Senator Max Baucus, the architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) and the person who best understands the intricacies and nuances of this law, suffered from a moment of honesty recently when his comments to Health & Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding it, were made public. Said Baucus: “small businesses have no idea what to do; what to expect. They don’t know what affordability rules are. They don’t know when penalties may apply. They just don’t know. I see a huge train wreck coming.”
One week later, Sen. Baucus announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2014. Coincidence? Likely not.
Politico just reported that there have been ongoing secret negotiations which would exempt members of Congress and their staffs from participating in Obamacare. These very same people, such as Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer, who 4 years ago was instrumental in the passage of this law without having any understanding about what was in it, and who has spent the past 3 years telling America the importance and magnitude of this law, now believes that he and his staffers should not be subjected to it because it is too expensive.
It is shocking and simply unfathomable, that Democrats can believe that this hypocrisy and these double standards are de rigueur.
Secretary Sebelius believes that the problem is one of improper messaging. Obamacare is a great accomplishment- it is just misunderstood. Trying to walk back the Baucus comments and the fallout from the latest round of potential Obamacare waivers-which currently total about 1400 and belong mostly to political cronies such as labor unions- Sebelius is set to launch a new campaign at taxpayer expense, in an attempt to sell this law yet again. The public relations firm Weber Shandwick was awarded an $8 million contract to promote the Obamacare exchanges. This PR campaign may succeed with the “low information voters” – a term coined by Rush Limbaugh for individuals who have remained ignorant of reliable facts about healthcare and other issues. But even if you put a bow around a pile of garbage, it doesn’t make it look or smell any better. The hope is to get people to sign up for exchanges and get them hooked on the government healthcare “crack” before they and everyone else realizes how miserable their healthcare has become, as we get further into implementation of this law.
The intransigence of the Democrats in Washington could not be any more evident when one looks at the sequestration and the furlough of thousands of air traffic controllers, which has caused a major strain our air transportation system. This is a vital part of our economy and has resulted in considerable damage to the airline industry at a time when our fragile economy can least afford it. Yet, there is enough money to create a new group of federal bureaucrats- Obamacare navigators. These are the people who guide Americans through the “simple” 21 page application for subsidies in the healthcare exchanges. These new positions, which will pay between $20-40 per hour, will be awarded to political allies, many of whom are ex-ACORN employees. The sequestration doesn’t affect this “very important” new federal initiative.
This law and everything connected to it, is about politics, not quality of healthcare, or access to care or costs. It is on display for everyone to see, if people would just open their eyes and honestly judge it. The Democrats own this law. Max Baucus understands this, which is why he is bailing out. Steny Hoyer knows this, which is why he is trying to enlist Republicans to join him to vote exemptions for themselves and for their staff. The GOP should not take this bait. Instead, they should stiffen their spines and let the Democrats take their lumps, as America witnesses the horrors yet to come in healthcare. The GOP needs to spend every day between now and November 4, 2014, reminding the American public who needs to be held accountable for the Afforable Care Act. Sweeping these hypocrites out of Washington is the only chance that we have to snatch our healthcare system away from the hands of those who believe that the laws they pass are not meant for them, but for everyone else.
Hal Scherz is the President & Founder of Docs4PatientCare. He is a full time pediatric urologist at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta and a clinical associate professor of urology at Emory University.
Please visit http://www.docs4patientcare.