Jason Fodeman

One year ago, President Obama opted to shove his radical health care prescription down the public’s throat. The measure passed Congress via reconciliation along party lines. To accomplish even this, liberals relied on amongst other things, unprecedented back room deals, budgetary gimmicks, and a Christmas Eve vote. At first glance one might ask: What a difference a year makes? Yet, on closer inspection, a more appropriate question to ask is has anything really changed.

The opposition to ObamaCare’s government takeover of medicine has always been substantial. The legislation greased the wheels for huge Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections. Since taking over the House, Republicans have already voted to repeal the legislation, but these efforts died in the Democrat-led Senate. On the legal front, twenty-eight states have challenged the constitutionality of the individual mandate and two judges have declared the provision unconstitutional. The hitherto popular child-only individual insurance market has collapsed under the weight of ObamaCare’s hefty mandates and regulations, foretelling a scary fate for the adult insurance market when in the near- future similar mandates will kick in.

It’s been a rough first year for President Obama’s signature legislation. The president has ardently stuck to his baby. During the prolonged health care debate, he gave countless speeches, town halls, and radio interviews to pitch his liberal program. The president spoke about it from border to border and coast to coast. He was here, there, and pretty much everywhere to discuss his plan. President Obama acknowledged his plan had failed to garner widespread public support, but blamed this on poor communication. He claimed people did not understand the contents of the package. When in reality, the public understood it all too well. Unfortunately for the president, the problem was substance not marketing. Yet his solution was always repackaging and better marketing. Ultimately, when this failed to work, the president chose the sledge hammer: reconciliation.

The president continues this tone-deaf approach today. Thus far his concessions continue to be mostly stylistic, not substantive, and he continues to give little more than a pump fake to true compromise. Yes, his Department of Health & Human Services has already offered 1,000-plus waivers to well-connected businesses and unions. This seems to reflect political opportunism as opposed to a realization that the health care overhaul law is not practical for American business. For example, McDonald’s does not want a one-size-fits-all plan for its employees. They want to offer mini-med plans that work for them. While the waivers may not pose the best publicity for the administration looking to sell its program, it is politically much more palatable than watching companies lay off thousands of workers as a result of the legislation. No doubt, however, once the legislation becomes more ingrained in American society and the next presidential election cycle passes, the well of waivers will quickly begin to dry up, certainly for those less politically connected.

President Obama more recently employed this strategy when he told governors at the National Governor’s Association meeting that he would be willing to move up the timetable states can opt out of the legislation with the caveat being they would have to cover the same number of people with the same benefits. At first glance this seems like a president willing to come to the table, but in reality it’s simply ObamaCare’s latest make-over.

The alleged compromise is illusionary and subjected to the arbitrary opinion of the Secretary of HHS. The president is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. His carefully chosen words of art would put the same burden on companies trying to stay afloat and could just as easily open the door for liberal states like New York and California to establish single-payer systems.

Indeed the more things appear to change, the more they stay the same for a determined left-leaning president. Sadly President Obama with his never-ending packaging for ObamaCare is winning this stalemate. The longer it stays on the books and once the bureaucracy is established, the harder it will be to repeal with grave consequences for the world’s premier health care system.


Jason Fodeman

Jason D. Fodeman, M.D. is an Internal Medicine Resident at UCONN and a former health policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation.