Moreover, by turning over the writing of the ACA to Democratic leaders while he ran around the country selling the reform’s alleged benefits, Obama fed the fires of rampant partisanship that have plagued the entire process. A majority of Americans are still confused by the enormous changes; more than 2 million have received cancellation notices about their current policies, according CBS News, despite the president’s pledge that they would not.
It’s reminiscent of the Kennedy years, when another inexperienced president with great plans for settling many of the nation’s problems didn’t have a clue about how to make them a reality — and refused to take advice from Lyndon Johnson, a vice president whom he despised.
None of John F. Kennedy’s grand initiatives came about until Johnson took over and guided them skillfully around the legislative pitfalls with bipartisan support. That’s especially true of the civil rights bills that have shaped the last 50 years and helped make it possible for an African-American to become president, an event too long in coming.
Much of Obama’s handling of the ACA’s adoption and implementation seems to have been driven not by practicalities but by politics, using Hillary Clinton’s failed attempts during her husband’s administration to bring about similar legislation as a cautionary tale. That earlier effort’s failure stemmed from Hillary Clinton’s decision to write the bill in the White House, using experts of her own choosing and excluding Republicans. Obama’s advisers, remembering this, convinced him to send a broad outline to Congress and let his own party fill in the details.
Well, the devil is in the details, — and there are plenty in this act of more than 2,000 pages. Whether the details will serve this president well remains to be seen.