Today is the deadline for signing up for health insurance in America. Or not. No one is really sure. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 set the deadline, but the Obama administration has so often ignored its own law that the only thing certain is uncertainty.
Today’s deadline will be waived for people “waiting in line” to sign up, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last week. She will use the honor system to enforce it.
“What the hell is this, a joke?” asked Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
If only it were a joke. Instead, Obamacare is a terrible piece of legislation that Democrats pushed through without much debate and by bending the Senate rules in 2010.
Instead of working with Republicans to truly reform the nation’s health insurance industry so more people would be covered, Democrats treated governing as if it were a football game. Republicans had good ideas. Democrats ignored them. They had the votes to pass it and they did, without bothering to include a single Republican.
President Obama had demanded its passage immediately.
“We can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to healthcare, not this time, not now,” he said.
In demanding passage now, Obama had ignored a letter signed by three Democratic senators and three Republican ones to slow down. In their haste, Democrats created a law that is unenforceable.
Since its passage four years ago, President Obama has delayed its implementation 38 times, the Wall Street Journal reported. Neither the Constitution nor the law itself grant him those powers, the Journal noted.
If only Obama had listened to Republicans, who offered good ideas. By not allowing Republicans to have any say on this legislation, Democrats doomed the law to failure. Ours is a representative democracy. Compromise is a virtue, not a vice, because no one party has all the answers.
Democrats would love to blame Republicans for the failure of Obamacare, but Democrats own this blunder.
There is hope. Seven Democratic senators including Joe Manchin are calling for changes in this law.
But a major overhaul is needed. Republican control of the Senate as well as the House could force the president to repair the damage of this law, just as a Republican Congress forced Bill Clinton to balance the federal budget in the 1990s.