Dear Senator Baucus,
I was stunned, and also saddened, to read of your complaint that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is doing an insufficient job informing the public about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. My shock wasn’t because I disagreed: You’re right to say this legislation has led to great uncertainty for hard-working Americans, small business owners, and families. No, I was shocked because you wrote this bill. I was saddened because your acknowledgement of the harm caused by PPACA has come so late.
Unlike you, the American people have opposed this law from the moment it was first introduced in Congress. How hard was it to see that even the smartest government bureaucrats can’t competently plan something as complicated as America’s health-care sector?
President Obama’s proposal to rescind the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments for 2014 is an admission that this law will not work as written. The IRS is violating the clear language of this law by planning to spend more than half a trillion dollars and tax millions of employers and individuals without congressional authorization.
No one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law than you. When your supermajority couldn’t pass the bill using normal procedures, you and your Senate colleagues rammed through the final legislation by using parliamentary gimmickry. Then, in the House, Speaker Pelosi cheerfully urged members to pass the legislation “in order to find out what’s in it.”
This was not good policy-making, and now we’re seeing the consequences. …
However much Baucus and the Democrats might try and explain away the shortcomings of ObamaCare’s implementation as simply a poor messaging job in explaining the law to the American people (I have the funniest feeling we’ve heard that excuse before…), the fact of the matter is that Obama and the Democrats’ health-care ambitions got a little too big for the bureaucracy’s britches, and Americans are feeling the financial and economic costs.
In that same vein, Megan McArdle at the Daily Beast had some interesting thoughts following the news that the first labor union to initially support ObamaCare has now come out in favor of the law’s repeal: Is ObamaCare, in making unionized workers’ benefits less competitive compared with open shops’, going to start putting out of business some of the very unions that fought so hard for its passage? I have to wonder if they ever really took a moment to the whole thing through:
Benefits are one of the major ways that unions recruit and retain members. And there’s no way that they can compete for low-wage workers with the heavy subsidies the government is offering.
It would be ironic indeed if many of the private sector unions who supported Obamacare (with the promise that these problems would later be fixed) had actually signed their own death warrant. But it seems this may be what has happened. There’s no money in the budget for the government to extend subsidies to the union plans, or exempt them from the various coverage expansions and taxes. And there’s no money in the union coffers to compete with the government subsidies that have already been enacted.