Delusional. How else to describe someone who consistently sees the world in an altered reality? Once again President Obama has justified this description of himself.
In an interview by Vox at Blair House on January 6, 2017, Obama was asked about Republican efforts to replace ObamaCare. His response reveals his altered reality:
Obama said, “If you can in fact put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what ObamaCare is doing, I will publicly support repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with your plan.”
That statement is surprising enough, but he went even further: “From the earliest negotiations in 2009 and 2010, I made clear to Republicans that if they had ideas that they could show would work better than the ideas we had thought of, I would be happy to incorporate them into the law. . . And rather than offer ideas, what we got was a big no.”
John C. Goodman, writing in Forbes, reminds us of what really happened.
In the 2008 presidential race against Senator John McCain, the Obama campaign spent more money than has ever been spent on television advertisements addressing a single issue (an estimated $100 million). The issue was the McCain healthcare plan.
McCain’s plan was actually better than the Obama plan according to ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel. After the election, Emanuel and other Obama advisors, including economic adviser Jason Furman, tried to adopt the McCain plan but were opposed by David Axelrod, political advisor, who said Obama would lose credibility if he endorsed a health plan he had campaigned against for months.
The McCain Plan
McCain called for every citizen to get a tax credit to purchase healthcare insurance. In reality, his plan would have been far more progressive and redistributed far more income than ObamaCare. Subsequent legislation called the Coburn/Burr/Ryan bill was proposed but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow it to come to a vote. Today there is a similar bill called the Sessions-Cassidy Plan.
Goodman believes that had Barack Obama endorsed McCain’s health plan it would have sailed through the Congress with bi-partisan support. It would not have become the divisive issue it has become and there would not be a movement now to repeal and replace it. It would have been popular because of three main benefits:
- Universal Coverage – ObamaCare is a defined benefit plan – the government defines how much benefit everyone gets and lets the private sector worry how to pay for it. McCain’s plan, and the Sessions-Cassidy plan, is a defined contribution approach – the government defines what they will spend and the marketplace competes to win your business. Goodman believes this plan would come closest to universal coverage, far exceeding the coverage of ObamaCare.
- Fairness – Under ObamaCare, families at the same income level are receiving radically different amounts of tax relief from the government when they obtain health insurance. These differences can exceed $10,000 or more. Under the McCain, Sessions-Cassidy plan, everyone would receive the same tax relief regardless of income.
- Simplicity – ObamaCare requires everyone to guess their next year’s income when applying for government subsidies. Under McCain, Sessions-Cassidy, there is no need for people to guess their income nor for the government to verify their income.
Obama has also forgotten the meeting he had with Republican leaders (ironically at Blair House) in which he listened to Republican ideas on healthcare reform and then rejected them all saying, “I won.” Instead he chose a partisan approach to rewriting one-sixth of the U.S. economy and the result has been Democratic losses in the elections of 2010, 2014, and 2016.
Republicans should not make the same mistake that Obama made in 2010 when they replace ObamaCare. They should welcome Democratic input and compromise where possible to achieve bi-partisan support. Unlike President Obama, they must live in the real world if they want to solve real-world problems.