I felt like a time traveler. I was in a Mayfield Heights home, standing in a packed living room, listening to a political candidate dismantle the current administration’s (mis)handling of our country’s health care system. Point by point the candidate highlighted the president’s statements and actions. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. The audience agreed with every point. Many of those in attendance volunteered to take yard signs and campaign.
I would have had a difficult time disagreeing with the generalities. I even found some of the details and potential solutions realistic. But I still felt that I had been here before.
The advantage/disadvantage of a blog is the existence of a paper trail. OK. Now What? was published on November 3, 2010, the day after the Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act succeeded in energizing the opposition. Even centrist Democrats and Republicans were outraged by this combination of government overreach and intellectual dishonesty. Democrats representing swing districts, like John Boccieri, were pressured into supporting a bill that almost single-handedly caused their defeat.
Republicans have campaigned against the PPACA. Some have implied, some have even promised, to repeal this legislation. Can this legislation, passed only seven and a half months ago, be reversed? And, more importantly, do the Republicans want to?
NO and NO.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not going to be repealed or reversed anytime soon. Oh, I’m sure Speaker-designate John Boehner will run a bill through the House. It will be great political theater. And, it will be risk free. The legislation won’t get through the Senate, and even if it did, it would be vetoed by the President.
I sincerely doubt that the Republicans would want to repeal this legislation. This is a fundraising bonanza. Campaigning against PPACA is far more profitable than solving the problems that necessitated the law.
So, we have a bad bill and the real possibility that cynicism may rule the day. Plus, we have yet to mention the insurers who have already spent millions to comply with the new rules and regulations. I firmly believe that the insurers have devised a path to real success under a government run health plan where they provide supplementary coverages. The major insurance companies would then have no desire to repeal the law.
We are quickly approaching the next calendar triggers of the health care legislation. It is possible that the Republican lead House of Representatives, far more interested in extending the Bush era tax cuts than anything else, might tackle meaningful reform in early spring. In a yet to be exhibited act of political maturity, the House could even draft a bill to limit and refine the PPACA. Such legislation could be passed by the Senate and signed by the President. It is possible. I leave the question of probability to you.
That was eight years ago. We are on the verge of a Blue Wave. Some of the people swept into office will be as prepared as the candidate I heard Sunday afternoon. Some will just be talented at pointing out President Trump’s obvious shortcomings. Now, before the election, is the time to talk to the candidates. Help them understand that health care is more than just a fundraising vehicle and that talking points don’t pay for medical bills.
Pray that we don’t get fooled again.
Pictures – David L Cunix – New Boss and Old Boss