Saturday, December 14, 2013

Obama's Science of Change

It wasn't supposed to be work like this. Obama "scientific approach" to change was glowingly featured in Time Magazine in 2009. (No access to Time's premium-content? Try "Obama's efforts to change us carry a clear political risk.") Here's his "science of change" in a nutshell:
  1. make it clear, 
  2. make it easy, 
  3. make it popular, 
  4. make it mandatory.
The "clear" part was,"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period." As Albert Einstein famously noted, "Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." Obama is no Einstein--his oversimplification of the Act Formerly Known as Obamacare won him Politifact's "Lie of the Year."

The "easy" part was, "Just visit, and there you can compare insurance plans, side by side, the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon." (Barack Obama, Oct. 1, 2013.) Six weeks later, the same man admitted that "what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy." (Barack Obama, Nov. 14, 2013.)

The "popular" part was taken for granted. The assumption that the Act Formerly Known as Obamacare would be popular was why it was formerly known as Obamacare. All Obama needed to do was hold up a sign that says, "Get Covered Because Nobody Should Go Broke Just Because They Get Sick."

But "Obama holding a sign" was a punchline just waiting for its joke. Within ten minutes, the Senate's most outspoken Obamacare opponent "cruz-ified" the President's tweet:

The "mandatory" part was written into the law--and then written out of it by the same Supreme Court Justice who declared Obamacare constitutional. Military service in Vietnam was mandatory, and burning a draft card could send a healthy young man to jail... or Canada. Health insurance, by contrast, is no more mandatory than a solar hot water heater, for the consumer.  The government can "nudge" you to buy the one or buy the other, and raise (or lower) your taxes according to your choice, but it cannot put you in jail or drive you to Canada if you don't buy insurance.

Whether you agree with Obama or not, he had a four-point plan to "nudge" Americans into his new system. And whether you agree with Obama or not, that plan has now failed on all four points.  This has big implications for all Americans, especially Democrats. While Republicans may embrace "the fierce urgency of shutting up" for now, too many of our neighbors are in real distress for us to wait for a new President to offer us something different in January, 2017.

That's why I think we need the  Federal Health Union Act of 2014, and need it now!

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