With Democrats finding themselves in the minority in Congress after an election day shellacking earlier this month, suddenly that whole Obamacare thing isn’t looking like such a great idea.
Schumer says Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in the 2008 elections, a Democratic landslide, by focusing on healthcare reform instead of legislation to boost the middle class.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.
He said the plight of uninsured Americans caused by “unfair insurance company practices” needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t the change that people wanted when they elected Barack Obama as president.
“Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs; not for changes in their healthcare,” he said.
Schumer also suggested that Obamacare hasn’t resonated because most Americans already had insurance, which is contrary to the uninsured crisis liberals assured us was real prior to Obamacare.
Certainly Obamacare has been devastating for Democrats here in North Dakota. Before the law passed all three of North Dakota’s seats in Congress were held by Democrats. After voting for it, Rep. Earl Pomeroy lost his 2010 reelection bid by 10 points and Senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad each opted to retire rather than run for another term.
Maybe cramming unpopular legislation down the throats of Americans on a strictly partisan vote really was a bad idea.
But it isn’t just the politics that matters here. It’s that the law doesn’t work. So far the law, which was supposed to ease the pain of getting health insurance, has made the process harder and more bureaucratic and, for many, much more expensive.
Schumer didn’t quite go that far in criticizing the decision to push Obamacare – he maintains that it is sound policy, just not the right priority – but he should. Because it’s not working.