When President Truman was in office, he popularized the phrase “The Buck Stops Here.” President Obama should take a page out of Truman’s book. So far, all he has offered is a half-hearted apology. He stood in front of the American public and admitted that the federal government botched the Obamacare rollout. He acknowledged that it is “scary getting a cancellation notice,” but seemed more concerned with failing his political party than the American public.
The president doesn’t seem worried about the millions of people who had their health care ripped from beneath them. And to me, his apology sounded more like a plea intended to raise campaign cash for fellow Democrats, who are now struggling in the polls due to the Obamacare disaster. This isn’t an apology, but a cheap political gimmick.
The president did make some desperate changes to Obamacare. The largest is letting insurance companies offer people another year of coverage under their existing plans, even if those plans don’t meet the requirements set out in his health care overhaul law. But this is too little too late, and in many cases the damage has already been done. So many Americans have been turned off by the debacle, and the president is hoping his latest rhetoric will win them back.
A colleague of mine pointed out that Republicans in Congress might want to do some research on the Healthy New York program that was put in place as part of the Health Care Reform Act of 2000. This program was presented to the public as a private market mechanism, invisibly backed by a state reinsurance program that effectively dictated rates, deductibles, co-pays and other provisions to insurers rather than to the insured, all with the objective of achieving affordable care for those in need.
An exchange wasn’t needed — or maybe I should say that an exchange, in fact, existed, due to the network of agents, brokers, benefits managers, chambers of commerce, governmental institutions and health facilities, many working without compensation, who facilitated a natural health care exchange.
I urge my fellow Republicans to think outside the box and begin to offer viable solutions.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.