If you’re holding out hope that members of Congress will realize soon that the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank financial regulation law are both fatally flawed, Barron’s “D.C. Current” columnist Jim McTague urges you make a reassessment.
The measures — which affect two of the economy’s most important sectors — are riddled with oversights, miscalculations, and contradictions badly in need of fixing via technical-corrections legislation. The flaws in these laws will prove costly over time for the financial and health sectors, creating uncertainty for investors.
DEMOCRATS WHO WROTE and passed both laws when they held a congressional majority so far have introduced no major technical-corrections bills. It’s as if they’re reluctant to risk the embarrassment of owning up to mistakes that are as prominent as spaghetti-sauce stains on a white dinner jacket. There were reports in The Hill newspaper last week that four Democratic senators, three facing tough re-election contests, might break with the code of silence and next year try to rewrite unpopular sections of the Obamacare law.
Most likely, a corrections bill won’t gain traction. The Obama administration has frowned on some fixes, and Republicans who control the House can’t be counted on to mend laws that they contend are so bad that they should be repealed. Recall that not a single Republican in the House or the Senate voted for Obamacare. Only three GOP house members and three GOP senators — all from left-tilting New England — voted in favor of Dodd-Frank.
Last week, at a congressional hearing on the disastrous Obamacare rollout, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman chided the GOP’s round-the-clock campaign to vilify Obamacare and broached the idea of a corrections bill. “If this law has problems, then let’s work together to fix it,” Waxman said. No Republicans responded with “Hear, hear!”