Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Because nothing says sober, serious, responsible government like someone rooting for it to fail . . .
There is something deeply disturbing about Tea-Publicans. GOP
hopes Obama heath care woes have staying power. What kind of patriotic American roots for their country to fail? Whatever happened to "American exceptionalism" and our can-do spirit? Who are these people?
Remember back when the GOP pushed through its Medicare Part D government subsidy to Big Pharma and tried to set up its program? The Tea-Publicans are all pretending to have amnesia about this disaster now. Jon Perr remembers How Democrats Saved Bush's Medicare Drug Program:
President [Obama] declared, "It's time for folks to stop rooting for its
failure because hard working middle class families are rooting for its
["I’m willing to work with anyone, on any idea, who’s actually willing to
make this law perform better. But it’s well past the time for folks to
stop rooting for its failure. Because hardworking, middle-class
families are rooting for its success." Transcript of Weekly Address: Enrolling in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace (10/26/2013).]
Which is exactly right. After all, when President Bush's Medicare
prescription drug program nearly crashed and burned in late 2005 and
early 2006, Democrats in Washington and in the states stepped in to save
As Americans should recall, the Bush administration rollout of the
Medicare drug benefit for 43 million elderly Americans was a disaster.
Ohio Congressman John Boehner admitted as much to Fox News in February
2006 when he lamented that two years after its passage, "The
implementation of the Medicare plan has been horrendous." As Ezra Klein recently recounted, in his rare moment of candor the future Speaker was right:
In 2006, the bill went into effect. It was a
disaster. Computer systems didn't communicate with one another. Seniors
were confused. Some of the poorest and sickest enrollees — "dual
eligibles" who qualify for aid under both Medicare and Medicaid —
weren't able to get their drugs. It was so bad that in his 2006 State of
the Union address, Bush "said nothing about the new Medicare
prescription drug program, an initiative Republicans once hoped to
trumpet but has angered many seniors in its implementation," reported
the Washington Post.
Much like Republican opponents of the Affordable Care Act in 2010,
most Democratic Senators and almost all Democratic House members voted
against Bush's Medicare Rx plan because they considered it an unnecessarily expensive, unfunded giveaway to insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms.
But unlike Republican obstructionists
who went to the Supreme Court, attempted to repeal and defund the law,
blocked the expansion of Medicaid, refused to set up their own state
health care exchanges, sought to cut-off funds for Obamacare "navigators," tried to halt spending on outreach
and customer service, and even proclaimed they would refuse to answer
constituent calls, Democrats at all levels helped save Bush's signature
health care achievement from its disastrous roll-out. As then-Senator
Hillary Clinton reasoned in 2006:
"I voted against it, but once it passed I certainly
determined that I would try to do everything I could to make sure that
New Yorkers understood it, could access it, and make the best of it."
When Wisconsin Senator Kohl, the ranking Democrat on the Senate
Select Committee on Aging asked his colleagues "to put aside any
partisan thoughts to work together to get this program running,"
Democratic governors were already spending billions of dollars to help
As the Washington Post reported in January 2006,
"Two weeks into the new Medicare prescription drug program, many of the
nation's sickest and poorest elderly and disabled people are being
turned away or overcharged at pharmacies, prompting more than a dozen
states to declare health emergencies and pay for their life-saving
medicines." Roughly 6.4 million seniors who just days earlier had gotten
their prescriptions for free faced the prospect of going without
because of untrained pharmacists and computer glitches. By January 16th,
2006, the New York Times reported, many states (most of them led by Democrats) came to their rescue[.]
* * *
It's no wonder why Paul Krugman summed up the whole catastrophe as "D for Debacle."
The headlines in late 2005 and early 2006 tell the tale. The launch
of the enrollment period for 43 million seniors to use their new drug
benefit to purchase prescription coverage from private insurers was met
with stories like "Medicare prescription drug plan stump seniors" (USA Today) and "Officials' pitch for drug plan meets skeptics" (New York Times). In mid-October 2005, Bush administration officials delayed the launch of their new prescription drug comparison web site for a few days, ostensibly to avoid offending Jewish Americans during Yom Kippur. Almost a month later,
the site was still idle, prompting the Washington Post to conclude,
"The rollout of the new Medicare drug benefit has been anything but
smooth." Well into 2006, the Bush administration was dogged by stories
like "Medicare drug plan still not generating much enthusiasm" and
"majority of Americans say drug plan is not working" (Gallup).
But the very rocky start did not spell doom for the Medicare drug program. As Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post explained earlier this year, "Part D was less popular than Obamacare when it launched":
Eight years ago, the federal government rolled out
Medicare Part D, a prescription drug benefit. For the first time ever,
Medicare was launching a benefit administered exclusively through
private health insurance plans. The benefit was not popular: In the
spring of 2005, when enrollment efforts ramped up, polls showed Medicare
Part D to be less popular than the Affordable Care Act. Fewer Americans
felt they understood how it worked, too…
Neither was especially popular in the months prior to
their launch. Part D was even less liked: 21 percent of the public had a
favorable opinion of the program in April 2005 compared to 35 percent
in April 2013 for the Affordable Care Act.
Part of the reason for Part D's rebound was simple. For tens of
millions of American seniors, Part D was better than the alternative:
nothing. As the Bush administration's bureaucratic bungles were ironed
out over time (aided in large part by governors who stepped into provide
resources, support and cash), public support increased. By October
2012, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, "Survey finds seniors satisfied with Medicare Part D."
* * *
In June, the reliably Republican Wall Street Journal
also reported on the parallels between Medicare Part D then and
Obamacare now. Reviewing an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation (RWJF), the Journal explained:
Past efforts to design and launch a large national
health coverage program suggest that the experience will be far from
perfect, at least at the outset. However, the Medicare Part D experience
teaches us that, when things went awry, federal and state officials
were often able to identify problems and work with stakeholders to
develop policy and operational solutions, so that consumers could obtain
the promised benefits.
Alas, it is on that last point where the paths of Part D and
Obamacare diverge. Unlike Democrats then, Republican officials at all
level are trying to sabotage a health care reform designed to help
millions of Americans. Rooting for its failure–precisely what was
unthinkable for Democrats in 2005 and 2006–is now standard operating
procedure for Republicans.
This is not how American government functions. This is something new, alien, un-American, and unacceptable. It must end.