President Barack Obama, administration officials and liberal pundits point to problems with rollouts of Medicare Part D and “Romneycare” as if that explains the disastrous introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Pardon me, but rather than supporting their excuses, doesn't that actually make it worse? If they knew these much smaller efforts had difficulties you'd think officials would have been doubly vigilant. Conservatives are gloating, and who can blame them? But as usual they can't help overplaying their hand in comparing the rollout to Hurricane Katrina. Even Chris Wallace, who's normally one of the saner passengers in Fox Noise's clown car, called it even worse than Katrina saying “it — Katrina — began and ended within a week. This could affect peoples' lives for years to come.” A week? Tell that to the thousands of orphans and widows. Or the small business owners and watermen whose livelihoods were devastated. Or the residents of the lower ninth ward, many of whom are still not resettled. But then, why let facts get in the way of some really good hyperbole? The worst thing about this is not the hassle and delays millions of people are facing seeking health care coverage. It's that this fiasco plays right into the Republican meme that government can't do anything right.
That assertion is totally bogus. The government does thousands of things right every day. From the Centers for Disease Control to food inspections to air traffic control to the Social Security Administration to storing nuclear waste. Of course mistakes are made, but I guarantee for every one there is a counterpart in the private sector. For every Solyndra or “Obamacare” cockup there's an Enron, AIG, BP or Progress Energy's Crystal River nuclear plant fiasco. Remember, it wasn't the IRS or the EPA that tanked the stock market and destroyed the economy in 2008. Government bureaucrats aren't the ones scrimping on mine and drilling platform safety, underfunding pensions, corrupting food and drug supplies, tainting the air and water and scamming Medicare. As incompetent as the rollout has been, we'll get through this. The larger question remains; should the United States join the rest of the first world democracies and provide universal health care coverage? Is that, like K-12 education and food security, something a civilized society assures its citizens? If you believe so, Democrat or Republican, you need to figure out a way to do it. If “Obamacare” is so bad then Republicans need to offer a comprehensive plan of their own, or at a minimum offer constructive fixes to the ACA and not simply vote 40 times to abolish it. In the absence of such action the only conclusion can be Republicans don't believe every American has the same right to health care security as Britons or Germans or Canadians. Really? That's what they want to tell you? Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.