"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Monday, July 8, 2013

The President's Masterpiece

Or "The Affordable Care Act"
With Apologies to Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Original Inspiration

HAVE you heard of the wonderful Affordable Care Act,
That was written with such logical tact
It lasted three years to the day,
And then of a sudden, it--ah, but stay,
I’ll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the media into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits,--
Have you ever heard of that, I say?
Two-thousand plus five and five.

Robert Byrd was then alive,--
Snuffy old drone from the mountain hive.
That was the year when Dallas-town
Saw the sky open and snow fall down,
And McChrystal’s report was done so brown,
Left without a star to his crown.
It was on that night with Texas snow packed
That the President finished his Affordable Care Act.

Now in writing of laws, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot,--
In loophole, kickback, flaw, or omission,
In oversight, fine print, clause, or provision,
In title, chapter, subsection,--lurking still,
Find it somewhere, you must and will,--
Above or below, or within, or without,--
And that’s the reason, beyond a doubt,
A law breaks down, but doesn’t wear out.

But the President swore he would persevere,
With a "Yes we can," and a "Let me be clear,"
He would build ObamaCare to beat the town
and the county and all the country round;
It should be so built that it couldn’t break down;
--"For," said the President, "’Tis mighty plain
That the weakest clause must stand the strain;
And the way to fix it, is I maintain
        At the last minute
To pass the bill to find out what’s in it."

So the President inquired of the Congressional staffers
Where he could find the longest chapters,
That couldn’t be read nor written nor spoke,--
That was to provide a veil of smoke;
He sent for lobbyists to whip up the vote;
The amendments were many, with strenuous pleas;
The votes were postponed, so no one could flee,
But stayed in the Capitol for things like these;
The law would dispense with the ancient vellum--
Liberty destroyed,--they kept trying to tell ‘em,
Never had the Constitution been so at grips,
And the arguments flew from between their lips,
Their deaf ears frizzled like celery-tips;
Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker kickbacks,
Pork-barrel needles in regulatory haystacks,
All the Democrats lined up, Yellow Dogs turned blue;
Deem and pass, free abortion a linchpin too;
Stupak’s amendment, Nantucket sleigh-ride,
Found in the hopper when old lion Ted died.
That was the way he "put her through."--
"There!" said the President, "now she’ll do!"

Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less!
Coverage for all, no premiums to pay,
But the Democrats’ majority dropped away,
Free birth control and abortions,--where are they?
But there stood the stout old Affordable Care Act
As fresh as the day the President signed it in fact!

ONE HUNDRED days;--it came and found
The President’s masterpiece strong and sound.
Two hundred days again;--
ObamaCare, they called it then.
Seven-hundred thirty came;--
Running as usual; much the same.
One thousand days at last arrive,
And then came one thousand and NINETY FIVE.

Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its third full year
Without both feeling and looking queer.
In fact, there’s nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
(This is a moral that runs at large;
Take it.--You're welcome.--No extra charge.)

TWENTY-FIRST OF MARCH,--the emergency rooms are packed.--
There are traces of age in the Affordable Care Act,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local as one may say.
There couldn’t be,--for the President’s art
Had made it so like in every part
That there was not a chance for one to start.
For the employer mandate was just as strong as the insurance exchanges,
And the individual mandate was just as strong as the original pages,
And the Medicaid expansion still gave free pills to the poor,
And the guaranteed coverage was neither less nor more,
And the premium support as strong as before,
And waivers and loopholes, encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past doubt
In another few months it will be worn out!

Twenty-first of March, Twenty-thirteen!
This morning the HHS Secretary can’t be seen.
Now, civil servants, hide from the media, get back!
Here comes the wonderful Affordable Care Act,
Regulatory uncertainty growing by the day.
"No Lung Transplants!" said the HHS Secretary.--Off went they.
The HHS Secretary was working on her fundraising text,--
Had got to the NFL, and stopped perplexed
At what the--Fluke--was coming next.
All at once the presses stood still,
Waiting for word from Capitol Hill.
--First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill,--
And the Treasury Secretary was getting ready to fly,
At the end of the day before the fourth of July,--
Just the hour to hide from any media reply!
--What do you think the Treasury Secretary found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old law in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground!
You see, of course, if you’re not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once,--
All at once, and nothing first,--
Just as bubbles do when they burst.

End of the wonderful Affordable Care Act.
Logic is logic, and that’s a fact.