The Obamacare Obama gets

 

The Washington Post

Who says government healthcare doesn’t work? There is a government health plan that is available to a small number of individuals. The risk pool consists of a few dozen people, all of whom work in one building in downtown Washington. If they need a check-up, the doctor comes up to their office for a house call. If they need a prescription, the medicine is delivered to their desks. If they need to see a specialist, they are taken by government transport to one of the best hospitals in the world. If they need surgery, a special suite is available.

And it is all free of charge.

This is not Obamacare. But it is the care President Obama gets. Obama, his family and members of the White House senior staff are all taken care of by the doctors of the White House Medical Unit. It’s the best health plan in the world. I know. For a brief time, I was on it.

The president should have this kind of healthcare. And to the extent that he depends on having his top aides healthy and available to him, they should, too.

But with this kind of health coverage, why on Earth did the president make such a show of “signing up” for Obamacare? He admittedly has no intention of using it. The White House says he signed up as a “symbolic” show of solidarity, so he could lead by example. Really? That would be like Obama signing up his kids to attend D.C. public schools as a sign of solidarity with the poor kids trapped in failing schools — but then saying it was just “symbolic” and sending his kids to their tony private school instead.

But since he was showing solidarity with the rest of America, did the president actually get on his computer like the rest of America and try to navigate the disastrous Obamacare website he created? Nope. While most people had to plug their personal information into a website that ABC News reports still has “serious security vulnerabilities,” the White House decided that for “security reasons” sharing the president’s personal information on government websites was unwise. So, an administration official said, “Like some Americans, the complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up.”

Ah, yes, back in November Obama reminded us that we could buy Obamacare “the old-fashioned way — offline, either over the phone or in person. … You can talk to somebody directly and they can walk you through the application process.” So of course Obama went to the D.C. exchange, spoke to someone directly and walked through the application process himself, right? Nope. Obama was too busy enjoying the beaches of Waikiki. Aides back in Washington did it for him. Because most of us have aides who can fill out the paperwork and navigate the nightmare of Obamacare for us.

Leading by example.

If the White House was so confident that “the product is good” and Americans are “willing to be patient,” then they would have been eager for a photo op of the president signing up with other happy customers. But there was no photo op.

Then, to add insult to injury, Obama chose the cheapest of the four plans available — the bronze plan costing $400 a month. Not for his whole family, mind you. They don’t need Obamacare. He chose a low-cost plan just for himself. Which makes sense. He’s not going to actually use it, so why pay sky-high premiums like the millions of people he drove out of their individual market health plans? Besides, most Americans stuck with Obamacare plans can get their families covered elsewhere for free, right?

And finally, to cap it all off, Obama waited until the last minute to sign up. If the president was so enthusiastic about signing up for Obamacare, why wasn’t he customer No. 1 when the exchanges opened in October? Or when the government relaunched the website in November?

In other words, the president signed up for Obamacare coverage he does not intend to use, skipped the disastrous website he forced millions of Americans to navigate, had someone else do the paperwork for him, chose the cheapest possible plan to avoid the premiums he is imposing on others and waited until the last possible moment to decide whether he wanted to cough up $400 a month as a symbolic show of solidarity.

That’s symbolic all right – but not in the way the White House intended.

If the president really wants to show solidarity with the rest of America, there is an easy way for him to do so. While he needs to have doctors on call at all times when he is in office as a matter of national security, once he leaves office that is another matter. Will the president agree to give up his free military health care when his presidency is over? Will Obama live under Obamacare once he is a private citizen?

If you believe he will, you probably still think you can keep your doctor.

The Washington Post

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • It’s not Beijing’s hackers you should worry about, it’s Moscow’s

    When U.S. officials warn of the threat foreign cyber spies pose to American companies and government agencies, they usually focus on China, which has long been home to the world’s most relentless and aggressive hackers. But new information shows that Russian and Eastern European hackers, who have historically focused their energies on crime and fraud, now account for a large and growing percentage of all cyber espionage, most of which is directed at the United States.

  • Elizabeth Warren’s needed call for student loan reform

    As commencement season approaches, graduating students will soon hear words of wisdom from speakers offering experience, advice and inspiration. One thing they’re not likely to hear about is the $1.08 trillion elephant on the quad — our nation’s student debt crisis.

  • Jenny McCarthy, vaccine agitator, does a pivot

    What do you call someone who sows misinformation, stokes fear, abets behavior that endangers people’s health, extracts enormous visibility from doing so and then says the equivalent of “Who? Me?”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category