Of course this round of bad news for Obamacare is only the latest round of bad news to arrive on the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and households the country over. It comes on the heels of Aetna and other major insurers announcing they will cease selling insurance through ACA exchanges. Right in the middle of the debacle is Slick Willy, a supposedly staunch ally of the White House, referring to the catastrophic consequences of the ACA as “the craziest thing in the world.” Not a good look for an outgoing President preoccupied with solidifying his legacy.
And what of his legacy? There’s little doubt President Obama would define it in the same self-aggrandizing way he always depicts himself: Transcendent, righteous, successful, etc. In the days – who am I kidding? Years, it’s going to be years – following his departure from the Oval Office we can be assured he’ll brag to no end about single-handedly pulling the world back from the brink of the Great Recession, saving the auto industry, bringing down the unemployment rate, lowering the cost of gas, and fulfilling all manner of messianic prophecies.
The tragic reality, as far too many Americans have experienced it, is something much different.
Perhaps there can be no better way to define Obama’s legacy than by examining the ACA, the behemoth legislation that colloquially bares his name. On top of the lies and broken promises, the “Affordable” Care Act was a law written by insurers, for insurers, a damning indictment upon the cronyism and corporatism that holds hostage not only our healthcare industry but our economy at large.
Beyond the corporatist implications of who wrote the ACA there remains the question of the mind-boggling incompetence of how it was written as personified in Nancy Pelosi’s infamous quote, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” This may illustrate as much about congress as it does about Obama’s signature piece of legislation.
When all is said and done it can be said with confidence that Obama’s legacy as embodied in the largely unworkable ACA is one born from a womb of corporate cronyism, hyper-partisanship, incompetence, secrecy, and what we can now see were obvious lies. It’s not how he imagines his legacy, of course, and it’s not how his perpetual sycophants imagine it either, but the limits of their imaginations are certainly not the limits of reality. The reality is one of sky-rocketing premiums and a slow-motion collapse of a law that shouldn’t have been written, let alone passed and signed by a President who should have never been elected.
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