DOOLITTLE: The ABC's of Obamacare

If you’re like a lot of people, Obamacare is something you only dimly understand — a political proposal that President Obama did not put forward during his first campaign for President, but which ultimately, almost bizarrely, has become his biggest legislative achievement.
Jan 23, 2014

Probably you think of Obamacare as some sort of government-run health care, or at least government mandated, and you know very little about how it will actually work, how it will be implemented, and most importantly, how it will affect you.

If you’re  struggling financially, you may believe that “free” health care is headed your way. If you have robust health insurance through your employer, you may feel smugly confident that Obamacare won’t impact you. If you’re a liberal, you may believe Obamacare will usher in a new era of wellbeing such as this nation has never seen, and if you’re a conservative you believe Obamacare will rob from your dwindling supply of freedom. These series of articles is intended to help you understand what Obamacare really is, and how it will impact you.

Let’s begin – first of all Obamacare is not government-provided health insurance. Obamacare is 2,000 plus pages of legislation (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that directs what health insurance must look like in this country. It mandates benefits health insurance companies must offer, and to a certain extent the terms of this insurance. Obamacare was an easy sell to people who have faith in government, because like all insurance sales pitches, it’s the benefits you are sold on, not the fine print and the costs.

Many people think that for all the faults of the Social Security and Medicare programs, the government has done a fairly decent job managing them, so that perhaps it can manage health care. However, no one should be surprised by the botched rollout of Obamacare - insurance is far more complicated than simply redistributing payroll taxes. While the benefits Obamacare promise sound wonderful, and we’ll be learning what they are, the costs and the fine print, as with all types of insurance, is what makes most of us loathe insurance.

President Obama may rue the day he became America’s de facto health insurance commissioner.

So what exactly is the promise of Obamacare? According to, 1.) People with pre-existing conditions (like AIDS) will pay the same premium as people in good health; 2.) There will no lifetime limits on your health insurance, and you can’t be dropped when you’re sick; 3.) If you’re uninsured or underinsured you may be able to get insurance you can’t afford now; 4.) You can keep your child on your insurance policy until he is age 26, even if not financially dependent upon you; 5.) You can one-stop shop for insurance on a government-run exchange; 6.) Your insurance must pay for a long list of preventative services (like Pap smear) at no cost to you.

Sound pretty good? Next time, we’ll start digging into the fine print, and the costs.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a weekly six-part series digging into the Affordable Care Act. Doolittle is a local writer, a former stockbroker and insurance salesman, and has a degree in business administration. He said that while this series does include some opinion – which may or may not be the opinion of the Tribune – he can back it all up with facts and hopes to be able to help people understand a very complicated Act and what it means to them.


Beach Gal

Why, in a civilized country, do we need insurance? Shouldn't health care be a right, no different than police or fire protection, available to everyone when needed? The insurance companies will profit wildly from Obamacare, but no one else will benefit. It's Medicare Part D, all over again.


Because legislators have legislated themselves into votes while legislating us into this mess, no competition between insurance companies state to state, the FDA's crushing trials for some things while breezing through others that turn out to be fraudulent or dangerous, it seems nobody competent is in charge, only a political buddy to whomever is in the oval office at the time...there are a multitude of reasons we are where we are, so many with their hand out paying in nothing, others faced with obscene tax and fee bills but getting only substandard care for their money...take your pick.


"If you’re like a lot of people, Obamacare is something you only dimly understand — a political proposal that President Obama did not put forward during his first campaign for President, but which ultimately, almost bizarrely, has become his biggest legislative achievement".

Mr. Doolittle: I will assume this opening statement of your first in a 6-part explanatory series is simply an oversight. In fact, Obama spoke out for universal health care beginning in January, 2007, before he even announced his candidacy for president. From that point on, it was a major campaign promise, and he mentioned it repeatedly until his election.

By the way, just to impart some facts, President Obama won the 2008 election, running on a plank of health care reform, with the largest percentage of the popular vote for a Democrat in nearly 50 years - 52.9%, and a total of 365 electoral college votes. I might also mention that after President Obama signed the ACA into law in 2010, he went on to win the 2012 election with a victorious 51%+ of the popular vote - the first president to attain that great of a percentage win in a re-election since President Eisenhower.

