When Bill Clinton speaks, Democrats listen. But Bill Clinton, as we know all too well, is not an honest broker. He does what’s best for himself first, people also named Clinton second – and, if there is time left, others.
But he still has high approval ratings and is a fundraising machine for Democrats, which means they listen to him. So when he came out this week and said, “I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got” about the millions of Americans losing their health insurance thanks to Obamacare, it was a watershed moment.
It could be the straw that at least starts to break the camel’s back. But, if some Republicans get their way, it won’t be.
Support in Congress from Democrats for these “if you like your plan you can keep it” bills is growing. The biggest defection from the White House line came when Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said she would co-sponsor legislation Sen. Mary Landrieu, R-La., is pushing that will allow people who’ve lost coverage they like to keep it. Landrieu is up of re-election next year in a red state, so her motives are clear. Feinstein isn’t, and even if she were she could execute puppies on live TV and still win by 20 points.
But there are a couple of problems here.
First, Feinstein isn’t just coming at this from some altruistic perspective. Although she is safe in her position, her position is much worse if Republicans re-take the Senate next year. Progressives such as Feinstein knew millions would lose their coverage in the individual market, and millions more will lose their employer-provided coverage in coming years. It was all part of the plan. Government can’t completely take over health care at once, so it takes baby-steps. Feinstein knows this. She’s not looking to help people; she’s looking to help the cause.
Obamacare is supposed to fail – it’s just supposed to take a few years as opposed to a few days. They thought if private insurance companies start to fold or if costs skyrocket five or 10 years down the road, progressives could say, “Well, we tried a private-sector solution and it didn’t work. Now we need to move to a single-payer system.” That would place the blame on greedy corporations for setting up a framework that couldn’t work and let government emerge as the hero coming to the rescue.