In 2009 and 2010, President Obama and his party took a health care system in which 85 percent had insurance coverage, and blew it up. Now, with Obamacare causing misery right and left, those same Democrats are screaming, "You can't go back!"
The national health care scheme they designed is so complex and has already embedded itself so deeply in the health care system, they argue, that it can never be repealed. The only course now is for lawmakers of both parties to "fix" Obamacare's problems.
The argument will be heard more and more as the burdens imposed by Obamacare -- canceled policies, higher premiums, higher deductibles, narrower doctor networks, restricted choices of prescription drugs and more -- become a reality for millions of Americans.
In such a scenario, Democrats will ratchet up their demands that Republicans join them in "fixing" the law. They will condemn Republicans who declare Obamacare beyond repair and decline to go along. And at the same time, Democrats will steadfastly refuse to back down in their full support of the law they -- and they alone -- passed that is causing all the trouble. The blame, they will argue, lies with the GOP.
It's an astonishingly brazen strategy. And it might work.
Of course, many ways Republicans would want to provide Obamacare relief -- Michigan Rep. Fred Upton's keep-your-health-plan proposal, for example -- won't win Democratic support. But the more fixes the GOP signs on to, the more incentive Democrats have to keep stonewalling all calls for repeal.
Other House Republicans are (finally) uniting behind an actual repeal-and-replace proposal. H.R. 3121 is the work of the Republican Study Committee, and, like another effort by GOP Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, would both repeal Obamacare and enact a package of Republican health care reforms. It would address the tax unfairness of purchasing health coverage for those who are not covered at work; the problem of pre-existing conditions; the purchase of coverage across state lines and excessive medical malpractice settlements.
Meanwhile, Obamacare threatens to turn into an enormous, rolling disaster. While Americans suffer, Republicans could find themselves arguing with each other, hung up on details, divided over the next step and under pressure to endorse Democratic fixes to a law they never supported — in other words, deep inside the Obamacare Trap.
All of this of course was completely unnecessary as national health care wasn't even in the top 5 of Americans' concerns back in 2008. From the start this has been a manufactured crisis the left needed to divide the nation and conquer the GOP.
There's your Hope & Change. A trick to win elections and garner more dependent voters.