President Obama had a lot of obstacles in his path. As the first black president (and one that America was not ready for) he had to play many games of appeasement. The fallacy is that his biggest obstacles were Republicans.
President Obama’s signature project was health care, and he did what it took to get it through. Progressives who have always wanted a single-payer system knew that President Obama said he wanted one, too. We continued to push him lightly, but ultimately continued to move our tolerance in favor of a system continued to be less and less beneficial for people, and more beneficial for corporations. Remember that health insurance stocks soared when Obamacare became the law of the land.
We acquiesced, when single-payer was not even the starting point. We gave in when Democrats dropped the public option. Why? We thought we knew the president’s heart. Deep inside, he supported single-payer. Moreover, many of us convinced ourselves that the system would morph into a single-payer system because even without a public option, the law required that insurance companies accept anyone who applied for insurance, irrespective of pre-existing conditions. We assumed that ultimately would see many of them bow out of the system, leading to the migration to single-payer.
My article titled “Yes, the Affordable Care Act Is The Path To Single Payer Universal Healthcare” made a bold assertion.
During the Affordable Care Act debate, there was a public option that would have simulated the latter. Lobbying summarily got it removed because had it made it into the Act, over a short period of time, arithmetic would prevail as the public option would be less expensive for any given plan. It would then turn Obamacare into a single-payer system by attrition.
There are several different pathways to reach the same goal. It is however important that the paths are built. Obamacare is the path built with pebbles and stones. It is better than the mud path of years past. As riders demand a smoother path they won’t yearn for the mud path again but for a paved road. Americans will not go back after tasting healthcare/health insurance as a right with all the benefits mentioned above. Exchanges will become single payer entities as health insurance companies are unable to demand the profits they want. Eventually, exchanges will morph into Medicare for all.
The genius of Obamacare is not that it solved the problem in its entirety. The genius is that it made reverting to an immoral system untenable.
That assertion is now in question, given that Donald Trump and his administration are methodically deconstructing Obamacare while lying to his constituency about providing better and cheaper health insurance. Of course, there is no such plan.
We were wrong in not treating health care as an existential problem that should not be tackled incrementally, because even well-intentioned incremental construction can be easily deconstructed when a regime that disregards the poor and middle class comes into power. And Trump is doing just that.
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