Let’s put politics aside for a moment. Forget about Senator Ted Cruz, the Tea Party, the House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Let us instead use rational, empirical argument to look at the current situation.
By every objective analysis, Obamacare is flawed.
In many ways, it is deeply flawed. It’s not perfect by any measure; even President Obama says so. Any honest assessment of the Healthcare.gov website and the accompanying program arrives at the conclusion that the roll-out was badly bungled. Why not delay the implementation of the program by a year to give everyone time to work out all the flaws and have the system operational?
Now, my liberal friends will start to say, “You just want to delay Obamacare so you can try to kill it again!” or “You just want to delay Obamacare so that the President will be embarrassed!” Both statements may well be true, but then again, so what? Are you saying that you would rather have Obamacare as-is, without any fixes, so that Republicans and Conservatives like myself can point out the failings on a daily basis? Are you saying that protecting the President from embarrassment is more important than fixing the problem?
Functionally, it’s kind of the equivalent of being sold a new car that was promised by the manufacturer to be a top-of-the-line machine with every whiz-bang feature imaginable, and when you’re ready to drive that shiny new car off the lot it won’t start. So the car dealer brings out a set of jumper cables, and after a few tries, gets your car started, but it dies again before you can get halfway out of the lot. Then, the wheels fall off, the paint starts to peel and the oil starts to leak. Completely flabbergasted, you look at the dealer and he shrugs, saying “Well, these things happen.” Outrage would be the correct response. To add insult to injury, if you discovered that the car manufacturer had actually recalled a few earlier models (the delayed employer mandate, the major changes to Obamacare), you may well demand a complete refund.
As indicated in the tables above provided by the Heritage Foundation, the impact of Obamacare is very real and very substantial. It’s not imaginary. Even though they were promised that their premiums would go down, many people are grappling with the unpleasant surprise that they will be forced to pay more–much more–on healthcare than they do now. Even though they thought they would be able to keep the healthcare they liked (because they were promised as much),Thousands of people are finding that they are being dropped or that their coverage is being taxed for being “too good”.
And to top it all off, the easy to use, customer-friendly website the administration promised has been a boondoggle and nightmare. The current state of the Helathcare.gov website leaves much to be desired, even when it is ostensibly “up and running” (see image at top of post).
Senator Ted Cruz released the following statement today regarding an anticipated speech by President Obama on the troubled roll-out of his key legislation:
Today President Obama will draw the media’s attention to a handful of persons who have applied for Obamacare while ignoring the untold number of Americans who are losing the plans they liked because of Obamacare.
Yesterday, Kaiser Health joined numerous other news outlets by confirming a new victim of Obamacare: Americans who are receiving cancellation notices from their insurers due to the Affordable Act.
“Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies,” Kaiser Health News reported. “The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are cancelling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.”
President Obama is sure to promise Americans that with more time, taxpayer money, and patience the law will perform better. Its failings, however, are not limited to its website or its rollout.
We already know Obamacare can’t live up to its promises. President Obama promised Americans that their premiums would go down, taxes would stay low, millions of jobs would be created, and if they liked their healthcare plans, they could keep them. Instead, premiums are rising, taxes are higher, the economy is sputtering, and people are losing their plans…
It doesn’t matter that what Cruz said is an ideologically-driven statement, reflecting his view that the President has failed to deliver on his most critical promise. Everything Cruz said is factually true, whether you want to agree with him or not. The questions are whether or not we are going to do what’s best for all Americans, whether we are going to let solutions be dismissed based on who provides them, whether we would rather be wrong and fight than be right and agree on finding common sense answers for the problems we all face.
Health Insurance does not equal Health Care. Putting the insurance exchanges on hold will not take away anyone’s healthcare. Let’s delay Obamacare for at least a year to at least fix it, so every American can see for themselves if it works for them or not.
Vladimir Davidiuk | University of St. Thomas | @VladDavidiuk