Point of View Columns

Trains, Planes and Obamacare

There is a line from the Walt Kelly’s old comic strip “Pogo” – “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And with all of the bile and rage that is launched against the Obama administration from the Teapublican rhetorical artillery installations, it sometimes seems that the progressive left is even more intent on defining the presidency of Barack Obama as a failure. The current status of Obamacare is a case in point.

Even though the Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land since March of 2010 and even though literally millions of Americans are benefiting from the features of this historic program, the right wing of the right wing continues to bray that Obamacare is “a disaster” or “a failure” or “the worst thing since slavery”. But by now we have come to expect that the rhetoric of the right wing would have a common link to something that you might scrape off the bottom of your shoe with a stick…….a very long stick.

But, despite the very clear facts relating to the successes of Obamacare to date, the recent technical flaws in the enrollment process have sent the commentators from the left streaming to the cliff of despair like lemmings. Not only has the executive capacity of President Obama been questioned, he is now accused of setting back the liberal movement for a) centuries or b) forever, because the American people have now learned that government cannot operate large programs for the benefit of the American people.

A few things need to be said about all of this gnashing of teeth. While the American people can be easily misled and many times have an attention span that is often exceeded by that of a goldfish, most Americans do understand that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, food stamps and college loan programs are run by the federal government.

Most Americans are reasonably satisfied with these programs and it is that satisfaction that provides a roadblock to the nihilist cohort of the right wing that would decimate and eviscerate most of these programs and many more. And while many Americans are deluded into drinking the Teapublican Kool-Aid they usually wake up when they realize that the big government that they hate so much is responsible for the programs that mean so much to them.

But all of this weeping and wailing on the left about setting back liberalism and permanently obliterating Americans’ faith in government seems to be intergalactic in origin because it cannot possibly come from an earth-based life form. While conceding the bamboozability of the American people, the American people are also used to organizations experiencing mishaps and even failures and recovering from them – consider trains, planes and automobiles.

Trains – during the Thanksgiving weekend a commuter train crashed in New York City and four people died and scores were injured. This is not the first train crash on the New York City public transport system and there have been, unfortunately, more crashes across this country during the past decade. No one has suggested that travel by train is unsafe or should be abandoned. Problems are meant to be solved.

Planes – Boeing has spent over a decade designing and building the 787 Dreamliner. After multiple mishaps and failures the planes were deemed worthy to be sold and flown all over the world – that is, until they were deemed unworthy and grounded all over the world. And now the planes have been fixed (presumably) and thousands of people are flying Dreamliners every day. No one has suggested that Boeing is an incompetent business. Problems are meant to be solved.

Automobiles – During the past few years we have seen millions of trucks and cars recalled by their manufacturers for all kinds of structural problems, some of which have caused the deaths of drivers and passengers. No one has suggested that Toyota, Ford or General Motors should go out of business or that they are incompetent organizations. Problems are meant to be solved.

But the naysayers who are against a national healthcare system, even if it worked perfectly from inception, would have us believe that the faults and flaws of Obamacare are reason to abandon a program that will allow uninsured people to be insured and will keep Americans from going bankrupt if they are seriously ill. They would have this country abandon a program that has already reduced the rate by which medical costs have been increasing.

But for the left wing to abandon ship because perfection has yet to be achieved means that they miss the point – national health care, a goal of American progressives for over a century, is the law of the land. By any measurement this is a tremendous achievement for President Obama.

One would think that now is the time to move forward with fixing what needs to be fixed rather than succumbing to the gloom and doom that is the eternal clarion call of the right wing.



3 thoughts on “Trains, Planes and Obamacare

  1. Sheila Williams says:

    Wallace, you know that I think you’re great but…I have excised the term “Obamacare” from my vocabulary. We don’t refer to the years in Iraq as “Bush’s War” (and people died).
    Sheila Williams
    (writing from the land of Kaintucke)

  2. Tom Avitabile says:

    Interesting that you use a train wreck in defense of ACA. Interesting that the name ‘ACA’ is now the command order from those in central planning to replace the term ‘ObamaCare’ in all references. You also state, incorrectly I believe, that national health care, has been a goal of American progressives for over a century.

    As we are seeing, reading and experiencing, ACA is not about healthcare.

