Remember when you were a little kid sneaking up on your little brother or sister or some other unwitting soul and yelling, "BOO!" It was worth it to see that momentary look of fright on his or her face. What passed for a childish prank back then seems to have found its adult equivalent in the scare tactics being unleashed by President Obama, Democrats and the GOP on an unsuspecting public caught in the middle of the fight over Obamacare.
Not since the legislative battles over Social Security and Medicare have the flames of political discord scorched so much bi-partisan turf. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") was passed into law, and yet Congress is still fighting over it. Obamacare will change the face of how we receive healthcare in America.
The scary part is that even as consumers sign on, few know what to expect. And this is causing many Americans to feel uneasy, a bit frightened because they don't know how their lives will change under Obamacare. President Obama wants consumers to believe that Obamacare is good for the country, while Obamacare's critics believe the exact opposite --- that Obamacare is bad for the economy and for healthcare as a whole.
Who can blame a largely uninformed public for being concerned when so little information has been forthcoming about Obamacare. President Obama and the Democrats have done a particularly good job of providing few specifics, except to promise that Obamacare will fix what's wrong with our healthcare system when it is fully implemented. In a recent interview, President Obama gave this retort to his critics:
Obamacare turns out not to have been the scary monster that the other side has painted.
It's obvious that President Obama's remark came before the online enrollment site crashed. Why the big rush to get the online enrollment site up and running without a reasonable test period? And who gave the order to ignore the known technical problems with the site? Even so, the official spin from the White House is that "Healthcare.gov" crashed because so many people tried to sign up for it. Makes you wonder what other system shortcomings, technical glitches, program malfunctions or overloads may be lurking in Obamacare's future?
Obamacare critics like Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst, Chris Jacobs suggests that Obamacare is every bit the monster that it's been painted to be. In his blog, "Chris Jacobs on Healthcare," Jacobs talks about what he sees as Obamacare's shortcomings:
Many may disagree, because on this Halloween day, it’s clear that the legislation includes several “monstrous” provisions likely to wreak havoc on the American people, their jobs, and their health care.
With something as big and life changing, impacting millions as Obamacare is, why does President Obama, Democrats and the GOP seem bent on milking the fear in the hearts of the public for political advantage? Each side has engaged in hyperbole and misinformation to suit their own partisan purposes. Here's what President Obama famously declared in a 2009 speech:
“We will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.”
We now know that President Obama knew this wasn't true when he said it. The truth is people are being dropped by their insurance and, in most cases, being forced to pick up more expensive policies. The truth is consumers are not guaranteed they will be able to keep the same insurance at a comparable cost or their same doctor, in every case. There have also been some unexpected outcomes like companies cutting worker hours in an effort to get around providing health insurance because of Obamacare. Did President Obama knowingly promise more than he could deliver? What does the president know and when did he know it everybody wants to know?
Politicians promise a lot of things to get elected. Once they're in office, they do pretty much what they want. It's about defining their legacy. Reforming healthcare is tantamount to the Obama legacy. Recall in 1988 when then candidate George H. Bush made this famous,"Read my lips, no new taxes," campaign promise. He raised taxes after he became president. President Obama is no different in this regard.
To be fair, the GOP has done a poor job in mounting convincing opposition to Obamacare. Obamacare's critics may have legitimate concerns about whether it will work, but so far, they have had a hard time convincing the public of their concerns. President Obama has purposely made the GOP the problem, not Obamacare. The GOP has largely failed to make a strong enough case against Obamacare with the public. Without a cohesive strategy or a believable spokesperson to effectively articulate their concerns, the GOP is losing ground to the president and the Democrats. A critic of his own party for being too willing to attack Obamacare without offering a viable solution, former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said :
“We need to build a new model of Republican answers that starts with the health system we need and [then be able to say] that’s why I’m against Obamacare – in that order,” Gingrich said. “We need to get away from this, ‘I’m against Obamacare,’ and then stop – and that’s all you have to say.”
The scary truth is that we're only weeks away from the roll-out of what is either the best or the worse healthcare overhaul in U.S. history. A lot is at stake for the American people who have long enjoyed the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions. Nevertheless, Obamacare is the law of the land now. And as such, it will dictate the healthcare policy of this nation for the foreseeable future whether we like it or not. We can only pray that Obamacare will turn out to be the nirvana of healthcare that we've been promised.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7