Saturday, October 05, 2013



The universal health care plan that was enacted in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was Governor and that served as a model for the federal Affordable Care Act is almost identical to a proposed health care bill in Congress in 1993 when President Clinton tried to persuade Congress to adopt his plan.  The 1993 bill was introduced by Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island.  It had bipartisan support in the Senate.  It contained all the essentials of the Massachusetts plan and of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), including the requirement that everyone buy or obtain health insurance and that insurers could not deny coverage for preexisting conditions.  In those days Republicans here in California proposed a similar plan.

Essentially, the two existing universal health care plans, the Massachusetts Plan and Obamacare, are copies of or modifications of Senator Chafee's plan.  Senator Chafee was a REPUBLICAN!  Adopting his plan rather than a more liberal or socialistic plan of their own amounted to a great compromise by Democrats.  Obama gave up supporting either a single-payor plan (like the plan in Canada) or the "public option" out of deference to Republicans.  The Republicans got their own plan enacted.

The Republicans then churlishly labeled the resulting plan "Obamacare" and set about trying to trash it.  Why?  One explanation is that they deliberately labeled it as a creation of Obama and feared that public support of an Obama initiative would cost them public support and electoral success for a generation or more, just as Social Security had given the Democrats electoral success for twenty or thirty years.  Why not, then, name the plan after Senator Chafee?  Call it Chafeecare and claim credit for it.

Why not indeed?  To me it's proof that Republicans are remarkably stupid.
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