Obamacare: Unworkable, Alas

I whooped with unrestrained joy when the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare passed in the Congress and was declared OK by the Supreme Court.

It wasn’t the national health care I wanted and most Western countries provide, but it was a step in that direction.

I had no clue that it would not work because its details were unworkable.

Not many members of Congress read all 381,517 words of the law they voted for or against. There was complication enough in those.

But then came the 11,588,500 words of the special regulations. Twenty thousand pages of those.

That’s right, 20,000. Do you think our two members of Congress and two senators read them all?

OK, cumbersome and impossible that somebody wouldn’t run afoul of some of those pages of regulation. But, overall, we were on the road to something akin to national health care, right?

Oh, then came the exemptions. This business and that union didn’t have to comply with this or that regulation right now.

But the general citizenry would have to. Oh, the signup system didn’t work, so you get a year’s exemption while it’s fixed.

Oh, wait, sorry, you can’t keep the health insurance plan you had, when President Obama repeatedly said you could. People we all knew had very minimal-coverage plans that could no longer be sold by participating insurers.

Oh, and you signed up and got a subsidy because of low income. Last year you got a better-paying job. Now you owe Uncle Sam a refund and you don’t have that in the bank and have to borrow money. So maybe an exemption this time? We’re up to 4 million people exempted, 3 percent of the population — half who signed up last year.

Then there are the Medicare cuts and the quality-instead-of-quantity care directive.

Individual doctors are dumping Medicare patients. They and hospitals are graded on results with sick patients.


But you and I know many patients aren’t health-minded. They won’t change diets. They ignore critical medicines. The issue is worse in poor and immigrant neighborhoods.

Why should my doctor get penalized if I’ll do nothing to keep my blood pressure and weight under control?

If Medicare Advantage is forced to eliminate gym memberships, how does that help me to keep healthy?

Obamacare became a mess.

We health care progressives have to start acknowledging that in public.

We wanted national, single-payer health care.

Many of us have it. It’s already out there. It’s called Kaiser Permanente. We could have taxed citizens and made that a shining star system.

Not 20,000 pages. Just a slim document of your benefits. All your medical records on one computer server. Your choice of doctors.

President Obama had the right idea.

But unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt with the Social Security Act and Lyndon Johnson with the Civil Rights Act, he wimped out with Congress.


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