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OPINION - The Obamacare quotes

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)   As we get down to crunch time on the Obamacare exchanges and a temporary spending bill that will or won’t defund health care, it’s a great time to look back at some of the wacky quotes surrounding this most-unusual law. The web site politico.com has posted some of their favorites:


“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
— then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California)

This is the all-time zinger about what’s wrong in Congress. No one knew what was in this bill when it was voted on. Even today it has little surprises that are still being discovered. There’s a simple gimmick that an upstart candidate could run on and win a seat in Congress: “I (insert name here) promise not to vote on any bill until I’ve been given time to read it.” You’d vote for that person.

“Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food. Therefore, everybody is in the market. Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”  Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Actually, the Supreme Court agreed with this argument, 5-4, and on that basis would have struck down Obamacare as unconstitutional…. Until Chief Justice Roberts decided the individual mandate was a tax.  Never mind that President Obama stated on 22 separate occasions that it wasn’t a tax.


"You think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, 'Slow down. It's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough."  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there’s an equivalency between who pays for health coverage and the forced labor of black slaves in a cotton field. It’s a breathtaking stretch.


"I have no problem with folks saying, 'Obama cares.' I do care. If the other side wants to be the folks that don't care, that's fine with me"  August, 2010 – the President’s off-teleprompter comments became the very origin of the law’s common name.


"I don't want to pay for a sex-change operation. ... I like being a boy." — Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) gets honorable mention for foresight. Most plans do, indeed, cover sex changes. Your tax dollars at work.


"They're the same f----ing bill. [Romney] just can't have his cake and eat it too. … He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying.” — MIT health care expert Jonathan Gruber. He was asked to compare Obamacare and Mitt Romney’s health plan when he was governor in Massachusetts. The point Romney failed to make is that his bill also collected 10 years with of taxes to pay for 6 years of benefits, and now scales back its benefits because there isn’t enough money to pay for all of it.


“It was the best bill you could have passed." — Former President Bill Clinton Remember forever that this isn’t really the bill President Obama wanted. Is it a march towards the Utopian single-payer, or does the system collapse before we get there? And it it collapses, do we get to single-payer anyway?


"This is a big f------ deal." — Vice President Joe Biden at the bill signing ceremony.  The man who sees himself as a future president was overhead by an open mic. He certainly appreciated the magnitude of what was happening.


"I just see a huge train wreck coming down.” — Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)  He’s given the GOP the best talking-point so far. Baucus was also Obama’s chief Capital Hill negotiator during the early hearings on health care reform. Many liberals say Baucus’ delays and indecision killed any chance of single-payer by giving opposition time to get information out and win the early PR fight.

"The implementation of this is fabulous.” — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi… she’s a two-time winner for the best Obamacare quotes. File this away and re-read next week. 

Chris Conley
9.24.13