Debra J. Saunders

When Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., rolled out his draft legislation in 2009, he didn't have a single Republican at his side. When the Senate Finance Committee voted on two Democratic public-option proposals -- to allow government plans to compete with private insurers -- Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, denounced the public option as "a Trojan horse for a single-payer system." Let it be noted that centrist Democrats joined Republicans to defeat both measures.

In "The Audacity of Hope," Obama laid out a plan for universal coverage that allowed private carriers, such as Blue Cross and Aetna, to compete with new state pools. Still, he didn't stick his neck out to push for Democrats' public-option proposals.

In a 2003 speech, Obama, a second-term state senator, called himself "a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program." PolitiFact, however, couldn't find a similar blank-check statement. The fact-checking organization observes that as Obama became a more well-known national figure, he spoke "favorably of single-payer in concept, but always (added) qualifiers."

Snowe voted for the Democrats' health bill to get it out of committee, but it never won her support on the floor. You see, Snowe foresaw Obamacare's big problem. As she wrote (my italics), "not one single member in Congress -- Republican or Democrat -- could answer whether the newly created health insurance plans would be affordable , yet we hurtled headlong toward a final vote on a monumental bill affecting every American."

In a savvier Republicans-ruined-Obamacare argument, Washington Post wonk-blogger Ezra Klein contends that the Democratic part of Obamacare -- Medicaid, which is single-payer -- works. But: "The part of Obamacare that's troubled is the part Democrats lifted from Republican policymakers. It's the part that tries to integrate private insurance companies with government systems in order to create a universal insurance system that's subsidized by the state but run by private companies."

Get it? If Obamacare fails, it's because Obamacare is a Republican plan.

Now, I won't deny that two decades ago, some conservative think tank swell came up with the term "individual mandate" -- which allowed other wonks to try to pin the tail on the elephant. But if liberals have to fish for a 1989 Heritage Foundation policy paper that had no Republican support in 2008, 2009 or 2012 to establish Republican paternity for the Affordable Care Act, that tells you one thing: They think Obamacare won't work.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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