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Dave Ross

When the roles were reversed

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2012, file photo, U.S. Sen. John Glenn talks with astronauts on the International Space Station via satellite before a discussion titled "Learning from the Past to Innovate for the Future" in Columbus, Ohio. Glenn, who was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth and later spent 24 years representing Ohio in the Senate, has died at 95. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Today we see Republicans outraged over the problems Americans are having signing up for a health care program that they voted against. At the same time Democrats defend it, and reassure us it’s going to be fixed.

Remarkably, seven years ago, it was just the opposite. Seven years ago, the Republicans had pushed through a plan to subsidize prescription drugs for Medicare patients: Medicare Part D.

But from the moment the plan when online, people were confused and Democrats were outraged.

“It is an outrage to be in the presence of people who are so confused and feeling abandoned,” said Senator Hillary Clinton.

Democrats criticized the plan for being too complicated, and a budget buster since it wasn’t paid for. Which was true, actually.

In any case, things were so bad, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow demanded that the signup deadline be extended.

“Why should you be penalized because the government can’t get it’s act together?”

Sounds familiar, even though it was 7 1/2 years ago, but our story takes a twist. After lambasting the Republican Medicare plan, the Democrats did this:

“You give us a Democratic majority and we’ll give you a real Medicare prescription drug benefit,” said Stabenow.

They decided in 2006 to run on a promise of fixing the Republican plan.

And I was just thinking, considering the Republicans are hurting and how popular guaranteed health care is probably going to be, instead of running on a promise of repealing, why not run on a promise of fixing it?

It worked for the Democrats. In 2006, they won back the House – and that year a certain first-term senator decided to run for president.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.

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