If your opening statement was NOT an oversight, coupled with the many inconsistencies and slanted verbiage in the body of your article, I would respectfully request you waste neither your nor readers' time with additional 'explanatory' articles.


Mr. Dooverylittle, your credibility is already shot with your first sentence. Please do not write anymore of your garbage lies.


Yawn, any moment now vlad will weigh in with his biased opinion.


Here's my biased opinion - the author is clearly referring to:

1. The fact that Obama's pledge for universal healthcare was hastily thrown together by two aides

"The most important red line of Barack Obama’s presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president.

Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?

Thus was born Obamacare, a check-the-box, news-cycle expedient that would ultimately define a president.

“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”

2. Obama beat up on Hillary during the campaign because her health plan included the Individual Mandate and Obama strenuously disagreed with that requirement, until he flip-flopped and endorsed it.

Doolittle did not express himself very well, but for anyone who followed Obama's trashing of Hillary this was memorable: >p>

"One Obama TV ad drove the point home: "Hillary Clinton's attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don't."

The American people voted for a candidate who strongly opposed an individual mandate, but got a president who strongly favored one.

Obama's strong objection to the government forcing people to buy insurance in order to get to universal coverage vanished six months into his presidency. In July of 2009, he came out in favor of a mandate, claiming that he had changed his mind."

So there you have it - I used Obama's and his aide's own words, and even a video - that probably makes me unfair and biased.


I read the same article a long time ago. The how and the why are irrelevant. The fact is that Doolittle starts out his opening article with a lie, and thus he cooks his own goose right from the get-go.

Try as you might, the totally substantiated fact of the matter is that Senator Obama began talking about health care reform prior to and during his campaign, right up to his election, and through his re-election four years later.


Glad that you have finally reached the conclusion that when one starts out with a lie (If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance - period; If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor - period) that person has cooked his own goose right from the get-go!

The how and why is irrelevant - channeling Hillary ? ("What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?") I must admit that I thought you would at least be somewhat offended by what Barack Hussein did to Hillary Rodham, not only on the Individual Mandate but also in the caucus states.


What was really offensive was John McCain, at the time a viable if not boring candidate, selecting Sarah Palin as a running mate. Just think about that for a minute. Knowing what we do now about the US being on the precipice of a catastrophic global financial melt-down, and John McCain chooses, for the love of all things Holy, Sarah Palin.

And then the Republican primary clown and dog show of 2012! Talk about irrelevancy, lies, infighting, and cooking their own goose! I doubt even they think they could top that embarrassing mess. We stuck a fork in's done!

Barry Soetoro

That should read "John McCain, at the time a viable if not more liberal candidate"...


Come on Lan, Vlad eviscerated your argument by using your own words against you and you respond by attacking Sarah Palin? Is that the best you can do? I disagree with just about everything you write but at least I respected you. I have to say I'm disappointed.


Vlad merely cut and paste the article from which I pulled my facts. Vlad's "eviseration" was simply a diversion from the serious issue, as is your comment. As for Sarah Palin, Vlad goaded me regarding offenses of the 2008 presidential primaries, and I responded. Sorry it was so disappointing.....I will strive to regain my former status with you as being respectively disagreeable.

Barry Soetoro

Wrong Doolittle. I read the Trib comments therefore I know everything there is to know about ACA.


If You wrote it, you SHOULD know what's in it!

Barry Soetoro

I have to read it first!


Obamacare is a failure, read all you want from the know it alls at mediamatters, its going to fail cause its run by humans who have a tendency to become corrupt, its guaranteed to fail


By that reasoning, everything run by humans will fail! Where, oh where are those robots when you need them?


The bias is so thick, I can almost cut it with a knife. Once again, I was hoping someone could help clarify the ACA for me, but I don't think that will be happening in any of Mr. Doolittle's articles. Just seems like more propaganda to me. Tribune, please do everyone a favor and get someone who's serious to write about this important Act. Thank you.


Thanks for your succinct and concise comment, Lou. I hope Doolittle and the Trib Team read it - and act accordingly.


I'm praying that they do read it. For the sake of humanity and everyone who lives in the Tri-Cities area.

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