The ACP Advocate Blog

by Bob Doherty

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dr. Seuss and Obamacare

During his marathon one-man, 21-hour show to try to stop Obamacare, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) read from his daughters’ favorite bedtime story, Green Eggs and Ham, the story of a Sam-I-Am who is stubbornly opposed to trying something new (green eggs and ham), and then to his surprise, ends up liking it. (Some observers have noted the irony—isn’t the Senator, and others like him who absolutely know that they don’t like Obamacare before they and the country have even tried it, aren’t they the ones acting like Sam-I-Am?)

But I was reminded of a post on this blog from December, 2009, when I re-wrote my favorite Dr. Seuss story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, into a humorous account of Republican Senators’ efforts, at that time, to block a final Senate vote on the ACA by filibustering it. (They didn’t succeed, of course.)  I was struck by how, almost four years later, so little has changed—the GOP is trying one more time to block Obamacare from going into effect, this time by insisting that the law be delayed a year as a condition of keeping the federal government funded past midnight tonight—even though the current effort has even less chance of success than the December 2009 failed filibuster.

So in the spirit of trying to bring a bit of levity into what otherwise is a depressing day on Shutdown Eve in Washington, DC, I have updated the 2009 verse, to reflect the current GOP effort to stop Obamacare. (Note to my readers, especially Republicans—this is all meant to be in good fun.  I am really not suggesting that the GOP’s motivation for opposing the ACA is akin the Grinch hating Christmas.  But it works for the rhyme scheme).

How the GOP (Tried) to Stop Obamacare

The Democrats
In Congress
Liked Obamacare, a lot...
But the GOP
Who sat to their right,
Did NOT!
The GOP hated ObamaCare! The whole legislative season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be their base is far to the right.
It could be, perhaps, that money is tight,
But I think that the most likely reason of all
Is Republicans want to keep government small.

But,
Whatever the reason,
Their base or their views,
They stood there on September 30th, hating the bill,
Staring down with a sour, disapproving frown
And vowed they would bring Obamacare down.

"It’s socialized medicine!" they snarled with a sneer.
"Yet Obamacare is coming! It's practically here!"
Then they growled, with their fingers nervously drumming,
"We MUST find a way to stop it from coming!"
For on Tuesday, they knew...

The marketplaces in each state
Would open up bright and early.  And offer insurance
To the young and the old,
Then the uninsured would sign up for a government feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
On taxpayers' dollars to feed the government beast
Which was something the GOP could not stand in the least!

And the more they thought of Obamacare coming,
The more they thought, "We must stop the whole thing!
The time has come, it must be now,
We MUST stop Obamacare from coming!
... But HOW?"

Then they got an idea!
An awful idea!
THE House GOP
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!

"We know just what to do!" They laughed in their throat.
“We’ll shutdown the government without an ACA delay!"
And they chuckled, and clucked, "What a great GOP trick!
Even if it shuts the government down, this time, and we’ll make sure that it sticks!”

"All we need is for the Senate to agree ..."
They looked around.
But soon discovered support from the Senate was not to be found.
Did that stop the GOP...?
No! They simply said,
"The government must shut down until Obamacare’s declared dead
We must stop all 2000 pages, every chapter and verse
We must stop the uninsured from living off the taxpayers’ purse.”

Then they took to the floor, with a smile most unpleasant,
Around the whole room, and demanded to all present!
No matter what it takes!  We must stop Obamacare from coming,
Even it if cuts off all government funding.

It was right before midnight...
On Monday when government funding was set to expire
But no matter the consequences, no matter how dire
Government funding was allowed to come to halt
As the GOP declared it was the Democrats’ fault,

"Pooh-pooh to the Dems!" they were heard to be humming.
"They’ll soon find out no Obamacare is coming!
They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
Then all the Dems will all cry BOO-HOO!”

"That's a noise," grinned the GOP,
"That we simply must hear!"
So they paused. And the GOP put a hand to their ears.
And they did hear a sound rising, it started out low
Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

They stared down at the Democratic side
The GOP popped their eyes!
Then they shook!
What they saw was a shocking surprise!

Obamacare had opened, everywhere, in states big and small,
The uninsured would be able to get insurance, it was now the law,
They HADN'T stopped Obamacare from coming!
IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the GOP couldn’t figure out where they should go,
They stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came despite death panels! And Rush and Glenn!
Despite the Tea Parties and their angry young men!"
And they puzzled three hours, 'till their puzzler was sore.
Then they thought of something they hadn't before!
"Maybe Obamacare," they thought, "means something more.
Maybe it will help provide coverage to even the poor."

And what happened then...?
Well ... in Washington they say
That the GOP took heart
And vowed to fight on anyway!
"We can still kill Obamacare, if we just do it right,
We'll do it in the debt ceiling, we'll continue this fight
This time, we’ve promised our Tea Party base, our efforts won’t cease

...WE OURSELVES ...!
Can still slay the ObamaCare beast!"

Today’s question: What Dr. Seuss story do you think best describes the current situation in Washington?

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About the Author

Bob Doherty is Senior Vice President, American College of Physicians Government Affairs and Public Policy; Author of the ACP Advocate Blog

Email Bob Doherty: TheACPAdvocateblog@acponline.org.

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