Passing monumentally historic healthcare reform legislation was extremely costly to President Obama and the once Democratic-controlled Congress. Losses in midterm elections made any subsequent accomplishments practically impossible, as Congress has become more obstinate each day.
Currently, supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are fighting over differences between the two candidates, even though both of their plans are diametric opposites to the Republicans' plan to punish the poor. More simply put:
Clinton and Sanders both support similar measures to reduce the costs of prescription drugs but have profoundly different visions of healthcare in the United States. The Democratic frontrunner supports continuing to build on the Affordable Care Act with legislation to reduce healthcare costs, while Sanders believes in replacing Obamacare with a single-payer system of the kind common in Canada and Western Europe.
As we were reminded during the latest podcast by our esteemed editor/contributor Fran (Blue Gal) and driftglass, the political price of pushing Obamacare through was almost too high. Of course, the merits of the ACA outweighing the costs depends on who you ask. For example, NY Senator Chuck Schumer, believes that the loss of political capital was too much for the return. However, ask the 16 million Americans who now have healthcare for the first time in ages and they would feel rather differently from Chuck and other Blue Dogs.
The shellacking President Obama took in that first midterm election was not the least bit funny. Here's a list of Democratic House members who lost narrowly, thanks to their endorsement of The Affordable Care Act.
The election of the 112th Congress was a stunning rebuke of the president, all fabricated and financed by the TeaParty/Koch/ALEC operatives who waged war against any efforts at healthcare reform.
The 2010 midterms, of course, produced record losses for Democrats. Sixty-three Democratic incumbents went down to defeat, the largest gain for Republicans in the
House since 1938. Undoubtedly, much of these losses could be attributed to the weak
economic recovery at the end of a long and deep recession, as well as President Obama’s
tepid approval ratings. But some observers argued that the unusually high loses for the
president’s party were partially attributable to incumbents’ votes on (other) controversial bills (like cap and trade).
Recalling some of the names of the fallen will remind us that there is a price to pay for political gain, and it's not always a pretty penny. We saw stalwarts like Senator Russ Feingold lose to Johnson in Wisconsin while Joe Sestak lost to Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, thanks to the hostile climate from the healthcare debate. Blanche Lincoln, Blue Dog as she was, ceded her seat to Tehran Tom Cotton, and we've seen how that's worked out for America. We also can't forget the (temporary) loss of Alan Grayson to that Allen West sociopath.
The American political system leaves little to be desired. Lest anyone forget that passing legislation happens often at costs greater than any dollar amount.
Most importantly, make sure you VOTE. Vote for DEMOCRATS, all the way, and don't ignore those down-ticket contests. Staying home in 2010 and 2014 had far greater repercussions than anyone predicted. History doesn't have to repeat itself.