The Salem News
---- — Hypocrisy and double standards are two things that disgust and infuriate all Americans, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum. Unfortunately, these qualities are far too prevalent in our political culture today and are prime reasons why Washington and the politicians who work there are held in such low regard.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the implementation and implosion of Obamacare. During the debate over the deeply flawed bill in 2009 and 2010, voters were repeatedly assured by President Obama and his congressional allies that everyone who liked their current health care plan would be able to keep it. “Period.” Now, as the new law implodes before our eyes, millions of Americans have received letters of cancellation. With approximately 5 million people across the country expected to lose their current plan and millions more to follow, when all the smoke clears, it’s clear that the Democrats broke their promise to the American people.
Many other Americans are experiencing fewer medical options as insurers restrict their choice of doctors and hospitals in order to keep costs low. Some of the country’s top medical facilities are being excluded from the new exchange system, meaning patients who have been getting treatment from doctors they like all of a sudden find themselves out of luck.
For example, in New Hampshire, only 16 of the state’s 26 hospitals are available on the federal exchange, meaning patients must either pay more to keep their current doctor or seek inferior care elsewhere. Neither is a good option.
New Hampshire is not alone. Across the country, some of the best hospitals are not available on plans on the exchange, leaving patients with difficult choices and unwanted, sometimes life-threatening, decisions.
Rather than join with Republicans and immediately repeal this catastrophe before it gets any worse, Democrats are stubbornly digging in their heels. They know that backing away from President Obama’s signature achievement would be a huge embarrassment for the White House, and they’re unwilling to buck their party leadership.
Instead, they’re hiding behind meaningless show votes in Congress, offering halfhearted and meaningless attempts to reinstate canceled plans or delay implementation of some of the particularly onerous new federal regulations. All these false efforts will do is add to the increased costs and put things off until after the 2014 elections.
No one is mistaking these transparent moves as profiles in courage. Obamacare became the law of the land because every single Democratic senator fell in line with their party bosses and voted for it. For any sitting member of the Senate to somehow now suggest that they are fighting to protect their constituents from this “train wreck” is completely hypocritical. If they were really interested in sparing their constituents from Obamacare’s harmful impact, they should have stood up when they could have stopped the whole thing from becoming law. They could have also voted to allow for the protection or “grandfathering” of the older policies. They did neither.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that politicians in Washington have access to many special perks and privileges unavailable to the general public when attempting to navigate Obamacare. Beyond having more top-flight plans to choose from, senators have access to what the New York Times recently described as “concierge-type services” and “in-person support sessions” available only to members of Congress.
Democrats who voted for Obamacare are, therefore, not exposed to the same frustrations of a broken website and complicated red tape that millions of everyday people are being forced to work through.
The hypocrisy is stunning. Saddling the rest of the country with complicated rules they didn’t want and don’t need in pursuit of a health care takeover that will hurt patient care, limit options and devastate our economy is no way to run a country. Not only is President Obama to blame here, so, too, are every single one of the Democratic senators who forced this fiasco on the American people.
The president is not going to face voters again, but his congressional enablers and supporters will in less than a year. When they do, it’s going to be an unpleasant experience for any incumbent having to explain their deciding vote and continued support for the ongoing disaster of Obamacare.
Scott P. Brown, a Republican, was Massachusetts’ U.S. senator from Feb. 4, 2010, to Jan. 3, 2013.