Play fair on ObamaCare


SPOKANE — Warnings of a train wreck for the ObamaCare Express take me back to the early days of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit that was tacked onto the health care plan for seniors (with the cost tacked onto the deficit).

That bill narrowly passed at the crack of dawn 10 years ago, as the scheduled 15-minute vote turned into three hours, which is how long it took House Republican leaders to complete their unprecedented arm-twisting session.

One of the final converts was then-Rep. Butch Otter of Idaho, who initially held out because the new benefit wasn’t paid for (unlike ObamaCare).

After President George W. Bush signed the bill into law, his administration undertook more than two years of planning and embarked on a promotional campaign that enlisted professional athletes to help spread the word.

The opponents of the plan accepted defeat and did nothing to block implementation.

Still, it was a mess at first. People were leaving pharmacies angry and in tears. In a May 6, 2006, editorial about the impending deadline to sign up, The Spokesman-Review wrote:

“The Bush administration is resisting calls to extend the deadline and drop the fines, but it’s the government’s fault that the rollout of this new program has been so confusing. The January rollout was botched. Many seniors were confounded as they tried to match their shifting needs with a seemingly endless array of choices. Things have settled down some, but millions of seniors have yet to sign up. A Government Accountability Office audit of the feds’ outreach effort helps explain why. The GAO found hotlines dispensing erroneous information, an official website that was difficult to navigate and brochures and newsletters bogged down in technical jargon. …”

Eventually, the storm passed.

Today, congressional opponents of ObamaCare actively seek ways to ensure its failure, and Republican-led states are dragging their feet on implementation.

The latest effort is to attack the administration’s efforts to publicize the plan and educate the public. After hearing the administration was talking with the National Football League, congressional leaders fired off a letter urging the league to keep its distance. The NFL recently announced it won’t assist in any publicity campaigns. Major League Baseball has done the same.

Republican leaders in Congress say the rollout will be a train wreck, but they fail to note their efforts to loosen the tracks.

Seniors enjoying cheaper prescription drugs are fortunate that politics didn’t derail their new benefit.


PearlY 1 year, 11 months ago

I have no desire to "play fair" on Obamacare. Obamacare has not played fair with me. Remember the promise that if I liked my health care plan, I could keep it? That turned out to be an absolute, very intentional lie.

As someone who enjoyed the low cost, efficient administration and true insurance protection of an individual health care plan for decades, I was pretty sure it was a lie, and sure enough: Two years later, the plan I had and LIKED for over three decades is no longer available anywhere in the country.

It is not possible to buy a health "insurance" plan that doesn't include coverage for non-insurance items like office visits and preventive care, not because I want that coverage, but because a bunch of politicians decided I had to have it crammed down my throat. Annual check-ups and occasional office visits are not the kind of major, unpredictable events I want to "insure" against. I did just fine budgeting for them, like any other predictable expense.

That's like buying an auto insurance policy and finding it is required to include coverage for oil changes and occasional new tires. Sounds great, until you have to pay for it, and it turns out everybody wants new tires more frequently now, whether they need them or not.

Naturally my premiums have skyrocketed - increased more than 50% in two years, with further increases in the works. And all because of something fraudulently titled the "Affordable Care Act." Disgusting.

How about playing fair with us, President Obama, and keeping your promises? Better yet, how about pulling your nose back out of what's none of your business?


namvet60 1 year, 11 months ago

It appears Mr Crooks should get his facts straight before rolling out an editorial. The first person to indicate that Obamacare was going to be a train wreck was a Democrat Max Baucus. It is also indicated that Obamacare will be partially financed by cutting Medicare by $500 Million and Obamacare would pick up Medicad if you can find a Doctor to accept you. Of course, it's GW Bush's fault?

It also has been represented that the business's and corporations have been given a waiver for a year with the individual mandates still forced to buy or face penalties. This Obamacare has so many holes in it that it will never be totally in force due to the fact that nobody knows what is in it. And when you have the IRS in charge of collecting the funds - Now that's funny I don't care who you are!


downhillracer 1 year, 11 months ago

Mr. Crooks in fact did get his facts straight. It's the collection of Koch-Brother-funded misinformation that the Tea-bagging set has latched on to.. sad, actually. More of a statement on how our educational system has failed so many.


PearlY 1 year, 11 months ago

So which fact that I asserted was a product of Koch disinformation? The kind of plan I had? Whether I liked it? Whether it's now available? What has changed about it? Whether Obama promised i'd be able to keep my plan if I liked it? How much my premiums have increased?

Curious that you feel our government-run educational system has been such a failure for so many, yet you devoutly believe a government-run health care system is bound to be a success if only "tea-baggers" (also known as anyone who disagrees with you) would quit complaining about it.


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