Thursday, November 3, 2011

Obamacare and “The Bright Light of Day”

In a post on the White House blog yesterday, OMB Director Lew chided Congress in general, and Republicans in particular, for daring to attach policy riders to appropriations measures currently working their way through Congress.  Of particular note was the sentence in which Lew stated that “ending health care and Wall Street reform are major policy choices that should be made in the bright light of day, and not attached to appropriations bills needed to keep the government operating.”

Seeing as how Director Lew suggested that Republicans are afraid of considering an Obamacare repeal “in the bright light of day,” it’s worth remembering the absurd lengths this Administration and Democrats in Congress went to in order to enact Obamacare in the first place:

  • Candidate Obama repeatedly promised to televise health care negotiations on C-SPAN, “so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”  Instead President Obama and Democrats went and drafted their massive 2,700 page law behind closed doors.  Speaker Pelosi took the frequent President’s campaign pledges for transparency so nonchalantly she laughed it off as a joke.
  • The head of the pharmaceutical industry bragged how Administration officials enticed him, and other industry groups, to cut secret agreements to support Obamacare: “We were assured: ‘We need somebody to come in first.  If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal.’”  The details of that “rock-solid deal” between the Administration and Big Pharma have STILL not been released publicly.
  • President Obama himself admitted in a January 2010 interview with Diane Sawyer that “amongst supporters…we just don’t know what’s going on” behind closed doors.  He and Democrats promptly re-grouped, drafting new language to pass the bill – behind closed doors.
  • Democrat Members of Congress said they couldn’t be bothered to read the bill – because it was a waste of time, they needed lawyers to read the bill for them, and because “we have to make judgments very fast.”  Democrat leaders admitted that “If every Member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes.”
  • Speaker Pelosi famously said we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it – because she apparently believed the American people couldn’t be told its contents in advance.
  • Even as Administration officials were publicly claiming they were “entirely persuaded” that controversial portions of Obamacare were fiscally sustainable, career officials were calling the same program “a recipe for disaster” – evidence that the Administration concealed their knowledge that the law will ultimately be a budget-buster.
  • Following Ted Kennedy’s death, the White House enlisted Democrat allies in the Massachusetts legislature to pass a partisan bill gaming the Commonwealth’s laws and inserting an appointed Senator who would vote to pass Obamacare – the second time in five years Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature changed the laws for partisan gain, because they apparently viewed a United States Senate seat as their party’s personal property.
  • After the voters in Massachusetts told Democrats they had different ideas and elected a Republican to the Senate, Democrats used an arcane procedure to ram through the 2,700 page bill – a procedure even Speaker Pelosi’s staff called a “trick,” and which one expert said utilized parliamentary tactics to overturn the outcome of an election.

Given this dubious history, Republicans will take no lectures on passing measures “in the bright light of day” from this Administration or Democrats in Congress, who passed an unpopular – and constitutionally questionable – law the American people never wanted.