Our View: ObamaCare woes

Posted: July 12, 2013

USA Today bills itself as “The Nation’s Newspaper.” But even that self-laudatory appellation hardly renders the Gannett flagship immune from sophistry.

In an editorial written for its July 9 edition, USA Today not only compared the woes of implementing ObamaCare to those initially experienced in the “rocky rollout” of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, but also laid all the blame for these problems not on the bill’s convoluted vagaries, but on Republicans who fought it from the git-go.

For starters, any comparison between ObamaCare and Medicare Part D is specious on its face. Granted, the latter was, at first, as the newspaper noted, difficult for seniors and their caregivers to navigate. In other words, it sported more than its share of glitches, but never, ever did it seek to overhaul one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Medicare Part D changed an entitlement program; ObamaCare will transform an entire culture, how we provide health care in this country.

Second, Medicare Part D was never a divisive entity. In fact, as folks eventually learned its wherefores and whys, the program achieved first acceptance and then outright popularity. With ObamaCare, the exact opposite has occurred. The more people learn about it, the less they like it. And, with at least half the nation’s citizenry, it was not popular to begin with.

Such cleavage was spawned in the extended legislative wars over its passage. ObamaCare’s enabling legislation, the Affordable Care Act, was approved with nary a Republican vote, and even a number of Senate Democrats — remember the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” and the “Florida Flim-Flam”? — had to be enticed with goodies to vote for the measure.

Now, we must admit the legislative history of Medicare Part D is dubious as well. We fully recall the House Republican leadership extending the voting period for a few hours so some arms could be twisted, thus reversing a close vote. But the bill did have a bipartisan cachet, and even the GOP’s untoward legislative shenanigans had no lasting effect on how the program was eventually perceived. The same can hardly be said of ObamaCare, whose deleterious possibilities have grown exponentially rather than subsided.

So spare us the blathering as to how Republican obstructionism is responsible for the emergence of this monstrosity’s galactic flaws. This legislation was jerry-built, a Rube Goldbergian contraption with so many inherent deficiencies and regulatory roadblocks that it’s no wonder implementation has proven difficult, if not impossible.

The law was hardly out of legislative diapers when the administration started waiving some of ObamaCare’s more onerous insurance coverage requirements for more than 1,000 employers and even entire states. So, last week’s announcement that the law’s employer mandate would be delayed for a year came as little surprise, at least to us.

The rationale for the delay? Something to do with the “complexity of the requirements.” Ya think? When you consider that ObamaCare has generated upwards of 10,000 pages of regulations, it takes but a smattering of gray matter to conclude that businesses with 50 or more employees have not completely absorbed the law’s labyrinthine complexities. And if you think companies with full batteries of lawyers and number-crunchers are experiencing difficulty, imagine the trouble regular folks will have negotiating their way through the insurance exchanges.

No, the problem with ObamaCare is not Republican recalcitrance. It lies within the law itself. Plainly and simply, it’s a mess.