The Buzz

Now it’s Tom Harkin’s turn to diss Obamacare

For months, Republicans have relentlessly criticized the Affordable Care Act.

Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Last month, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has publicly backed the law, gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he faulted President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders for pursuing health care reform over economic issues.

“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus,” he said. “But unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem — health-care reform.”

No question that GOP criticism of the ACA led to them retaking control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in last month’s mid-term elections.

In a piece published Wednesday in The Hill, veteran Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin took his swings. He said Democrats should have gone after a single-payer system in which the government, or a quasi-public body — not private insurers — pay for health-care costs.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified health care, made it more efficient and made it less costly, and we didn’t do it,” Harkin said. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.”

Never mind that Harkin was a co-author of the Affordable Care Act or that a single-payer system most likely would not have passed Congress.

Leave it to former Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to try to pick up the pieces. The former Democratic Kansas governor disputed Schumer’s comments, saying, “Making big, bold moves is what moves this country forward, and this was an opportunity to do something long overdue.

“So is it worth the price? You bet.”