What are my choices, Mr. President?
The Obamacare defensive captains are getting tired. They have had to pedal one series of evasive talking points after another, all while holding fast to the administration’s implicit creed: The government is here to make things better.
From the beginning, conservative opposition has held that no problem in the American health care system was so grave that it warranted surrender of consumer control. The Obama team assured the public this was a mischaracterization. That the government sought only to refine and enhance health insurance prerogatives, never to render the industry an extension of centralized bureaucracy. Not to be pestered by objections, the Democrats were quick to condemn enemies of the Affordable Care Act for fear-mongering, misleading and standing against the uninsured.
The facts of the law’s entry into American society, however, have done the job of dispelling these accusations better than pundits or politicians ever could. In reaction to the siege of bad press and empirical calamities, Obamacare Zealots have stayed true to one pattern.
It works like this: The first time around, they respond to warnings of critics, promising: No, that won’t happen. And once it happens: Alright, but it’s a good thing!
As early as February, 2010, House Republicans warned the healthcare overhaul could invalidate the insurance plans many Americans held dear. Democrats denied. Five million cancellation notices were distributed throughout the country. Dems exclaimed: Okay, but the new plans are better!
When the text of the bill was released, those that read it rushed to cite its inevitable effect on the jobs market. Democrats denied. The CBO released a nonpartisan report finding that the economy will lose the equivalent of two million full-time workers by 2017. Dems took a moment to muster their nerve, and explained: Yes, it’s true, but it will give people freedom from work, “dynamic choices,” and a chance to pursue dreams!
Denial, acceptance, damage control. With a flurry of partisan accusations mixed in for good measure.
No doubt, conservatives have projected many Obamacare forecasts that have yet to come to full fruition: specifically the destabilizing of the private market and the further centralizing of power. Of course, the President has been quick to put these rumors to bed. Should the law remain a permanent fixture of this country, the American people will have the chance to see firsthand just how accurate the ominous indicators have been.
Perhaps the administration’s reassurances are finally to be trusted. Perhaps we should not read anything into the 27 times Mr. Obama has unilaterally amended his signature achievement at will; or the administration’s recent budget proposal that outlined more succinctly the commingling of taxpayer dollars with private insurance companies’ profits-and-losses government fund; perhaps even there is nothing to the fact that one of Obamacare’s chief architects, Ezekiel Emanuel, published a NYT editorial last week compellingly titled, “In Health Care, Choice is Overrated.”
Or perhaps the conversation about health care itself has sunk to a new low, as Americans see their patience depleted by aimlessness, uncertainty and a martial abuse of Executive order. These are the circumstances of the populace under Obamacare’s reign.
We are now left trying to figure out the intricacies of the will of the Head of State so that we understand what, if any, reasonable health options exist for our future and the wellbeing of our children. The inherent promise of a free market is that the President’s decrees have no bearing on the extent or variety of our choices. He has sought to place himself as the intermediary between the American individual and one of the premiere healthcare systems in the world, which, it now seems, will scarcely remain as such.
Irrespective of the mirage of talking points the defensive captains turn out on a daily basis to help contain public rejection of the law, they simply cannot deny that all across the country Americans of both political parties are asking different versions of the same question: What can I do to insure my health and the health of my family now that the President has taken over?
The media defense of the President’s own staff is contingent upon parceling out exactly what the President says is tolerable under his law. Set aside all nuances of technical incompetence, all the broken promises about the average annual cost to the consumer, even the now famous “keep your plan” misinformation campaign—under the auspices of which he pivoted the debate and won a second term—and what remains is a new system of health care which most Americans simply cannot understand.
And so we have to trust that the government knows best.