Obama promised a different kind of health care reform.
Supporters of obamacare claim the president simply delivered what he promised during the campaign, so the American people should stop demanding the law’s repeal. But that isn’t true. As a candidate, Obama actually campaigned against many of the law’s most important provisions.
Obama’s biggest policy switch came on the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance coverage. The health care plan Obama unveiled to great fanfare in 2007 and henceforth campaigned on contained no mandate. Hillary Clinton’s plan did. Obama attacked Clinton’s mandate relentlessly. He said the right reform was not to pass a mandate, but to lower costs.
“The reason Americans don’t have health insurance isn’t because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it, which is why my plan doesn’t have a mandate and goes further in cutting costs…” he said in Iowa in November of 2007.
“Hillary’s idea is that we should force everyone to buy insurance,” Obama went on. “But this is yet another issue where she is not being straight with the American people because she refuses to tell us how much she would fine people if they couldn’t afford insurance.”
Throughout the primaries, Clinton and John Edwards kept attacking Obama for not having a mandate. They said his refusal to impose one meant he wasn’t offering truly universal coverage. Obama’s response was to hit back with more attacks on the very idea of a mandate. He said it simply wasn’t realistic.
“When Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards say they’re going to mandate health care, but they haven’t talked about either how to enforce it, or how to make it affordable to people, then it’s not really a mandate. Anymore than if we mandate that people get car insurance. But [if] they can’t afford it, they just don’t get it,” he said on November 21, 2007.
Obama then tried to link Clinton’s and Edwards’s plans to Romneycare.
The Associated Press reported on November 26, 2007, “The Obama campaign circulated a memo to reporters yesterday demanding to know how Clinton would enforce the mandate, noting that one state — Massachusetts — has taken that route and consumers that do not get coverage lose their personal tax exemption, a $219 cost.”
On November 30, 2007, when the Clinton campaign attacked Obama for running a television ad in Iowa that claimed his plan insured everyone when it obviously did not, Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin released a statement that said, “Rather than spending their time attacking Barack Obama, the Clinton campaign should explain how exactly they plan to force every American to buy health insurance even if they can’t afford it.”
One of Obama’s TV ads during the primary said, “Hillary Clinton’s attacking, but what’s she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”
Hmmm. What does that sound like?
Obama didn’t fail to include an individual coverage mandate in his plan. He intentionally excluded a coverage mandate, and he campaigned aggressively against one on the grounds that it would be a significant financial burden on many Americans. That isn’t just my interpretation. Here is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s assessment from Feb. 4, 2008:
“You see, the Obama campaign has demonized the idea of mandates — most recently in a scare-tactics mailer sent to voters that bears a striking resemblance to the ‘Harry and Louise’ ads run by the insurance lobby in 1993, ads that helped undermine our last chance at getting universal health care.”
Yet despite “demonizing the idea of mandates” during the campaign, Obama reversed himself and embraced mandates only six months after being sworn in as president.
On July 17, 2009, Obama told CBS News, “During the campaign I was opposed to this idea because my general attitude was the reason people don’t have health insurance is not because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it. And if you make it affordable, then they’ll come. I am now in favor of some sort of individual mandate as long as there’s a hardship exemption.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online