Over the years I’ve come to think of organizations as living beings – with an amorphous body, ideas as its defense mechanism, and an insatiable appetite for growth. A virtual organism if you will. And as we know with any organism, when cornered it will do (or say) just about anything to survive.
In its quest to pass health care reform, being cornered is the plight of the virtual organism we call The Administration.
We don’t know the intricacies of the current Senate bill being drafted behind closed doors. But what we do know is that one of its cornerstones is government imposed, individual mandates for health insurance. If this element is left in the bill, our government will be given the power to force individuals into purchasing health insurance, or else be fined – giving new meaning to the term cost of living.
You may recall, however, the head of this Administration pointedly attacking his opponent’s position on health insurance mandates during the primary campaign. In an effort to differentiate himself, candidate Obama attacked the Clinton plan of requiring citizens to purchase health insurance stating that people do not have health insurance not because they don’t want it, but because they can’t afford it. Mandating health insurance, in his view, would further burden the individual with fines and in the end the person would still not have health insurance. He called it a “substantive difference” with Clinton on the issue and made that point very clear here:
But he didn’t stop there. His campaign went as far as sending out mailers to potential primary voters highlighting Senator Clinton’s position – claiming that under her plan citizens would be “forced” to purchase insurance. Candidate Obama explains the rationale behind the mailer here:
Now I’m not a constitutional lawyer, nor an economist, so speaking on the validity of such a mandate in the realms of those disciplines will not come from me at this point. But what I can speak to are ideas and the survival mechanism of the virtual organism. If the Obama Administration backs this provision it would be a drastic change from the position of the Obama Campaign and would point to one of two things – either the Obama Campaign was wrong or the Obama Administration is cornered and will do what it takes to survive.
The question for us will be which virtual organism are we to believe?