My eldest son, as a small child, was given to temper tantrums. Thwarted, he would fling himself to the floor, lie on his back, kick his legs and scream bloody murder.
My wife is a loving, understanding woman, but after trying to reason with this disorderly brat she found a cure. She filled a water pitcher with cold water and poured it over the shrieking kid’s head. The mouth shut and there was a spluttering silence.
At the mid-point of the first decade of this century, the cost of medical care in the US was skyrocketing to the point that 15% of every dollar spent in this country was spent for health care. That percentage looked as if it would shortly become 20% of every dollar. The system was a ramshackle mix of private insurance tied to jobs, federal government programs and public assistance for those unable or unwilling to buy insurance. It worked but lots of people were left to die at the whim of an insurance company.
Private insurance companies delivered sixty cents worth of care for every dollar spent. The other forty cents went for paperwork, advertising, lawsuits and executive bonuses.
This was not a good system. A relatively obscure U.S. senator, Barack Obama of Illinois, ran for President with a major commitment to solving the healthcare problems of this country. He won. Not by a little, by a landslide. Rather than create and present a draft healthcare bill, he sent Congress a list of bullet points. If an idea will not clear Congress it’s a waste of time. So rather than providing something to attack, he suggested Congress find something they could agree upon.
Congressional committees went to work to produce a bill that would pass. The howl went up, ”Lack of Leadership!” Nobody loved the result but after wheeling and dealing this resulting legislation passed both houses on partisan lines and the President signed it into law.
Unconstitutional! Lawsuits from our governor and others of a like mind are filed. The US Supreme Court considers and rules. The law is constitutional. Tea Party is in despair. The law begins to take effect and even people who objected to the law, on grounds they had no idea what was in it, discovered that they did like it. There was good stuff in it.
In fact, the people who approved of it outnumbered those who did not. The proof seemed to lie in the fact that last year the presidential candidate who promised to kill the Affordable Care Act was the candidate who lost. Some think it didn’t go far enough, others can deal with it and a 35% minority want it repealed, but clearly we want it. There is an element of “What part of ‘No’ don’t you understand?”
The sound of crashing websites seems to confirm Republicans’ greatest fears: the public will like the Affordable Care Act. By the looks of it, millions do. They like it to the point that the most optimistic forecasts of public demand were way off the mark and the problem is handling the flood of insurance shoppers.
When a crowd kicks in the doors at WalMart it’s not called a failure. It’s called a mess, brought on by incompetent planning and in that we can indeed blame the Obama Administration. Who would have thought a flood of that many million buyers would hit on day one? Obviously not the Republicans.
Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? Of course not. The much hated (around here) Congressperson and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi alluded to that when she made the much-quoted remark, “ We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” The simpletons thought that meant she hadn’t read it. Those with a nickel’s worth of comprehension understood that she knew that implementing a law would expose the weaknesses, the bits that didn’t work and then you amend the law to fix the glitches. In the practical process of implementing the law you find the problems.
The Real Republican Party is capable of some good ideas. I am also of the opinion that Democrats sometimes come up with idiotic proposals. I am now of the opinion that the GOP, as remodeled by Messrs Cruz, Gomert, Bachmann, Southerland et. al. is a fetid intellectual swamp. Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman summarized the Republican position, “We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is.”
If John Boehner (a decent chap) finds where he left his spine, is prepared to lose his speakership on a matter of principle, should the radical nut-cases be swept to the corner, to the irrelevance they richly deserve, I could relish the idea that America is back.
Somebody hand me a water pitcher.