Παρασκευή, 5 Απριλίου 2013

ObamaCare Was Designed, Passed, and Implemented by Democrats. Obviously Republicans Must Be Responsible for Its Failures


It was probably inevitable that
as ObamaCare began to fail, Republicans would get the blame. After
all, Republican legislators in Congress didn’t vote for it,
Republican voters have never supported it, and nearly every
Republican governor has let the federal government build and run
the law’s health exchange in their state. Republican critics of the
law warned before it was passed that it would be too expensive, to
complicated, and too onerous on both individuals and businesses. So
of course now that the implementation process has begun to reveal
signs of trouble, it’s the Grand Old Party’s fault. Who else could
possibly be responsible?


If you want the complete argument for why Republicans are the
culprit here, you can find it in Think Progress health wonk Igor
Volsky’s
piece
making the case for, in his words, “why Republicans are
to blame for ObamaCare’s delays.” The piece is hooked to this
week’s
announcement
that the choice option in ObamaCare’s small
business exchanges would be delayed for a year, and the short
version is that because Republicans refused to implement the law
themselves in the states and have declined to provide additional
funding for implementation at the federal level, the GOP is on the
hook for delays and failures.


It’s hard to blame Republicans for the delay of the small
business choice option: it’s not something that Republicans have
focused on to any great degree, and the main reasons for the delay
seems to be a the technical challenge of designing a multitude of
plans that fit the exchange requirements and the administrative
burden of having to design those plans while working on other
exchange features in the law. Republican opposition doesn’t have
anything to do with it.


Overall, Volsky makes a good try, but sorry, no: Democrats are
to blame for the failures and problems of a law designed by
Democrats, passed by Democrats, and implemented by Democrats. That
it is not working now is the fault of the people who said it would
work, decided to try making it work, and are now tasked with the
responsibility to make it work. They are failing, and the law is
failing because of them—not because of Republicans.


More generally, though, this offers a lesson in why it’s ill
advised to pass major legislation on strict party lines that is
supported by neither the opposition party nor the bulk of the
public. Especially when the law is predicated on the assumption
that the opposition will cheerfully help with implementation. That
Democrats seem to have assumed that Republicans would give in and
play ball suggests some mix of deep arrogance, wishful thinking,
and willful ignorance of the national political dynamic. It’s just
plain bad policy design: A law passed by Democrats that can only
work if Republicans decline to oppose the law is a law that almost
certainly will not work.


And sure enough, three years after passage, ObamaCare shows
signs that it might not be quite as wonderful as promised. But
ObamaCare’s supporters are so determined to avoid admitting that it
might be a failure—or even just less functional than they insisted
it would be—that they are refusing to take responsibility for the
politically troubled bureaucratic mess they created. 

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