Each New Year awakens our childlike hope that the next 12 months will somehow restore order to chaos, sense to nonsense and construction to destruction.
Unfortunately for the legions of paid and unpaid opponents of health care reform, those dreams came crashing down on Friday when President Barack Obama exercised his veto power to quash yet another attempt to dismantle the historic 2010 remake of American health insurance that informally bears his name.
A low-key veto
This latest kill-Obamacare effort not only would have dismantled the Affordable Care Act; it also would have stripped all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an equally unacceptable move in the president’s view.
But in sharp contrast to the heated exchanges of the past 6 years, the POTUS barely paused as he exercised only the 8th veto in his presidency to send this largely symbolic bill to the trash bin of historic nonstarters.
In his written rejection, Obama said the bill would "reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America." He didn't even justify his opponents' audacity by convening the media or holding any sort of (un)signing ceremony, given that Republicans lack the votes to override his veto.
If you're a reader of tea leaves or sniffer of the political winds, the president’s decision to keep his rebuke on the down-low likely signals a similar turn for the whole Obamacare fistfight. After all, the vote to provoke Obama into punching back was more a nod to how little political fire remains over health reform, even as the 2016 election year officially begins.
A saga 60 times over
For the record, the House bill was the 62nd attempt by legislators to knock out Obamacare, which has proven to be a bit like Bart Simpson taking on Mike Tyson in the ring.
The president did note in his written rejection that health care reform had ended a handful of crazy health insurance practices, such as denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and imposing a lifetime limit on coverage.
Oh yeah – there’s also those 17.6 Americans who now have coverage due to various provisions in the law.
Their new year remains bright, thanks in no small part to Obamacare.
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