Judging from Obamacare, Democrats can’t make government work. Judging from the October shutdown, Republicans don’t want it to work. What’s a democracy to do?
Obamacare is essentially an old Republican idea, hatched by the Heritage Foundation as an alternative to single-payer health insurance. It’s essentially Romney care. The idea is to put everybody in a big insurance poll – through the free market – that spreads the risk and the cost.
It tries to solve the problem of 40 million Americans who have no health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. So they don’t get preventative care. They wait until they’re injured or until they’re really sick, and they go to the emergency room. Then they run up hospital bills in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which they can’t pay. Which all gets shifted to the rest of us.
The idea behind Obamacare is simple: Get those people into cheaper care earlier. Make them pay something (if they can) instead of sticking us with the bill.
But the execution of Obamacare is complicated. Because it relies on insurance companies. And because Chief Justice Roberts ruled that states could opt out of Medicaid expansion. Which most Republican-run states like North Carolina did.
So you could blame Obamacare’s problems on insurance companies, the Supreme Court and Republican governors and legislators.
Now American has three choices. First, muddle through with Obamacare. Second, go to a single-payer system by putting everybody under Medicaid/Medicare. Or third, the Republican solution, which is … what?
Oh, that’s right. They don’t have one. In his column Sunday, the N&O’s Ned Barnett had this great quote from John Kennedy in his 1960 campaign: “I have been in the Congress for 14 years, and I know all about the record then, but I have yet to hear of one single original piece of new, progressive legislation of benefit to the people, suggested and put into a fact by the Republican Party.”
Some things never change in politics.