As the old saying goes, even a blind pig finds an ear of corn sometimes. And so it is with Republicans and Obamacare: They’re right; it’s a mess and deserves to be euthanized, perhaps by its own special “death panel.”
And I have just the thing to replace it with: a single-payer healthcare system.
Now, you may have read a thing or two lately about the problems at the government-run healthcare exchange website, Healthcare.gov. As website launches go, it’s sort of a high-tech Titanic.
You may also have read a thing or two about folks losing their health insurance plans, something that wasn’t supposed to happen under the Affordable Care Act — President Obama promised, as The Times’ conservative columnist, Jonah Goldberg, happily reminded readers Tuesday in an article subtly headlined “Obama’s big lie.” (Oddly, I don’t recall him writing a similar column when the Bush/Cheney crowd couldn’t find Saddam Hussein’s phantom WMD, but who’s counting?)
Oh, and some people are finding that the “affordable” part of the law’s name is a bit of a misnomer too.
So what’s a good liberal Democrat to do?
Well, you certainly don’t want to end up like Gen. Custer at the Little Bighorn, whose last words were probably “Where’d all those Indians come from?”
The truth is, Democrats are fighting for — and being torched over — a plan they never wanted in the first place. In fact, Republicans are killing Democrats over the healthcare system they invented. Recall that it was a Republican think tank that came up with the “individual mandate,” which the GOP now decries as the devil’s tool, and it was a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, who first put in place an Obamacare-like system in Massachusetts.
So, after the GOP successfully torched the Clinton administration’s approach in the 1990s, Democrats in 2010 gave Republicans what they said they wanted. But did that satisfy the GOP? It did not.
Dealing with the Republican Party these days is like dealing with your 16-year-old daughter trying to buy a prom dress: “Too ugly.” “Too cheap.” “Too expensive.” “God no, not that one.” “You’ve got to be kidding!” “I know I said I liked that one yesterday, but now I don’t.”
So, as I see it, we have two choices. We can go with the Republicans’ new healthcare plan. Or we can go to a single-payer system.
Wait, what’s the Republican’s new healthcare plan, you ask?
Here, let Texas Gov. Rick Perry explain it:
“We’re going to do three things about healthcare. First, we’re going to get rid of Obamacare. Second, we’re going to preserve our healthcare system, the greatest in the world. And third, we’re going to do that by, uh, by — oh, dang it, don’t tell me, it’ll come to me, by, uh ….” (stage whisper: “Expand Medicare?”) “Naw, that ain’t it; just give me a second.”
Or, we can do what we should have done in the first place and expand Medicare to include all Americans.
Oh no, the Republicans will wail, we can’t do that. It’s too expensive. How would we ever pay for it?
Easy. The same way you and George W. Bush paid for two wars and that expensive prescription drug plan: We’ll borrow the money.
I mean, if we could borrow $1 trillion or so to blow up a couple of Middle Eastern countries, and millions and millions to buy the votes of senior citizens, surely we can borrow $1 trillion or so to take care of the basic healthcare needs of all Americans?
Because isn’t that what it boils down to? Isn’t healthcare a basic need, a basic right, of a U.S. citizen? You know, the folks who live in the greatest country on Earth; the “exceptional” America we hear so much about?
So let’s suck it up. Admit Obamacare is a failure. Of course it is. It’s the worst of both worlds: A Republican plan defended by Democrats.
Scrap it, and give us the single-payer system that the rest of the grown-up world already has.
Oh, and next time, make sure the website works.