Schumer: Focusing on Obamacare in 2009 “Blew Opportunity”

November 25th, 2014

The 2008 election was not about health insurance. As I recount in Unprecedented, health care reform was the second highest-priority on election day in 2008. Throughout much of the election, Obama and Clinton sparred on who covered more. The plan candidate Obama presented against McCain was not even his ultimate plan. Ultimately, Obama stole Clinton’s plan. Yet, once in office, the President deemed passing health care reform as his “legacy” and put aside all legislative priorities to do so. With a super-majority in Congress, the President could have done immigration, climate change, and so many other goals. But he put all of his eggs in one basket. I observed in Unprecedented that this was a mistake, that is coming back to haunt a President with a serious lack of legislative accomplishments.

Who agrees with me? Chuck Schumer.

“Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a national recession, Schumer of New York said in a speech in Washington. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform.”

Democrats should have addressed issues aiding the middle class to build confidence among voters before turning to the health-care system overhaul, Schumer said. He spoke at the National Press Club to analyze the results of this month’s election, when Republicans took control of the Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives.