If there’s one thing Obamacare’s supporters and opponents can agree on, it’s that Obamacare is unprecedented. Never before did the federal government require every American to buy a commercial product. Never before did it attempt to use its spending powers to coerce states into implementing a federal program. And never before did it so fundamentally rewrite the rules of such a major economic industry – one that makes up about a seventh of the national economy.
With Obamacare, the federal government decided it would run not just a business but an entire industry of businesses. Imagine if the government decided it didn’t like how airline companies were running their business, so it started to require bureaucrats to choose flight routes and ticket prices. They would decide how much airlines could spend on everything from fuel to peanuts. They would use money from some fliers to pay for the travel of over fliers. And they would sell tickets on a government-run “exchange” that looks a lot like Orbitz or Expedia – except it takes days, weeks, or months to buy a ticket.
There were more than a few of us who believed the federal government was incapable of running one-seventh of the economy. This was the same government, after all, that couldn’t get water to thirsty Katrina victims and that couldn’t process the benefits claims of war heroes in under a year. President Obama had never run anything larger than a Senate office. Kathleen Sebelius had never seen any success that was not taxpayer funded. It didn’t take a Nobel Prize to realize they weren’t going to run a health care business as well as professional health care businessmen and businesswomen.
But what if failure was actually the plan all along? What if chaos was meant to be a part of the government-run business model? What if Obama and company decided the best strategy for paving the way to a single-payer system was to utterly destroy the existing system? That would explain the lack of testing of the website, the snowball of cancelled policies, and the lack of training of the navigators. It would also explain why it was so easy for Obamacare’s supporters to ignore those on the right, like Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, and almost every conservative pundit, who have been screaming about Obamacare’s recipe for disaster since day one.
President Obama told the AFI-CIO in 2003, I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal healthcare plan.” However, when he signed Obamacare, he likely thought it would take ten to fifteen years before the chaos of the industry would be severe enough for the American people to be desperate enough to surrender to full government control in order to receive relief.
The only good thing about Obamacare’s disastrous rollout is that it is allowing Americans to see the law’s catastrophe effects – or at least some of them; there are others yet to come – before it’s too late. Because the true face of Obamacare is now plain to see, conservatives have a chance to explain to the American people that if they really want to keep their health insurance, they’d better not just take the word of the President. They’d better vote Republicans in 2014 and then put a Republican in the White House in 2016.
Now is time for Republicans to band together around the policy principles that unite us, not the political tactics that sometimes divide us. We need to play and replay the smug image of Nancy Pelosi marching across the steps of the Capitol with her gavel to celebrate this deceitful legislation. We need to continue to make video and audio montages of the President saying, “You can keep your health insurance,” and replay them every chance we get. The Republican party now has smoking-gun evidence of the terrible effects of the President’s signature “achievement,” and if we can’t convince the jury of the American people to fire him and his party for bad policies, bad planning, and bad execution, then it’s our own fault.