Obamacare Revisited: The Perils of Rushed Legislation

ObamacareIt has been more than three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, into law. Yet, as key provisions of Obamacare near implementation it appears that major problems stand in the way.

Recently, the administration announced it was postponing the implementation of the Employer Mandate as well as the random verification checks regarding qualification for subsidies. This brings into question legal as well as logistical concerns about the viability of Obamacare. The problems are so profound that it caused Democratic Senator Max Baucus to tell the Secretary of Health and Human Services that he foresaw a “huge train wreck” coming down the track.

Given the recent setbacks in the implementation of Obamacare, it is worthwhile to revisit just how injudiciously Congress acted in passing the landmark legislation.

The Need for Healthcare Reform

It is interesting to note that both sides of the aisle recognized the need to reform the American healthcare system. Obamacare is a representation of the liberal vision. Meanwhile, Republicans made the case for a more systematic and gradual approach reflecting market-based solutions.

Conservatives argued that incremental steps to reform the system would allow for easier implementation, lower healthcare costs, and ultimately provide greater freedom of choice to the consumer (patient). Some of the ideas presented at the time included tort reform to lessen the need for defensive medicine practices, expanding health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) to promote personal ownership of health care, and allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines to increase competition within the industry.

The Republicans argued that a massive overhaul of the healthcare system would bring with it undesirable effects which included cost overruns, difficulty in implementation, reduced quality in healthcare, and a reduction in choice. Given some of the recent revelations and announcements by the administration, it would appear that the Republicans were quite prescient.

Legislative Haste Makes Waste

Even the casual observer of politics will remember the frenzy in public debate that occurred leading up to the passage of Obamacare. Many of the legislative events seemed unsavory at the time, including the exclusion of Republicans in legislative meetings and various kickbacks aimed at garnering support from legislators who had not committed to support Obamacare.

The legislative procedure of Reconciliation caused constitutional concerns as to whether the law violated the Origination Clause. Legislators and citizens complained that they were provided insufficient time to read, analyze, and debate such a massive bill that was going to impact one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

Nancy Pelosi’s famous statement, “We need to pass the bill so that you can Find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy” was a demonstration of just how anxious the Democrats were to pass the legislation.

The Framers Liked the Idea of Gridlock

The American Framers recognized the problems associated with political haste. It is amusing to hear people lament about gridlock in the nation’s capital. The American political system was designed, not to prevent gridlock, but to prevent the momentary majority will from engulfing the country.

A bicameral legislative branch, staggered elections, and the separation of powers were all checks and tools designed to prevent rash and unreflective public policy.

In the case of Obamacare, the system broke down and now the country is left with a piece of legislation that is best described by Republican Senator Barrasso from Wyoming as “unaffordable, unworkable and unpopular.”

So…What Have We Learned from this Fiasco?

Given Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid’s, recent push to fast track immigration reform, it would seem that political haste is still in style. The Democrats are treating immigration reform with all the impetuousness and thoughtlessness that they did with healthcare reform.

Fortunately, the Republicans control the House of Representatives, which may be able to stall Reid’s attempt to rush out another massive piece of legislation that is costly and largely difficult to implement.

Again, conservatives have provided recommendations for incremental steps: secure the border First and work on a pathway to citizenship second.

Given the mess of Obamacare, it would be wise to take the Republicans seriously.


  1. Vicki Herzing Mazzaferro says

    Given the fact that my affordable health care was stolen from me by Tommy Corbutt governor in the state you live in……………………………I can not and will not agree with your negative aspect of Obama care. The tobacco settlement was set aside to provide insurance at a reasonable price to WORKING people and Toxic Tommy negated it even before the budget was done which BTW took FOREVER! ALL people who work for a living SHOULD be able to have affordable access to health care and I am sick and tired of it being called out as a free ride! You ramble on about securing the border? what the hello does that have to do with people who need health care? Given the facts you present it would be wise to VOTE the other ticket……..ps the American framers considedered ALL not just themselves………………….there was a consideration back then………………. not the repub…………..dem….mentality we see today……………….The framers cared about PEOPLE not just Republicans!

  2. What a great article!

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