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During a recent conference call with bloggers to promote his bill to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance, Senator Ron Johnson told the story of a woman who is battling lung cancer and her husband who is recovering from prostate cancer. Both are enrollees in the soon to be extinct Wisconsin high risk insurance pool for patients with pre-existing conditions. The Wisconsin couple is not looking forward to seeing its "substandard" annual insurance costs double to nearly forty thousand dollars under Obamacare.
Stories of unnecessary hardship caused by Obamacare are happening across the country and have been relayed numerous times on the pages of this blog. Former Obama supporters and political agnostics are up in arms when they discover not only that President Obama did not keep his promise to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance, but he lied repeatedly about his intention to do so. To make a bad situation worse, President Obama tried to deflect blame by pointing his finger at insurance companies whose crime was to abide by the law that President Obama signed. President Obama blamed the American people as well for being foolish enough to purchase "substandard" health insurance in the first place.
Given all this, you would think Republicans would be able to take advantage of the situation and use the opportunity to begin to roll back Obamacare in some meaningful way. Senator Johnson's bill is an attempt to do that. In fact, there are reports that a Senate Democrat who represents a southern conservative state is considering a similar proposal.
Yet, when Senator Johnson was asked whether he is working with Senate Democrats to advance similar proposals, the answer was no. When asked what his strategy was for forcing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a vote on his bill before the end of the calendar year when Obamacare goes into effect, Senator Johnson's answer was to help elect more Republicans so Republicans can take control of the Senate in 2014.
I am not opposed to electing conservative Republicans, but the 2014 elections are a year away. In the meantime, we should be working to chip away at this terrible law by any means available to us.
The website will be fixed eventually. Michelle Obama's college friend may not know how to build and maintain a functioning website but there are internet entrepreneurs in the United States who do. Further, while private health insurance enrollment may be proceeding slowly through the health insurance exchanges, Medicaid enrollment is not. Medicaid expansion will continue to drain state and federal budgets while providing substandard care.
Since many Senate Republicans are unwilling to take the larger step of pushing to defund Obamacare in whole or in part, they must embrace smaller steps like Senator Johnson's bill and tie their passage to must-pass pieces of legislation like the budget. If we keep kicking the Obamacare can down the road until 2014 or 2016, it may be too late, especially for the couple in Wisconsin.