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Blue Civil War
Obamacare Dysfunction Splits the Left

In 2013, the White House adopted a new social media tagline for Obamacare—”It’s. The. Law.”—intended to convey to insubordinate Republicans that the debate was over, that the policy was settled, and that the president’s signature legislative achievement should no longer be a live issue in American politics.

But now, as the cracks in Obamacare start to widen and support for the law continues to sag, a growing number of left-wing Democrats are agitating for big changes to the law as well (albeit of a very different kind). Politico reports on the battle over the public option that is splitting the party:

A liberal attempt to revive the so-called public option — a government-run insurance plan to shore up gaps in the Affordable Care Act — is opening old wounds between the Democratic Party’s liberal and moderate wings.

Thirty-three mostly liberal Democrats, including all the Senate leadership, have signed onto a nonbinding Senate resolution introduced last Friday to add the public option to Obamacare, arguing that it is needed to fix problems with the president’s signature health care law.

Future debates over the future of the Affordable Care Act won’t just pit Republicans against Democrats; they will pit scorched-earth “repeal!” Republicans against more incremental reformers, and status-quo “it’s working!” Democrats against an increasingly vocal single-payer wing. As we’ve indicated before, our sympathies lie mostly with the reformers: The key to making healthcare more accessible is controlling the growth of costs, something that can only be achieved by leveraging the full force of market competition and the information revolution.

But no matter which faction wins the day, one thing is clear: Despite the White House’s best efforts, the battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act will not be over for quite some time.

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  • f1b0nacc1

    Of course those of us who argued that Obamacare was nothing more than a stalking horse for single payer were told at the time that we were paranoid…

    • Andrew Allison

      The only way to unleash the full force of competition onto the health insurance market is to do away with the artificial limits imposed by State regulation so that companies can compete nationwide.

      • seattleoutcast

        This is so terribly true. I once remarked to a good friend, who is a democrat, that Washington state only allows four health care companies to compete. He replied that under Obamacare, it had grown to six! I asked why we couldn’t have the hundred plus companies competing and he didn’t have an answer.

        We, of course, know the reason: state bureaucrats love the power trips over regulating health insurance companies. It is also lobbying by the insurance companies themselves. The states use the same reasoning that TAI mentions when it comes to state licensing in general. (Many thanks to the staff at TAI for covering this.)

        As a Federalist, I’d rather have state nannycrats than federal nannycrats because one can always move.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Not just “power trips” for those state bureaucrats, there is plenty of graft to be had too…much harder to twist the arm of larger companies though, especially when they don’t have to answer directly to you….

      • f1b0nacc1

        Ah how depressing….we agree again…(grin)

  • seattleoutcast

    When you have an entire group whose goal is to loot the treasury, it’s only a matter of time before they turn on each other.

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