By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
It was supposed to be the crowning achievement of President Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s lasting legacy is Social Security. Lyndon Baines Johnson’s is Medicare and Medicaid. Healthcare Reform was to be President Obama’s legacy that would stand the test of time and build momentum for future progressive reforms. Somewhere in the process however mistakes were made.
The Obama administration did not actually write the legislation that has become so closely entwined with the President that most Americans call it, “Obamacare.” Instead they relied on Democratic House members to craft the omnibus healthcare reform legislation. The then Democratic Controlled U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 after months of hearings and partisan battles. Then the Democratic controlled Senate narrowly passed a substitute bill that was hastily written by Senator Max Bauchus (D) from Montana in order to get enough Democratic Senators on board that it could cloture a Republican filibuster. The House was left with little choice but to pass the Senate version of the lengthy bill or to let it die. As then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) from California infamously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
What Americans found was in it is that the legislation delegated enormous authority to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to write thousands of pages of regulations affecting everything from: doctors, hospitals, patients, insurance companies, the states, to the IRS. All of this and the rollout of the first phase of “Obamacare” was placed under the leadership of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (D).
Somewhere in the process, the insurance reform plan that was supposed to provide affordable healthcare insurance to almost all Americans has somehow cost more Americans their coverage than it insured and the most economically devastating mandates in the healthcare law have been postponed until 2015…..or beyond. The program has led to employers and individuals paying dramatically more for healthcare insurance that includes higher deductibles and copays that for many makes healthcare unaffordable even if they can afford the high cost of the insurance.
Between an inability to promote the plan’s rollout, failure to build a decent website, failure to get all 50 states to participate in the exchanges, legal battles over religious liberties that continue to the present day, and the expensive Medicaid expansion, reluctance by the uninsured to purchase the unpopular plans, and economic uneasiness from American employers, the administration finally admitted that perhaps Sec. Sebelius was not the best woman for the job and they needed to make a change. Sec. Sebelius announced her resignation on Friday, but denied being forced out.
Representative Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose released a written statement in reaction to the news that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was resigning and would be replaced by Director of the Office of Management & Budget Sylvia Burwell.
Congressman Byrne said: “Secretary Sebelius and I could not be more diametrically opposed in our visions of the future of American health care policy. As Secretary, Sebelius has been the President’s top lieutenant pushing the destructive ObamaCare law. On her watch, premium costs have skyrocketed, families have been dropped from their coverage, and businesses have incurred massive costs that are choking job growth across the country. She is responsible for the failed website rollout that created headaches for millions, numerous delays and exemptions that have caused tremendous uncertainty in the markets, and multiple incidents of testimony to Congress that were misleading at best.”
Rep. Byrne said, “I am disappointed that Secretary Sebelius has continued to push this failed law despite the facts that families are hurting and businesses are being subjected to crushing fees and regulations that are holding back our economic recovery. I hope the President’s nominee to replace her will be more open to working with Congress to find a workable alternative to this disastrous law – one that will actually achieve greater access to quality health care for all Americans.”