Manchin right on health care

The new national health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has become something like a runaway locomotive – doing an enormous amount of damage but with no one willing to ease off on the throttle. But don’t expect President Barack Obama to agree to a suggestion by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that the so-called “individual mandate” be postponed for a year.

A near meltdown of the Obamacare website had one pleasant side-effect, from the president’s standpoint. It diverted attention from the many basic flaws in the law.

Once you understand Obama does not consider them to be flaws, the White House position becomes clear.

Already, less than a month after Obamacare kicked off officially, hundreds of thousands of Americans have learned it will be detrimental to them. Some are finding their health insurance premiums will skyrocket. Others have been informed they cannot keep the insurance coverage they have.

Eventually, millions of individuals, families and small businesses will find that under Obamacare, health insurance will cost them more – out of their own pockets.

Again, Obama knew four years ago, before the law was enacted, of the havoc it would wreak. How else can “free” insurance be provided to the millions promised it? The harm coming to many Americans as a result of Obamacare is essential for the program to work.

Most Democrats in Congress understand that as well as the president does, but support him on Obamacare either from blind party loyalty or because they agree with his socialist philosophy.

A few, including Manchin, are more concerned about their constituents’ physical and financial health. This week Manchin, working with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., proposed a one-year postponement of the “individual mandate” – the requirement that every American buy government-approved health insurance or pay a stiff penalty tax.

But without that mandate, millions of people will choose not to comply with the law. It simply is not in their best interests.

So Obama – who already has granted big businesses a one-year delay in complying with the law – is unlikely to go along with the Manchin-Isakson proposal.

However, Manchin is not alone among Democrat senators with serious concerns about Obamacare. At least four or five others seem to share his belief the program ought to be, in effect, put on hold until, in Manchin’s words, “the kinks” can be worked out.

Again, however, that’s the real problem: Obama is counting on “the kinks” not being worked out.