Before I get into the varying approaches, let me point out an important fact that many people seem to be overlooking:
The Marketplace Website is not Obamacare.
It’s a website built for people to access insurance. The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is a massive overhaul of our medical insurance system. We won’t know if it’s a success or a failure for a long while.
The launch of the Marketplace website has been pretty terrible, but it does not mean Obamacare is terrible. Obamacare hasn’t even been fully implemented, so any speculation on its success or failure is purely speculation. At best, an opponent of Obamacare could point to this website launch and say, “See? This is evidence of how badly our government handles big projects!”
That stance, though, isn’t really valid either (in my humble opinion), for two reasons:
1. The government already handles projects far bigger than Obamacare. The military, for example.
2. The people currently running our medical system (private industry) have already proven that they can’t run it either. Otherwise, Obamacare wouldn’t exist.
Now, I could (and probably will) write dozens of blogs on the pros and cons of Obamacare, but this blog is specifically about the different ways various republicans have expressed their opposition to Obamacare…
The Right Way
Today, on CNN, John McCain made the following statement about the launch of the Marketplace website:
“Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with smart people, bring them back to Washington and fix this problem. It’s ridiculous. And everybody knows that.”
John McCain doesn’t support Obamacare. He opposes it rather enthusiastically. And yes, McCain’s comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Even so, McCain’s comment shows an attitude I wish more republicans would adopt.
He didn’t say, “Look! This one piece of Obamacare is terrible! Let’s destroy it all!”
Instead, he said, “Look, this one piece of Obamacare is terrible. Let’s do what we can to fix it, then look at the other aspects.”
His view was results oriented and it was about actually addressing a specific problem. He didn’t call to burn down the house because one window has a crack in it.
The Wrong Way
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is one of the hypocrites calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign because of the poor roll-out of the Marketplace. Today (also on CNN) he said: “Absolutely, she should resign. Why? Because the program she implanted, Obamacare, is a disaster. It’s not working, it’s hurting people all across the country.”
Okay, I can think of quite a few ways in which that statement is misleading, but I’ll just focus on the sentiment behind it…
Cruz’s “burn the house down” viewpoint accomplishes one thing and one thing only: It raises his standing among the Tea Party supporters.
It does nothing to help his fake fight against Obamacare and it does nothing to help his own party. How exactly would firing this woman help improve Obamacare? If you’ve ever worked in a bureaucracy, you know that no one person makes the decisions and you know that 9 times out of 10, firing someone over something is simply a way to have a scapegoat so everybody else involved can get away without any trouble. In this case, it’s a way for several republicans to quickly distract us from the disaster that was the shutdown.
As far as Cruz’s motivation, I’m pretty sure he’s working on one thing, and that thing isn’t the betterment of his country. He’s working on his career.
So why is McCain’s way the right way?
Because McCain is actually focused on improving the medical system.
Republicans like Cruz need to realize that as long as there’s a democratic senate and a democratic president, Obamacare will not be repealed.
If they truly want to repeal it, they have one option. It’s the option our founding fathers created for them. They have to win the US Senate in the next election. Then they will have the votes to do what they please.
In the meantime, they need to stop this politically driven nonsense that is hurting the country. They think Obamacare needs improvement. Fine. I agree with them on that. They should put forth resolutions that improve Obamacare instead of putting through fake resolutions to repeal it.
And if they claim the democrats won’t budge on any improvements, they’re lying. Obamacare has already seen 19 different amendments, some small and technical, some rather big.
So clearly the democrats (including Obama) are open to changing what needs changed in order to make this thing work.
If republicans like Cruz truly think Obamacare is bad for this country, they need to follow McCain’s lead. Try to improve it instead of pretending you’re trying to repeal it. McCain correctly said republicans should take a “rifle shot” approach to Obamacare instead of the “meat ax” strategy being embraced by people like Ted Cruz.
I probably should point out that I fundamentally disagree with most of the things McCain has said, but on this particular issue… he’s absolutely right. McCain’s approach is about improving something he believes is bad. Cruz’s approach is about pretending to fight something in order to advance his own career.
I hope republicans learned from the shutdown that McCain is the man to listen to when it comes to opposing Obamacare.
p.s. On a side note, in case you’re wondering why I say “Obamacare” instead of “The Affordable Care Act”, it’s because – right or wrong – “Obamacare” has become the term most people recognize. It’s also a term that has been embraced by the Obama administration, so now there’s no real political statement being made when the term is used. Personally, I’d prefer the ACA, but whatcha’ gonna’ do.