Mike Lee is not trying to protect the American people from the failure of Obamacare. He is trying to protect himself and his fellow members of the Republican Party's lunatic fringe from the success of Obamacare.
And he is prepared to cripple the economy to do it.
Not that anyone yet knows whether the Affordable Care Act is going to be a failure or a success. But the junior senator from Utah, along with a handful of other senators and, most frighteningly of all, a bare majority of the House of Representatives, are pushing our nation on a suicidal course nevertheless.
They are prepared to shut down the federal government, perhaps even default on the national debt, all in a ludicrous drive to cut all money from the implementation of the act that is, for all its many faults, the best stab yet made at providing health insurance to millions of Americans who lack it.
Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are the leaders of the drive to demand that the continuing resolution necessary to keep the government's lights on and checks written after Oct. 1 only pass if it contains a ban on funding any element of Obamacare. Such a measure passed the House Friday, 230-189, with, appallingly, Utah's nominal Democrat, Jim Matheson, voting in favor.
Lee has been trying to make the absurd case that, if the government does shut down or, the next trick up his sleeve, Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling it won't be the fault of his Obamacare Derangement Lobby. No, Lee says, it will be the fault of President Obama and his fellow Democrats for refusing to defund the ACA in order to get Congress to do its job.
Not in this universe.
The Affordable Care Act has a long way to go to be demonstrated as either the savior of the common man, as its supporters hope, or the end of civilization as we know it, as it detractors fear. It is unquestionably complex, with an array of moving parts and uncertain rules that, even under the best of all possible scenarios, won't provide affordable health care to every single American.
A true single-payer system Medicare for all would have avoided those pitfalls. But apparently such a system, modeled after the one that has saved millions of elderly Americans from poverty and disease, is too socialist for us to consider.
The drive to defund Obamacare is daft, cruel and damaging to America in innumerable ways. And a Utahn is at the head of it.