I wanted to make a few brief points about the newly repurposed Democratic talking point being rolled out this week regarding Obamacare. As Republicans prepare to repeal (and… replace?) the program as per their campaign promises, liberals are trotting out a golden oldie in the form of the Pottery Barn rule… you break it, you bought it. You’ll be hearing a lot of this in the weeks to come, such as in this article at the Washington Post.
Democrats have an emerging strategy to defend the Affordable Care Act from Republican assault, daring their opponents to defy the “Pottery Barn rule”: They’re about to break the health-care system, and that means they will own it.
For more than six years, Republicans have attacked unpopular parts of the law without having to propose alternatives. Those days are over…
“They’re going to own it and all the problems in the health-care system,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference after a 90-minute meeting with the president in the Capitol basement on Wednesday. Republicans will discover quickly, Schumer said, that implementing their preferred market-based alternatives will be virtually impossible without a large source of revenue, which would probably require Democratic votes for approval.
Those with long enough memories will recall that this was a strategy unveiled by opponents of the Iraq War in 2002 and 2003. (I invoked it myself a few times.) In that case, the nation of Iraq was the “pot.” Granted, it was a rancid, horrible pot full of toxic poisons, held together by glue in the form of Saddam Hussein’s cruel, tyrannical fist, but it was intact. We broke that pot and we wound up owning it for a very, very long time. And even though we’re mostly gone from the country at this point, many would argue that the pot remains largely broken.
Trying to apply this analogy to Obamacare is a complete red herring and the Democrats should be called out on it immediately. Obamacare is not the pot… it’s also not the health care system. We had a functional, if highly problematic health care system in this country before the Affordable Care Act was passed and we will still have one when it’s gone. Far more to the point, Obamacare did not “fix” the healthcare system in this country. It blew it up in several significant ways, not least of which was the exponential increases in premium costs and the large number of healthcare providers who wound up kicking out their satisfied patients because they wouldn’t accept Obamacare coverage.
This isn’t just an apples and oranges situation.. it’s Venus and Mars. The Pottery Barn rule does not apply to Obamacare because the “pot” in question is already in pieces. The only options that the GOP have now are to sweep up the pieces and try to glue together something that will hold water until real, positive reforms which don’t further harm consumers can be put in place.