Saturday, November 8, 2014

Obama Drama – An American Shakesperian Tragedy

An American Tragedy.

Title of book by Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

The Obama Presidency has all of the elements of a Shakesperian tragedy.

Voters have just declared something is rotten in the state of Denmark (America).

America has moody, brilliant, but indecisive Prince (Obama), haunted by memories of his late father who distrusted American colonialism a view the Prince shares. It has a conspiring queen mother (Hillary Clinton) with her consort (Bill Clinton). It has a pair of close-minded, loyal inner-court advisers (David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett). It has two tell-tale courtiers ( Robert Gates and Leon Panetta). who have questioned the wisdom of the Prince in two book.

It has implacable foes inside government (John Boehner and Mitch McConnell), leading the forces of opposition (Republicans). One of them (Boehner)is suing the Prince. It has outside mercenaries (Vladimir Putin and ISIS). It has a mutinous, dissatisfied citizenry (The American people and its middle class).

And now, four days after the midterm elections, it has its royal court (the Supreme Court) announcing it will take up the case,(King v. Burwell)in March 2015 to be decided by July 2015, that may undermine the very essence of the Prince’s singular passion and most memorable domestic achievement (ObamaCare).

The case is based on the premise that the text of the 2010 health law did not authorize the Prince to set up federal health exchanges but only exchanges set up by the states. There are 12 state exchanges, two are in transition to become federal exchanges, and 36 federal exchanges. To date, the combined state and federal exchanges have enrolled 7.3 million people, 85% of whom the federal government subsidizes to make their health care affordable.

Starting November 15, and ending on February 15, the government hopes to enroll 10 million or so more underinsured and under-insured and to cement the Prince’s legacy, but the government itself warns that its system to sign up individuals and employees of small businesses still contain glitches and may not be ready for the task.

If the court were to rule that the Prince’s government has no authority to subsidize federal enrollees and they must return the subsidies, it would undermine the very reason for the existence of ObamaCare - to reduce the number of uninsured through federal largesse, and it would further sour the public on the health law.

For the Prince, a negative Supreme Court ruling that would be a Shakesperian tragedy of the first order.

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