Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saving Obama

For nights after the Kennedy assassination, I had fever dreams of rescuing him. So did other Americans, as psychiatrists reported.

Now 50 years later, it is Barack Obama who needs to be saved—-from his own stubborn determination to pass health care reform four years ago.

When the Congressional butchering began in 2009, the President stubbornly persisted and walked into a bear trap. Now conservative columnist Ross Douthat argues that “the complexity of Obamacare’s interlocking mandates, subsidies and regulations and the disingenuous promises that accompanied its passage were arguably design features rather than bugs—-intended to buy off, to appease, to burden-spread and cost-conceal and generally reassure everyone just long enough to get the system up and running.

“But the White House’s cleverness had inevitable limits, which is why the law keeps facing backlash in fresh places, and why the media keep getting the chance to prepare Obamacare’s obituaries.”

That may be harsh but has some truth in it. Now the President is sinking fast politically, and those of us who admire him are hard-pressed to find life preservers, even as leading allies like Nancy Pelosi talk bravely on the Sunday morning shows.

“Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act,” the former Speaker says. “What's important about it is that the American people get served, not who gets re-elected.”

Perhaps, but the effort to right a sinking ship will be enormous. In this coming week of remembrance and reflection about the unforeseen in American history, the best hope is that, after all the Obamacare noise has subsided, those who hope for American sanity will support Barack Obama in his uphill struggle to restore it over the next three years.


Anonymous said...

He should have gone for broke with One-payer or Medicare for all.

Anonymous said...

But wouldn't those transitions have the same problems, or more so: cost increases for some to pay for broader coverage for all, people losing their current private coverage (everyone!); and what happens to the employees of private insurers under those approaches?

I love the idea, but I've never see these issues addressed. I'm sure someone's got the answers. Question mark?