The temptation to do my “I told ya so” dance over Obamacare is nearly overwhelming; however, while I’m not in the broken hip age range yet, I’m afraid that my dance in this instance might cause me to throw my arm out or something. Besides, with the democrats talking about Obamacizing Tricare, perhaps I should be more cautious with my moves….it’s quite the dance you know.
It’s not apparent to me that anyone has cause for celebration, although Jonah Goldberg offers a fairly compelling argument that it is in this morning’s NRO. Goldberg makes that point that as a conservative, if you can’t enjoy the ACA trainwreck, then you have no business in political discourse. Fair enough, but at some point this has to be fixed and I want a republican stamp on the rescue.
Here’s how I see it unfolding in the short term: Both gleeful GOP and panicked democratic senators are looking to force insurance companies to reinstate cancelled plans. I suspect that this is going to be a non-starter for a number of reasons, namely, that it is likely unworkable, and if it were possible, it would totally undermine Obamacare’s financial base (which is why this particular “fix” won’t be signed into law).
The administration will then look to make the ACA work by tinkering with the regulations on the margin. Fix the website; a temporary delay in the deadline; extensions of a few more grandfathered policies. It won’t be a fix, but will be enough for them to declare that it’s working. Meanwhile, a compliant press is going to push the success narrative by finding the sole person in the country that received lower premiums.
I don’t think that this is going to work for them this time, and, consequently, the democratic party is going to be punished severely in 2014.
So what do the republicans do? I honestly don’t know. Goldberg argues that it’s perfectly acceptable for the right to watch the trainwreck from the sidelines and refrain from marginal fixes. I think he has a good point here: “If Obamacare had been a shining success from Day One, do you think the Democrats would be in the mood to share the credit? Then why should Republicans be in more of a mood to share the blame?”
But at some point, we need solutions. Obamacare has taken a slowly churning national healthcare crisis and made it worse. Rather than being a shit screen for health care consumers, the ACA is proving to be the greatest shit accelerant of all time. Congressional republicans should be ready to go with free market solutions and smart regulatory policy when the time is right. Whenever that is…..next year, next month, this afternoon….