EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 3, 2013

Editorial: Democrats made Obamacare mess inevitable

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — N.H. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is running as fast as she can from an Obamacare debacle she helped create.

Millions of people are now being notified that they will lose their existing health insurance and must sign up for new, government-approved health plans via a website that doesn’t work. This despite years of promises from President Obama and the Democrats that “if you like your current health insurance, you’ll be able to keep it.”

Now Shaheen is among a handful of her fellow Democrats who suggest the individual mandate to comply with Obamacare or face penalties might be delayed. Shaheen authored a letter, signed by several prominent Democratic senators, calling for extending the deadline to sign up for insurance beyond the current March 31, 2014.

When Republicans suggested during the recent government shutdown that the mandate be delayed for a year, Democrats derided them as bomb-toting terrorists and anarchists of the worst sort.

Obamacare, the Democrats claimed, was “settled law.” Well now that the citizens are screaming bloody murder, it’s not so “settled” after all.

It’s enough to make one wonder what is the point of sending actual representatives and senators to Washington to protect our interests. If senators like Shaheen are going to do the bidding of the leadership so thoughtlessly, without any regard to the effect of such legislation on the people they represent, the voters might as well spare themselves the trouble and expense and send a wooden puppet to Capitol Hill. Then, when the time comes to vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can just pull a string to raise its hand in the affirmative and be done with it.

Millions of Americans are getting letters from their insurers that their health plans will be cancelled because the coverage they provide does not meet the standards required in the Affordable Care Act.

The cancellations will force these citizens to seek new insurance through the “exchanges” set up by the government or face financial penalties enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. But the federal exchange website, healthcare.gov, has been plagued with problems and outages since it went online Oct. 1. A congressional inquiry revealed that the website was able to enroll a grand total of six people on its first day of operation.

And those who are getting a look at the new insurance policies are finding them both more expensive and more limiting than their previous plans.

This is a debacle of historic magnitude, a disruption of the lives, health and finances of millions of Americans for no good reason at all. It ought to be a career-ender for the politicians and bureaucrats involved.

But the Democrats responsible for this mess are issuing blithe promises that all will be well — eventually.

This promise is as worthless as the lie Obama and the Democrats peddled that those who like their insurance can keep it — even as they voted for laws that made that impossible.

CNN reported Friday that Senate Democrats, including Shaheen, voted in lockstep in 2010 to strike down a Republican measure that would have stopped the Obamacare requirement that has produced today’s cancellation notices. Republicans warned at the time that cancellations of existing policies were inevitable.

If Obama and the Democrats had been honest, they would have said, “If you like your current health insurance, too bad. You’ll take what we give you and like it.”

That would have been the truth. But the truth doesn’t get a president re-elected.