angry enough to vote for Scott Brown as a way to defeat it, they rammed the bill through on a technical loophole, a great go-to-hell note to millions of people who had made their views clear in many town meetings, two prior elections, and an unending series of polls.

Ornstein thinks the GOP deals in "disruption" and "turmoil," hoping to gain by creating disorder. But the real disruption was caused by the bill itself, which broke a great bond of trust between people and government.

And the "turmoil" is the continued attempt by most of the public to rid itself of an act forced upon it by irregular methods, and whose impact it quite justly fears.

Ornstein finds the resistance to this "contemptible" and "unprecedented," but such words best describe this flawed act of Congress, conceived in arrogance, written in carelessness, and forced down the throats of an unwilling public with a contempt for its judgment not seen here before.

As for the governors and congressmen who don't want to enforce it, the words for their acts is "balance of powers" -- the division of force that gives many outlets for voters' expression -- and they are doing exactly what their constituents put them in office to do.

The states aren't obliged to expand Medicaid or to set up exchanges, and members of Congress are free to say and to pass what they like. But nothing they can say or do can damage the bill more than the bill does itself, as it every day proves itself more catastrophic.

Each day it makes sabotage seem more redundant. Hitchcock could have made a film about that.

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