Tonawanda News


May 29, 2013

DUVALL: Obamacare isn't perfect -- but what is?


Tonawanda News — Partly, Obamacare is a victim of the expectations game. For generations, the left has romanticized policy prescriptions that would bring universal or near-universal coverage for all Americans. Now that the day has arrived we don’t generally see the benefits of someone with a sinus infection getting a prescription for antibiotics. But all the negative interactions with Obamacare like my friend’s full time/part time problem — not to mention all the negative news coverage of its implementation — are amplified. The aggregate effect is the larger reality is obscured. 

We really are a much better country for allowing all our citizens access to a doctor’s care.

Also, there’s the perception that Obamacare should work perfectly from the word “go.” For any piece of legislation of Obamacare’s size and scope this is impossible. Consider, for example, Social Security and Medicare. They are two large federal entitlement programs that enjoy near universal support from seniors who rely on them. Social Security was instituted in the 1930s by FDR’s New Deal; Medicare was a product of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. We’re still very much “fixing” both of them today. There is vigorous debate about how to best do that but does anyone seriously think they need to be repealed?

Were there more efficient ways to broaden the number of people who have health insurance in America? Almost certainly. Alas, this is the one our political system produced and lawmakers should be duty-bound to improve on it where we can.

Of course, the contentious process by which it was created has made it impossible. There are some tweaks that both sides agree would improve the law’s implementation. Some Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse to take up those measures because anything short of a full repeal isn’t good enough.

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