, Newburyport, MA

November 21, 2013

Keep a sense of presidential proportion

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I think we should all keep a sense of proportion. With the Republicans gleefully attacking the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and the media delighted to have this story, you might think that this is possibly the worst thing that can happen in America.

There is no doubt that there have been foul-ups in the rollout of this law. But there has never been a time, in almost every Presidency, when things haven’t gone according to plan. What is important though, is to assess what harm had been done, to whom and to how many.

For instance, the denial by Eisenhower that we were spying on the Soviet Union until the embarrassing (for the credibility of the U.S.) shoot-down of our U2 spy plane and the Russian capture of its pilot.

Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs disaster almost ruined his Presidency.

Reagan, despite his much proclaimed attack on “big” government and spending, managed to run up huge debt.

Carter’s attempt to rescue our embassy people held hostage in Iran ended in embarrassing failure.

G.H.W. Bush’s “read my lips — no new taxes” proved to be untrue.

Clinton’s embarrassing sexual incident in his office, and the Republicans’ attempt to impeach him that ended in failure.

And last, G.W. Bush’s fabrications about Iraq’s nuclear capabilities ended up costing many dead and injured. Its cost is still part of the national debt that he ran up with that war. And the incompetence of his administration in the Katrina disaster, which cost lives and misery to so many, was unconscionable.

So, when we weigh the foul-ups and misrepresentations of Obamacare, consider, first, that the intent of the law is to provide needed medical insurance for 41 million who have none, and the elimination of discrimination by insurance companies for previous sickness, caps on the amount of coverage, etc.

Going back to the previous state of healthcare coverage, as the Republicans want to do, means consigning Americans to the most expensive and least effective health care system of all the industrialized countries.

Alfred Moskowitz