John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

Obamacare vs. Medicare Part D? Reality Check!

Posted on October 30, 2013
Millennials pay for Obamacare

Broke Millennial



Democrats, the Media, and the Obama Administration have tried to compare the unveiling of Medicare Part D with the unraveling of Obamacare.

They both had difficult starts with troublesome websites and complex regulations that were hard for normal people to understand, the theory goes.

Now, Medicare Part D is a very popular addition to the Medicare program, enjoying a 90% satisfaction rate from those who use the program today.

And so the President has tried to make the case that the ACA will somehow get to that same exalted status.

But that’s not true.

Nobody lost their health insurance plans when Medicare Part D became law.

Unlike Obamacare, Medicare Part D had bipartisan support.  The only person who desperately hated it was Nancy Pelosi, and she hated it because she didn’t want Republicans to get a political advantage with senior citizens.

Unlike Obamacare, Medicare Part D didn’t thoroughly offend the Catholic Church.  Medicare Part D didn’t threaten charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor with bankruptcy if they didn’t comply with the contraception mandate.

Medicare Part D was aimed at a constituency that truly needed help.   It was somewhat silly that Medicare didn’t have a prescription drug component, and Republicans, led by my former boss Denny Hastert, fixed it with a program that provided adequate choices to senior citizens.

Obamacare makes young people buy health care when they might not want to or might not be able to.   It’s amazing to think about how the President has treated millennials who overwhelmingly supported him in the last election.  His economy has left them unemployed.  He destroyed the school loan program, making it harder for these kids to get college loans.  He has rapidly increased the debt and resisted any effort to tame it.  And now he smacks young people with fines if they don’t buy his insurance.  How’s that for gratitude?

Medicare Part D had no effect on the insurance rates of normal Americans.   Obamacare is going to make everybody who currently has health insurance pay more for their insurance.

Medicare Part D was all carrots.  Obamacare has more than a few sticks involved.

Obamacare reminds me more of the catastrophic law that was repealed in 1989.

Unlike Medicare Part D, catastrophic health insurance offered both carrots and sticks.   It made all seniors pay a little more so that some seniors could have better insurance.  The seniors who were forced to pay more didn’t want to pay more, and they hounded Dan Rostenkowski until he was forced to lead an effort to repeal the law.

I don’t know if a repeal effort will work this time, but I guarantee you that Obamacare will never enjoy the widespread support that Medicare Part D has enjoyed.

When a law offers both carrots and sticks, constituents tend to focus mostly on the sticks.  And they tend to demand that government stop using them.