    Healthcare = medical services. It requires doctors, facilities, drugs, procedures and (the big one) compassion. However, paying for healthcare is now the sole role of insurance under ACA. The ACA (ObamaDoesn’tCare) addresses none of these Healthcare/Medical issues. ACA only focuses on the payment part; the money! (now almost 17% of our GDP) That 17% is currently in the private sector and therefore a desirable thing for any ruling class politician, Dem or Rep to get their hands on and drag over to the government side, their side.

    Here’s the proof that medical services are not the focus of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA threatens the supply of doctors (United health care just jettisoned 50,000 doctors using ACA regulations,) Medicaid is expanding faster because the ACA potential enrollees/payees discover on the same site, “Oh, this Medicaid thing is free, while ObamaCare wants my money! Hmmm, which do I do?” Medicaid doesn’t begin to reimburse doctors enough money to keep their Examination Room Light plugged in, so many will be forced out of sustainable practices. Hospitals (mostly the best ones) are being exempted from the State Exchanges.

    So how can this happen? Especially after 103 years??? The answer is ACA is not the goal of a century’s worth of progressivism!

    Our president said in 2007 before a campaign rally of S.E.I.U. members, that his goal is Single Payer! He stressed that (sic) “we are not going to get to single payer immediately, we are going to have to go through steps.” That’s why the left is attacking their own, they want Single Payer, NOW! Single payer is the goal! Always has been, always will be. Which is why Obama lied, “you can keep your doctor…” when we now know that in 2010 federal register and internal White House documents said, 90 million couldn’t keep their insurance plans. Duh! Of course they couldn’t, the goal of the ACA is to replace health insurance (as it was) with ObamaCare. And when the people can’t get insurance because ObamaCare is unworkable or inconvenient, from the streets up to the board rooms they will demand Single Payer and then the progressive utopia of socialized medicine will be realized.

    To adjust your Trains, Planes, and Automobiles analogy (a funny movie by the way), a Single Payer healthcare system is analogous to Metro-North destroying all automobiles, buses, planes and bicycles in order to force everyone into a Metro-North Train (Single Transport) or Toyota eliminating GM, Chrysler etc. but also all trains, all planes and all other means of transport to create (Single Vehicle). Or Boeing successfully lobbying the government to ‘Junk’ Trains, Automobiles, Buses, Bicycles etc. (Single Carrier) That’s the true analogy the true intent of the progressive movement. That’s the real agenda; it is at once the very same reason the Right and the Extreme Left (for different reasons) are vehemently opposed to Obama-Obama-Obama-Obamacare!

    And as you know, I just couldn’t let this little gem of chestnut you wrote go unchallenged… You state, “Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, food stamps and college loan programs are run by the federal government. Most Americans are reasonably satisfied with these programs…”
    As of this morning, the current unfunded promise of these ‘satisfactory’ programs is that Social Security lacks the $16.7 Trillion dollars to payback everyone who THINKS they are going to get theirs! Medicare alone (not including Medicaid) is in trouble because $87.9 trillion dollars of promised coverage to Elder Americans today and in the future (those who are in their 20’s today) is not there.
    The same for every other “Social Engineered” federal program. In fact all of these promises from the beloved, beneficent, bureaucratic, behemoth of a federal government aren’t worth the 2700 pages of paper the ACA is written on because together they are $126 Trillion into the mother of all LIES that is way bigger than, “If you like your doctor… “
    Just one example: The ruling class, Democrats and Republicans, have sat idly by and watched as Social security went from 1 dollar of surplus (everyone gets their check and there’s one dollar left over) to $100 dollars of unfunded promise (one person may not get their full check) through $100 million of broken commitments, blasting trough $100 billion, zipping by the first trillion, snoring when $10 trillion dollars of “insurance” wasn’t in the account and still to this very day, have not addressed the real train wreck that is 22 Trillion in Social Security checks which can not be written.
    That’s just the Social security part of the total $126 Trillion in lies to generations of Americans of all races, creeds and strata. This grand theft of trust, makes the all time king of Unfunded Liabilities, Bernie Madoff, look like a shoplifter in a K-mart.
    And there is only one group of Americans, of all races, who feel that this mismanaged, decade old series of lies, deceit, malfeasance and theft has reached its limit. ‘Most Americans” aside, there is one group who knows the government will force all of us to pay for all of it. They formed a grass roots party of citizens who feel we are all Taxed Enough Already.

    Tom Avitabile

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