In eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, the President blinks by telling governors he will let states opt out of the individual mandate for medical insurance in 2014, three years earlier than the reform law allows.
After a waste of two months with a House dog-and-pony show of repeal and Senate failure to go along, the bipartisan mess that politicians have made of American health care is now a post-disaster triage scene after last November’s electoral catastrophe.
As the Obama White House starts to back off, Republicans refuse to take “yes” for an answer. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who eulogized Ted Kennedy as “a United States senator who was dedicated to the last to advancing the vision of America that he held so dearly,” is now fighting what Kennedy called the cause of his life with near-apoplectic fervor, denouncing Obamacare and calling the President’s new concession “bullcorn” on PBS.
Hatch is up for reelection next year and can feel the hot breath of the Tea Party, which blew away his Utah colleague Bob Bennett after 18 years together in the Senate.
In this atmosphere, the battle will only grow more bitter and worsen a literal life-and-death struggle with political posturing while health care deteriorates.
In the real world, insurance companies still siphon off one of every three dollars that should be spent on patient care and tie up doctors, hospitals and labs with claim-prevention paperwork.