In retrospect, angry and frustrated Democrats could have employed political tactics similar to those now being used by the GOP to interfere, misinform, scare, or cut back funding. There is also little doubt that the Democrats had the opportunity to use all of this to their advantage in the 2006 congressional elections, but, to their credit, they realized that by doing so they could have hurt countless Medicare recipients.
So, they worked with the Bush administration to improve the efficiency of Part D signups and this partnership certainly contributed to the plan's ultimate success. Thus, it's painfully obvious that, compared to what happened just those few years ago, there is now extreme dysfunction in Washington, where things are short on political will, short on compromise and cooperation, and, unfortunately, long on hypocrisy.
Despite all this opposition and the rapid approach of the start of Obamacare in 2014, it was indeed heartening to hear the words of AMA President Ardis Hoven at the recent annual meeting of the West Virginia State Medical Association. She stated unequivocally that although the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, "it was the only available vehicle to reach some important goals in health care."
She emphasized that "the law promotes coordination of care, improving quality, and investing in prevention." She further noted that "physicians have to be directly involved in the government structure of the exchange" and "we will work with you, boots on the ground, to help with the Medicaid program as well."
So, it seems that, despite the actions of those who are depending on its failure, the roll out of the law will go well, even if there are a few hiccups. Undoubtedly, this is largely because of advocates like organized medicine, supporters and facilitators like the AARP, Starbucks, CVS, and Walgreens, and the multitudes of other believers in the moral and economic wonders of universal health care. Such success will finally solidify approval of Obamacare by most of those who can't or just refuse to understand it, simply because they see that it works.
Foster, a Charleston surgeon and former state senator from Kanawha County, is a Gazette contributing columnist.