Don’t hold your breath, Mr. President. Barack Obama told George Stephanopoulos yesterday on ABC’s This Week that his ObamaCare law will survive his presidency, but that it will just get relabeled for political purposes. Republicans will finally allow some “modifications” and take credit for the system, and that’s fine by him — even if it carries the name of his successor:
President Barack Obama says he believes his signature health care law will survive, noting he has told Republicans over his two terms in office to come up with a different solution if the law doesn’t work.
Asked by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he thinks the Affordable Care Act will survive, Obama quickly replied, “I think it will.”
“It may be called something else. And as I said, I don’t mind. If in fact the Republicans make some modifications, some of which I may have been seeking previously, but they wouldn’t cooperate because they didn’t want to — make the system work, and relabel it as Trumpcare, I’m fine with that,” he said in an exclusive interview on “This Week” Sunday.
Obama talks as if Republicans have never offered alternatives to ObamaCare, which he’s able to do because the media has insisted that’s the case for nearly eight years. However, it’s not true; starting in 2009, the GOP did offer a reform package complete with legislative language as an alternative to ObamaCare. Rep. Tom Price authored the “Empowering Patients First Act” in July 2009, and their current “Better Way” plan is based on it.
When Republicans proposed that plan, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid made sure it got buried, and refused to negotiate with the GOP on ObamaCare. Instead, the debate in the House and Senate was entirely within the parameters of whether Reid and Pelosi could keep enough Democrats from defecting to pass it on party-line votes without having to get Republicans involved. Just as with the stimulus bill and Dodd-Frank, Obama and his team on Capitol Hill had little interest in Republican ideas or Republican votes, except on their own take-it-or-leave-it terms.
Obama tries to spin that history into making himself the voice of reason and accessibility:
“I’m skeptical that they can do it, mainly because for seven years now, including when we first tried to pass health care, I said to them, ‘Okay, if this doesn’t work, tell me what does,'” he told Stephanopoulos. “If you think you got a better idea in terms of how to approach this that’s not going to result in more pollution, and more asthma, and more illness, then put your ideas out there. But don’t just depose things because, ‘This was Obama’s agenda.'”
Obama tells Stephanopoulos, “I don’t have pride of authorship” … and there’s a reason for it, even if Obama won’t admit it. These are the fantasies outgoing presidents tell themselves when their diktats are just days away from being wiped out. The end of ObamaCare is nigh, and the best Obama can do is take some pre-emptive credit for whatever replaces it.