Friday, November 15, 2013
Obama & Dems Give In To GOP Again
This time it is over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That health reform law set some basic standards for what health insurance policies must cover. This was done to prevent greedy private insurance companies from selling "scam" policies that took money from consumers, but didn't deliver any real insurance coverage. Recently, the Republicans have been accusing the president of failing to keep his promises, because insurance companies have been canceling those "scam" policies instead of bringing them up to meet basic coverage requirements.
The GOP ignores the fact that at least half of those people with those cancelled policies will be able to get better insurance policies at the same (or even less) cost, and those who will have to pay a little more will do so for policies that cover a lot more (and will actually pay for their medical expenses). They ignore this because their only aim is to hurt the president (even if they have to lie to do it). They don't care whether people have adequate insurance coverage or not.
Unfortunately, the media has swallowed those GOP lies -- not because they believe them to be true, but because it makes a good story (as does any "scandal", whether true or not).
Now the Democrats could have stayed together and stood firm -- backing up the president and protecting the health care reform, especially since it is the biggest achievement they have had since 2008. But they didn't. They gave in (just like they have too many times during this president's terms). And to prevent many Democrats from abandoning him and supporting the GOP effort to damage Obamacare (any way they can), the president has now given in too. He now says the insurance companies will be allowed to continue those "scam" policies for another year if they want.
The crazy part is that the insurance industry wasn't asking for this -- only the GOP (who's only intent is to hurt the president and his party). They had made arrangements to comply with Obamacare, and are really unhappy with the president over this. Their trade association, America's Health Insurance Plans, said Thursday morning:
"Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace. If now, fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase and there will be fewer choices for consumers. Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers."
This gives the Republicans exactly what they wanted. It makes Obamacare look more like an unworkable insurance reform, and it makes the Democrats look weak (because they won't even defend their own reform). And that's sad. The Democrats had an advantage as we get closer to next year's elections, but they are giving that advantage away. The fact is that voters don't like candidates or parties that they perceive as being weak -- and that's just how the Democrats have paired themselves with this latest retreat. I'm sure they probably think they are helping themselves by doing this, but they are not.