We are all hearing stories about how Americans have always fought about the issues but in the end always made the correct decision. Right now though it’s a tough time. People of good will have great differences of opinion on how to move forward. On the extreme right the Tea Party seems unable to give any ground on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
This piece of legislation went through many reformulations before it was finally enacted. Subsequently, it had to fight through numerous challenges most of which were adjudicated by the Supreme Court, but fights against it’s implementation have continued. Many states have not set up the proper insurance exchanges while some have been totally unhelpful to their citizens in getting ready for people to sign up. Even though we are just going to go from about 80 to 95 percent healthcare coverage on a national scale, it’s not going to be easy. Implementation is going to affect the entire medical system in a major way. Most of these changes can be anticipated and are being planned for, but some cannot and there will be surprises. I’m not intending to detail any of that here, but suffice it to say when we’ve finished in a year or two most of that will be clear. It will also be clear that we need to go through another major step to get it all closer to completely right. Things will be better, but people of good will have to make those changes. Let’s hope we mature a little between now and then and that we don’t have anything resembling the food fight currently going on in the Congress.
The first stage of implementation is underway. The insurance exchanges have been set up and people are visiting the various Websites by the millions. There are many problems but they will be worked out as we proceed. Some may later require Congressional action. Let’s do all that later because many simple problems will be caught and fixed as implementation proceeds. True the Congress may need to fix some of them as we go along and not wait to try to do it all at once, but certainly these are issues that are not necessary to tie to new Fiscal Year Appropriations and to regular advances in the size of the Federal Debt. Linking these decisions in any way while trying to manipulate the implementation of a new law that has just become a law and passed on issues of constitutionality with the Supreme Court makes no sense at all except in the context of partisan politics.
Unhappily we have only a few days for the Congress to come to its senses, otherwise we may set in motion a major reaction from markets that we may immediately begin to regret. In fact, we need a new Fiscal Year Budget and an increase in the approval of the Debt Limit. After that the Congress should consider tax reform, any urgent matters regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act brought to it by the administration, matters that relate to increasing jobs, immigration policy and other matters of vital interest to the nation. Further, if Speaker Boehner cannot control the GOP caucus, he should resign and let the House of Representatives reorganize itself along more productive lines.