Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Trumpocalypse Is Near! Repent, and Repeal Obamacare!

An op-ed piece submitted to us from retired Windsor County Side Judge William Boardman of Woodstock.

The Trumpocalypse Is Near! Repent, and Repeal Obamacare!
By William Boardman
09 January 17

No, seriously – repeal Obamacare!

Yes, that is what the ideological one-noters among Republicans want to do, so let them do it! Of course it’s not that simple, as even two-note Republicans have begun to acknowledge wanly, since flat-out repeal could make enemies for the party, maybe twenty million of the suddenly uninsured. That’s almost ten times the number of votes Hillary won by. Bring it on.

In reality, Obamacare threatens to become a deadly serious tar baby for Republicans: the more they mess with it, the more it’s going to entangle them in sticky wickets (and forced metaphors). The sensible thing for others is to stand back and watch the spectacle. It can’t end well for Republicans, because they have no connection to the supposed purpose of Obamacare: providing health insurance that makes health care more possible for more people. Obamacare isn’t just an ordinary tar baby, it’s a tar baby designed by Rube Goldberg, managing to provide an unnecessarily complex solution to the wrong question that is only tangentially related to the right question (How do we provide health care for everybody?).

For years, Obamacare has been a Democratic tar baby and Democrats, irrationally, will likely feel compelled to defend it because they built it, they prolonged it, and besides it’s part of Obama’s legacy. That argument is all well and good for sentimentalists and lockstep party loyalists looking for more cliffs to march off, but the rest of us might want to figure out something less suicidal, maybe even something more beneficial to all those strangers sometimes known as “the American people.”

If Obama had been more concerned with his legacy in the first year of his presidency than he was in its last year, he might have made a serious commitment to universal health care, instead of wasting the country’s time and energy on something like half a loaf for half the folks. That would have been difficult, visionary, and correct, but it was technically doable with no Republican votes (the same number Obamacare got). Democrats, and Democrats alone, denied the country the chance to have Medicare for all. So when Democrats talk about defending health care and Obamacare as if those were the same thing, they have no credibility. To regain credibility, Democrats will have to rediscover something like principle, and the courage to stand for principle – qualities they’ve mostly done without since Tip O’Neill played roll-me-over-in-the-clover with Ronald Reagan, a corrupt game in which the “ordinary” American got gutted.

The sensible response to Republican attacks on Obamacare is to urge them to go for it – go ahead, repeal Obamacare in its entirety, but only after replacing it with Medicare for all. That is a rational position, that is an honest position, and that is the best medical and economic position. That is even a strategic political position. Let Republicans tangle tactically with the tar baby, while the principled opposition takes a stand for something that works for everyone. Single payer health care isn’t an experiment, it’s a tested system that works in other countries around the world. Even if standing for Medicare for all is a losing position in the short term, it secures the moral and intellectual high ground for the future.

Democrats lost the election for a host of reasons, one of which was that Democratic voters stayed home in greater numbers (and percentages) than Republican voters. Young voters, who turned out for Bernie, stayed home in greater numbers than in 2012. It’s just possible that Democrats stayed home because their party no longer defends, or even much fights for decent Democratic values. If this self-eviscerated party can’t restore itself, then it’s time for a new party to emerge from the ashes of the old.

Health care is pretty much a universal concern, so why not do it right, or go down fighting? When the only alternative to doing the most sensible, effective thing is just a competition between the hypocritically inadequate and the inadequately hypocritical, why is that considered an alternative at all?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


  1. Tony Petrillo1/11/17, 10:05 PM

    You are absolutely correct about having put together a half a loaf. Full taxpayer supported access to healthcare is the model that works in the other industrialized countries of the world, far better and less expensive than the free market health care system or the compromised Obamacare.

  2. "Obamacare" was, in essence, the healthcare plan put forth by the Heritage Foundation in response to "Hillarycare." No surprise it didn't work too well, IT WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO; it was just meant to kill healthcare reform by being an "alternative" that would never actually come to pass. Band aids and bailing wire on its best day. Funny how things change; we have Democrats killing themselves to save a right-wing healthcare plan, while the Republican President-elect cozies up to Russia! INSANITY!

  3. The medical cost nightmare can be easily fixed by opening up all aspects of the medical field to true competition. The steps to fix medical care need to go far beyond the medical insurance companies and needs to be all-inclusive of all medical care. That will take some guts because it opens up the possibility of destroying the massive profits that are being forced upon the backs of the American public. Good examples are stopping drug companies from selling pills in American for thousands of dollars that they sell for pennies in other countries and require medical professionals and hospitals to list their fees up front and publicly. Stop hospitals from charging you ten bucks for a Tylenol when you can buy one for a penny or two across the street. Stop the monopolistic practices of the medical industry that violate all of our federal laws against the restraint of trade and fair competition that every other industry has to abide by. When was the last time that you visited a doctor and knew what the charges would be up front for the visit? Doctors get to charge anything and everyone gets a different price. The guy with no insurance is the most vulnerable, charged the most and the least likely to be able pay which normally ends in bankruptcy. All doctors don't need to become multi-millionaires. Charges often vary from a $1000 bucks to $20,000 for the same treatment. Look at these new cures for Hepatitis C that actually work. About $100,000 for one pill a day for a twelve weeks treatment. You can buy the same drug in India for about $600 bucks for the entire twelve week period. No wonder why our medical costs are exploding. Congress has allowed this industry to over-charge us for many years and costs to soar far beyond inflation rates. This system can only be fixed by opening up the medical industry to abiding by the same rules and laws that open the doors to true competition. Congress has shown no interest in doing the true fix of our medical costs that must be done or we will fail with whatever plan they come up with. Our medical costs are the highest in the world and yet the quality of our healthcare stinks.

    1. Watching the nightly news, most of the commercials are for drugs. "Ask your doctor if xyz is right for you" But most often they don't even say what xyz is for, BUT they do say that side effects include death. What a joke.

    2. Outstanding points 11:14. There also deserves mention of draining the swamp of lobbyists and tort reform. No reason an American, board certified surgeon should be able to do a routine procedure in Costa Rica for a fraction of that charged at an American medical center.

      For once we have someone that can not be bought and owes no one any favors. Very frightening prospect to the AMA and pharmaceutical lobbyists.

    3. Doctors are not "able" to do the procedures cheaper elsewhere, THEY HAVE NO CHOICE! I doubt most people would bother with medical school if they were told they'd be paid chump wages when they graduated. Most doctors operate on a "fee for service" basis. This is a scam created by the insurance industry; all they have to do is say a procedure is "unnecessary" and both you and your doctor get nothing! Big Pharma is another story. Time to abandon the "for profit" corporate driven healthcare system.

    4. People of springfield...Ask your doctor about movantik. It could be a big seller here.

  4. Trump is a loose cannon. He has no composure and no stature. No tact, no diplomacy. Just a big hot air BOSS who is not very nice to his "employees" including his children. Obama on the other hand is a very good speaker, hope you say his exit speech, that really shows the difference between the two. Please don't replay to this by bashing Obama, he would be the first to tell you he has his faults and made some, not to popular decisions. No one can please every American. I agree Obamacare is not the best that could have been done.


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