When a ship starts sinking, everyone jumps off. President Obama is increasingly looking like a captain going down with his vessel as even friends who were publicly supportive of ObamaCare are now questioning whether ObamaCare was worth with the political damage.
Two leading and influential Democratic senators, Charles Schumer of New York and Tom Harkin of Iowa, are coming out against ObamaCare despite the fact they defended the law in the past.
Just before Thanksgiving, Schumer called the law a distraction from the programs that their “pro-government party” should have pursued after President Obama’s 2008 election. Policies like minimum wage should have been prioritized instead, he argued.
The Wall Street Journal captured his comments:
The Senator called the law a distraction from the “middle-class-oriented programs” his party should have pursued after 2008: “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health-care reform.”
Mr. Schumer said he still supported the entitlement’s goals, but “it wasn’t the change we were hired to make. Americans were crying out for the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs.” We’re glad he’s finally taking our advice from 2009-2010.
For Schumer, it’s not about hearts and minds but that ObamaCare enrollees never converted into voters for the Democratic ticket:
“only a third of the uninsured are even registered to vote,” he said, and only “about 5% of the electorate” benefits from the entitlement. “To aim a huge change in mandate at such a small percentage of the electorate made no political sense.”
Then, last week Senator Harkin, who co-authored the law and is retiring at the end of this Congress, made a bedside-confession, criticizing the complexity of the un-Affordable Care Act. In addition to admitting that it’s inefficient and costly, he hinted that – probably in light of the Jonathan Gruber comments– the law was made overly complicated to satisfy some Democratic centrists who are already gone from Congress. Harkin noted:
“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it”… “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.
“What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added.
He believes Congress should have enacted “single-payer right from the get-go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.”
Not surprisingly, both Schumer and Harkin are getting blowback from leaders like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others who still cling to ObamaCare as the Left’s shining accomplishment. The Hill reports:
Top House Democratic leaders also took steps to defend the Affordable Care Act this week. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while not specifically mentioning the Democratic criticisms from across the Capitol, used her weekly press conference to trumpet what she said are the successes of the law.
Citing recently released administration figures, the California Democrat noted that the number of hospital-acquired conditions dropped by 1.3 million cases in 2013 – "an important part of the legislation," she said – while national healthcare spending grew by 3.6 percent in the same year, "the lowest annual increase since the statistics began to be collected in 1960."
"So in terms of quality of care, in terms of cost to the individual and to the federal government, the news is very good," she said.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip, piled on, with his office releasing a statement Friday arguing that "millions of Americans" have been helped by the law.
It’s comical to watch, if only the joke wasn’t on Americans who now have a massive, sweeping law that has permanently distorted our healthcare market and created a new class of government benefits. Harkin and Schumer are just admitting what the majority of Americans think: ObamaCare is bad for this country.
Schumer is right to question why this healthcare reform passed at all, but he’s wrong to suggest that the President’s focus should have been on other collectivist or liberal agenda items. Harkin is equally wrong in thinking that a single-payer system would have been the better avenue for healthcare reform.
Both don’t get it. ObamaCare in any form is both a disaster for big government and of big government, as the Wall Street Journal astutely recognizes. The philosophy behind it is what’s flawed, so of course the product will be as well.