Conspiracies are as American as tin foil and talk shows. And can be just as entertaining (Area 51), mainstream (JFK) or dark (9/11).
And we’ve got a federal government willing to stumble spectacularly — and publicly — enough to keep those flames of conspiracy burning. (Between the IRS and the NSA, we’re set for at least another decade.)
So forgive me for indulging in a little bit of my own theorizing today. What if — now hear me out — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act wasn’t anything but another part of Obama’s stimulus package?
What if its primary goal wasn’t to cut costs (fiction from the start) or to expand coverage (questionable depending on your state) but simply developed as an economic driver? To keep jobs flowing into one of the few industries unaffected by the housing bubble or the collapse that followed? (In fact, health care remained a growth industry during the great recession, creating jobs at something like a 12 percent clip.)
It’s hardly sinister, but it’s certainly very “Chicago.” Despite billions in bailouts over a year-and-a-half, the economy continued to slump along like a tradeshow hangover. Suddenly, health care reform emerged as an issue, and just like that we have reform. It was, after all, one-seventh of our economy last time I checked.
Which reminds me, since we’re speculating; do you think we’d have had health reform in a different economy? I can’t think of any other reason for the unions — who were taking a bath during the crisis — to get on board.