Bill Clinton’s micro-tirade about crazy Obamacare gives Hillary Clinton an unusual opportunity to establish some serious leadership on this issue. She needs to heartily agree with Bill that it is indeed crazy that costs are going through the roof and small businesses are being crippled by the added costs. The good news, of course, is that 20,000,000 more people now have coverage and no one can be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. That’s the good news.
But she must remind us that she has long and always said that such a massive, complex program cannot possibly be perfect right from the outset. How could it ever be? No other such ambitious national program was right from the outset. Not Social Security, not Medicare, not even Selective Service in wartime. They all required multiple corrections and improvements over many, many years.
Look, she can observe, if this were easy, it would have been done eons ago. But Obamacare is a much needed overhaul of the most dysfunctional healthcare arrangement (it is not a “system”) in any of the advanced nations, one that costs twice as much money and delivers half as much health as any of the others. Obamacare is wrestling with an astounding 17% of our GDP, which means attempting to influence complex infrastructure in which political posturing is rampant, profiteering is out of control, and decision-making is in the hands of myriad independent parties, ranging from multi-billion-dollar corporations to individual patients themselves. When one dollar out of every six dollars in circulation is involved, you’d better bet that nothing will be easy about making everything work and everybody happy from the git-go.
So fixes—some of them massive—are certainly in order. But they won’t happen unless the Republicans in Congress and in statehouses around the country stop sabotaging every effort to provide Americans with a true system that delivers excellent care to every citizen and does it at a reasonable cost. They have to stop embarrassing themselves by voting against excellent healthcare features they themselves proposed and advocated under Republican Presidents but have lately refused to support lest success redound to the credit of President Obama. Given the fact that Richard Nixon is the last Republican leader who proposed a comprehensive, sensible overhaul of America’s healthcare non-system, current Republicans devoid of their own ideas can either cooperate in the improvement of Obamacare or be held responsible for the worsening of both American citizens’ health as well as America’s financial health.