“Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we’ve made some mistakes. That’s how we learn.” -- President Barack Obama, CIA Headquarters, April 20, 2009
If ever there was a time for acknowledging the mistakes of the Affordable Care Act and learning from them, that time is now. What began with years of inaccurate statements about what Obamacare would do for America’s healthcare system began manifesting itself as a fatally flawed sign-up website that took longer to build than for the United States to defeat Germany in WWII.
Since the Obamacare website’s ill-fated October 1 launch, it has been an ever-burgeoning disaster with new horror stories unfolding daily. Families and individuals who bought their own health insurance are the first to see their health policies cancelled, and in the process, they have become the canaries in the coal mine. Their experiences are signaling the beginning of the larger impact of Obamacare once it is unleashed on the tens of millions of people who obtain their coverage through their employers. In short, the political rationale for repealing Obamacare is quickly approaching a tipping point.
Hardly a day passes without news of hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their health insurance policies because of the mandates of Obamacare. So rapid are these cancellations that it’s difficult to keep an accurate tally of how many millions of people who previously enjoyed health coverage now have none. As recently as November 12, we learned that more than a million additional people lost their insurance in California alone.
Political pressure against Obamacare continues to mount within the president’s own party. Democratic senators are signing an open letter to Obama to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate. Oregon’s Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader called Obama’s staements on the ACA, “grossly misleading,” and the scale of deceit is enormous, even former President Bill Clinton is publicly calling on Obama to live up to his promises.
Congressional Democrats - particularly those in the Senate where any one of them could have spared the nation from this disaster had they voted the other way - are increasingly vocal in their concerns over the unfairness of Obamacare. Others are drafting legislation that, in the words of Politico, would “require insurance companies to continue offering their existing health care plans.”
The problem is, insurance companies are not cancelling policies because they’re tired of the premiums paid by their customers. These policies are being cancelled because the law forces their cancellation. More to the point, a law letting people keep their health plans does nothing for the millions of people who have already lost theirs.
It is not possible to simply change the ACA so that it does in practice what Obama promised. Logistics aside, such changes are politically untenable by virtue of being patently unfair to the millions who have lost their health coverage. Neither congressional Democrats nor Obama himself can write a bill, pass a law or sign an order capable of undoing what Obamacare has already wrought.
Democrats are desperately seeking any political fig leaf they can manufacture to distance themselves from the disaster for which they voted. They will introduce various bills intended to provide cover as they face reelection and will castigate Republicans who do not go along with these ineffectual attempts to save face but not American families.
Now is not the time for Republicans to go-along just to get-along. The House GOP has already held dozens of votes to repeal Obamacare and subsequent votes are met with derision by Democrats, the media and even a few Republicans. But the landscape has shifted and continues to change each day. Two months ago, those demanding a delay to Obamacare were called harsh and hateful names. Today, they are called Democrats.
The pain inflicted by Obamacare on families grows each day while growing numbers of Democrats are running away from it like scalded dogs. Repeal is no longer a punchline for the opposition; it’s becoming a viable political option and Republicans must be bold in continuing the effort. The tipping point is approaching.
Martin is the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.