SAN DIEGO, October, 23, 2013 — Questions and concerns are ringing and bellowing all over the media: Why has the Affordable Health Care website been such an unmitigated disaster? Who should be fired? How come the few people who are getting through discover higher prices than they had anticipated?
Did President Obama really know nothing about these problems until the public did? Was he as much in the dark over this latest fiasco as Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal and Benghazi? Didn’t his presidential campaign demonstrate Internet tech savoy? Like a well oiled machine, younger voters were reached through Twitter, I Phones, and I pads. So where did all the sudden incompetence come from?
And what about those who already have health insurance? Many who were assured they could keep their doctors and providers are either losing their plans or seeing premiums rise like a thermometer in Gila Bend, Arizona.
At the moment, we do not entirely know what’s going on. How can we? As usual, the Obama administration, which brags about its transparency, offers little, if any, when asked. They do not exactly operate at lightning speed when explanations are requested.
This leaves us to speculate. As different theories are being considered, a daring question begs to be asked. Is it possible President Obama wants AHC to have problems in the hopes that America will be “forced” to switch to a single payer system?
A recent clue to this question may have been provided by Obama’s star quarterback, Harry Reid.
In an interview on PBS’s Nevada Week in Review, the Senate Majority Leader spoke freely and favorably about moving toward a government single payer system for health care:
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever.”
At this point, panelist Steve Sebelius asked for clarification. Did Reid intend to suggest that sooner or later America would do away with private health insurance altogether in favor of some kind of uniform coverage?
Reid replied: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.” He elaborated by suggesting that the current form of the Affordable Health Care Act was a compromise and necessary first step: “We had a real good run at the public option … Don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system…We had to get a majority of votes…In fact, we had to get a little extra in the Senate, we have to get 60.”
Reid’s revelation should come as no surprise. As far back as 2003, Obama himself expressed similar affinity for the single payer system. He also said up front that we might have to take a scenic route to get there.
Speaking to the Illinois AFL-CIO on June 30, 2003, Obama said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”
Such aspirations do not exactly match his actual promises when seeking to get the Affordable Health Care bill passed.
In a speech to Congress in September 2009, Obama said, “First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job…nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me – let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
Technically he was telling the truth. The new literal law will indeed allow you to keep the health care arrangements you already have. On the other hand, if AHC puts forth so many regulations and strangleholds upon private insurance companies that they simply cannot stay in business and instead crumble at your feet….Oh well! Que sera sera.
And if your employer is told what kind of coverage he has to buy and how many people to cover, he may put on fewer full time employees with benefits and more part time employees.
In such a case, since Affordable Health Care remains “the law of the land,” (a term Democrats seem to have recently discovered) President Obama may just feel free to put us on a single payer system. The legalities will be interpretive and contested but Obama has not shown a lot of passion for being legally accurate unless it happens to be a law he likes.
No, Obamacare is not proceeding the way its supporters had wished. But it’s time to consider whether or not the Pied Piper and his children are actually wishing for the same thing.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
PBS’s Nevada Week in Review and the Las Vegas Sun contributed to news items in this article.
Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and columnist. Information about his radio show can be found at bobsiegel.net.
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