Even the most casual Whistleblower reader is aware of my hostility toward Obamacare, which appears destined for incremental implementation. Ted Cruz’s paper mache weapons were no match for the Democrats’ artillery brigade. When the Chamber of Commerce, corporate America and organized labor are all on the same side of this issue, it suggests that healing this forerunner of socialized medicine will take more than a tweak or two to smooth it out.
There’s nothing unexpected or unfair here. Romney campaigned hard against Obamacare. The country had an opportunity to elect him, and declined to do so. Did we expect that Obama would dismantle his signature legislative first term achievement in his second term? When Romney lost, Obamacare won. The Affordable Care Act was legally enacted, albeit without a single Republican vote. The Supreme Court determined that the law was constitutional. Elections matter. So, a flawed program, whose ultimate consequences are not yet entirely visible, was legally enacted and will be nearly impossible to derail.
Of course, serious reform was needed. I written throughout this blog that our health care system was not enjoying optimal health. There were glaring deficiencies and inequalities that I could never satisfactorily explain to my patients.
• Why are drugs in Canada so much cheaper than the same drugs purchased here?
• How can a hospital charge exorbitant fees for simple items that would cost a few bucks at CVS?
• Why did it take so long for colon cancer screening to be a covered benefit, when colon cancer was always paid for?
• Why is our per capita health care cost so much higher than other nations who demonstrate superior health outcomes?
• Why can’t patients receive medical bills that they can understand?
• Shouldn’t patients and their families have some skin in the game as a brake on the profligate spending of other people’s money for health care?
• Why do physicians permit, if not encourage, futile medical care?
• Why is it possible that so many working Americans can’t afford medical insurance coverage?
Obamacare emerged because the dysfunctional system demanded a response, and no prior president since the Truman administration was able to move the ball down-field. Had Obamacare antagonists passed reform measures incrementally during past decades, then we wouldn’t be subjected to the clumsy and heavy hand of government healing now.
I don’t like Obamacare and I wish it could be repealed. But, the program didn’t emerge from nowhere. Those who coasted along for decades clinging to the status quo, created a target so large that you could hit it without aiming. In Ted Cruz’s 21 hour and 19 minute speech, he never explained what brought us all to this moment. We can’t blame Obama for this. His aim was wild, but the target we all created was so large, that he couldn’t miss.
This post by Michael Kirsch, MD, FACP, appeared at MD Whistleblower. Dr. Kirsch is a full time practicing physician and writer who addresses the joys and challenges of medical practice, including controversies in the doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics and measuring medical quality. When he's not writing, he's performing colonoscopies.