An insight about why Obamacare is so screwed up

For that I turn to a Carol Felsenthal review of Glenn Thrush's cover article in Politico called,  “Locked in the Cabinet: The worst job in Barack Obama’s Washington."

In "Secrets of the Chicago Guys in Obama’s Dysfunctional Cabinet," the always astute Felsenthal spotlights what I think has been Obama's problem, not just with the bungled Obamacare, but his style of governance in general:obamacare-logo

Thrush describes the Obama cabinet as “a restless nest of ambition, fits-and-starts achievement and power-jockeying under a shadow of unfulfilled promise.” During the 2008 campaign, Obama pledged that his cabinet would be driven by ideas, innovation and results.  He told a reporter for Time magazine, “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me…. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone.”

Instead, he got a cabinet—except for the high-prestige positions at State, Defense, and Treasury—largely chosen by his staff and herded and controlled by “ferocious gatekeepers such as first-term chief of staff Emanuel.” But not even Rahm could keep track of all the moving parts.  Obama “…. was drowning in data and chicken-pecked by aides asking for input. He privately groused that Emanuel was overwhelming him with requests to make decisions, so he issued a standing order to Emanuel and all future chiefs of staff… `Cut down on the number of decisions I have to make.’”

Undoubtedly, every president is vexed by the same problem--everyone wanting a piece of him, a flood of information and demands for decisions, decisions, decisions. I suspect that if Obama had even the slightest bit of administrative experience in his career of legislating, teaching and community organizing, he might have better handled this problem.

I guess that's why the American people have elected much fewer lawmakers president. They intuitively know that they need someone with management and administrative skills, such as a governor or a military leader.


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  • Obamacare is messed up because people like you are preventing the nation from extending Medicare to those under 65. No, no socialized medicine for the young, we must let those hard-lobbying insurance companies get their $ from it all, which requires a mutated combo of the private and public sectors. It's better than nothing, though, I suppose.

    As I see things, we have it backwards: poor children don't get healthcare because their parents don't qualify as "makers." But isn't that fact inapposite? Under your thinking, Mr. Byrne, shouldn't we have Medicare go UP TO age 18 so that those poor kids at least have a chance to try and become "makers." I mean, 65 year olds had all their lives to be good little market participants and rationally plan for their futures, so why cut them any slack? They made their beds, and if those beds are in a rat-infested home instead of a hospital, then whose fault was that?

  • ObamaCare is one decision that Obama did make, with the end goal being complete government control over the health care system and, by the default of everything being a matter of public health, people.

    He most certainly did not vote "present" on this. Dont' be mistaken that the details or setbacks are important to him, as the ends justify the means. It's the Chicago Way.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Is it possible for a non-sequitur to follow from a non-sequitur?

  • In reply to BN36:

    'Obamacare is messed up because people like you are preventing the nation from extending Medicare to those under 65.'

    Isn't this also a non-sequitur?

    A recent study on Medicaid in Illinois found 50% of the claims fraudulent, it's not Medicare, but you get the point. Bigger gov't isn't the answer, nor is Obamacare's failure anyone's responsibility, but Obama's.

    I guess his non-cooperative stance came back to haunt him. Solutions would be plentiful if the country weren't wrought with corruption. Maybe we should start with that, but don't lose the faith man, with all this light on the subject, the country will find a way.

  • No, not at all, I directly engaged Mr. Byrne. He thinks that x follows from y and I disagreed by saying that, no, I think that it follows from z.

    The non-sequitur is bringing in Medicaid. That's its own can of worms with its own attendant problems at both the state and federal level. Further, a proper single payer system would render Medicaid obsolete, in any event.

    To anticipate your rejoinder: What does Medicaid have to do with Obamacare other than it being a healthcare program tied to the state? Assuming arguendo that military bases provide excellent medical care, would it not then follow from your fallacy that all government sponsored medicine should be good?

  • In reply to BN36:

    1. Obamacare is messed up.

    2. People like you didn't allow for the expansion of Medicare.

    3. Obamacare is messed up because people like you didn't allow
    for the expansion of Medicare...couldn't Obamacare be a mess
    for other reason's?

    I could be wrong on non-sequitur, if that's your schtick, I will defer. Also that's not my rejoinder, nor is my opinion a fallacy. My point is gov't is inefficient, maybe you believe that inefficiency is not as urgent as the importance of a single payer, we disagree.

    If something is built on a corrupt inefficient foundation where is the logic in making it bigger?

    To anticipate your rejoinder: dialectic, dialectic, dialectic..

  • In reply to 4zen:

    My powastes that Medicare is a decent if imperfect system for the elderly, and that its expansion would avoid the mess that is Obamacare. Which is a mess for many reasons, that we could likely agree on.

    And there goes your fallacy again: government entails inefficiency, so it should be avoided. So I ask: if Medicare is such junk, then why are we wasting money on it? And on an admitted tangent, does anything at the present waste more tax money than the military? Here's your dialectic: think babies and bath water.

  • In reply to BN36:

    Heh, "point was." Quite a typo, perhaps we should do away with smartphones? ;)

  • In reply to BN36:

    I'm with you, but words are inefficient as well. 'Coins' and 'approximations'. Your military example is a good one, and so is the 'baby in the bath water', which is exactly what I was thinking when I used the word 'urgency'. I find the military more urgent than healthcare, one gives foundation to the other, and I have faith in a market solution, backed with a vision of government that roots out corruption, instead of being a bed of it.

    Careful with the inefficiency of military, you'll validate the drones.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Haha, now the drones we can definitely agree on.

    Truth is, I used to be a good Economist carrying neoliberal of sorts, and likely would have agreed with you on a lot more things 10 years ago. My belief in relatively "pure" free market solutions and deregulation has waned sharply with age, however, particularly in light of the 2008 crash. The fact is that the US is an impoverished s#ithole compared to other developed nations, largely because our free market capitalism is anything but. It's crony capitalism, and nobody made that clearer than Cheney and his flannel-wearing figurehead.

    Obama gave me hope once, but that's gone. We live in a surveillance state that will bomb brown people with abandon so long as they live in an Islamic nation, there are the drone problems. Bush started it, and Obama perfected it. Problem is that the dems are the only sane party now that the GOP has fully succumbed to anti-intellectuals and the propaganda machinery of, e.g., ol' Rupert and the Koch brothers.

    1984 on the left, Blade Runner on the right.

  • In reply to BN36:

    Nice post, tis crony capitalism for sure, your last line is a spot on.

  • In reply to BN36:

    Our system is one of crony capitalism in bed with corrupt, collectivist government, and yes, I do include Bush in this definition.

    The US standard of living has decreased in direct relation to the trillions in transfer payments that have accelerated in velocity since the 1960's.

    The US will also accelerate its trend downward to an impoverished shithole, because the more money taken out of the market by a wasteful government the less people have to spend. It really is that simple.

    You really sound ignorant, too, I'm sorry, by bringing in the Boogie Brothers aka Koch brothers. There are tons of dolts in both parties, but the Democrats have succumbed to the intellectuals, who exist in the world of theory and not in realty. I give you Mr. Hope and Change, who never did anything in the real world, but has theories galore on forced "fairness", which has not work anywhere in the world where it has been tried. Not for long, anyway.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Why is it ignorant to reference some of the most important funders of right-wing propaganda when discussing the effect that right-wing propaganda has had on American politics?

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