On Obamacare, The GOP Cares About Winning – Not Americans

ryan-debt-ceilingBrace yourself. I know this will come as a shock, but… Republicans really don’t like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it has come to be more commonly known. I know, unthinkable, right? I’m sure they have their reasons. Maybe it’s because they don’t like the President taking their old ideas and making them work. Perhaps it’s because the Republicans feel that healthcare just isn’t that important for the American public, and that we the people should just suck it up, stop whining, take some aspirin, and walk off that heart attack if we can’t pay for treatment out of pocket. Possibly they don’t like that insurance companies have to pay customers back extra money if they aren’t using the grand majority of it to actually treat or protect their customers… you know, like they’re supposed to be doing. It could be that it’s because they see any weakening of the insurance industry’s ability to take a person’s money for years, even decades, and then drop them as soon as they become a financial liability as a violation of the freedoms corporations should enjoy in the GOP’s eyes. Or it’s possible that they just don’t like the guy whose name is on the moniker.

It’s often complained by conservatives that Obamacare’s requirement of providing insurance for employees is an unneeded burden on business, that it will stifle growth and drive employers out of business. So the ideal in their case would be to have the companies bring in more money, specifically earmarked for healthcare costs so as not to hurt their bottom lines, right? Evidently not. A poll found that over a third of conservatives would cease going to an establishment that added 25 cents to each bill to cover employee healthcare. That goes along with the vast majority, 70%, that said Obamacare should be repealed. Compare that to the 70% of Democrats who would approve of such a funding measure.

So, what it all breaks down to is these few points. Conservatives in this country don’t want people to get their healthcare insurance from the government, which explains the red-state resistance to Medicaid expansion for the poor. They don’t want them to be ensured of getting insurance from their employer. They’re also unwilling to help defray the cost of employer-based insurance for workers through a nominal fee, literally an amount you could lose in your couch or car seats and never notice. Furthermore, they object to people “freeloading on the system”, as underlined by Republican Governor Deal of Georgia to negate the federal requirement that ERs treat anyone who comes in. The question is, how are people supposed to be insuring themselves or getting themselves healthcare if all these conservative desires are met? It is a question that is answered with either changes of subject or dead silence from the right.

It belies a lack of understanding on the part of GOP constituents and a willful blindness on the part of GOP politicians of how expensive unsubsidized health insurance actually is that they basically want to cut off all routes of access to more affordable policies for workers and their families. People can barely afford food and rent on near-minimum wage incomes (which is what the majority of jobs from the recovery pay), if they can even manage that much; insurance, in that circumstance, is a luxury they cannot afford, literally. It also firmly stands in the “it’s not my problem” fog of denial, when in point of fact that when more people are uninsured and inevitably default on their treatment costs. Those defaults are passed on to the rest of us, in the form of inflated hospital bills and increased premiums.

“Screw you, I’ve got mine” is no way to run a country, and inevitably comes back to bite everyone in the butt. The GOP could refute that this is their attitude, except for the fact that they have yet to propose replacements or improvements to the PPACA, only defunding and/or crippling it. Conservatives have been met at least halfway by the administration co-opting the Republicans’ own idea, conceived and touted by their own star think tank. They need to realize that a more fair and reasonable system of insurance than devil-take-the-hindmost is an investment in the future of the United States, and they need to stop playing games and trying to score points just because they don’t like the guy in the big chair, or the fact that he made their idea work.

Jason Francis

Jason Francis is a red-state liberal, residing in the heart of Dixie where he gets to watch the train wreck of conservative politics up close and personal on a regular basis. He's lived in affluence and poverty, in both urban and rural settings, attended both public and private schools, and has visited most of the US at one point or another.

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  • Sandy Greer

    The Right will persist in relentless attacks on ACA through November 2014. If they win the election – they will take heart, and be even more determined. If they lose – they may reconsider.

    So November 2014 should be foremost in all our minds: ACA depends on the outcome.

    One thing’s for sure. We can’t go back to what we had before. Nobody – not even conservatives – would be satisfied with that. They just haven’t thought that far ahead.

    Two other things for sure: Sky did not fall with Social Security; sky did not fall with Medicare.

    Neither will the sky fall with ACA.

    ACA is not perfect: It’s not single payer. But it’s a step in the right direction; it’s never wrong to help people.

    Someday, GOP will remind us ACA was modeled on Romneycare. And say they were for it all along.

    • strayaway

      I don’t even see how the (un)ACA is consistent with the 10th Amendment but Judge Roberts says that it is a tax and that the Constitution allows federal taxes. If its a tax, it originated in the wrong house. But let’s set the Constitution aside like most everyone in Washington. One huge problem with the (un)ACA is that it is preposterously expensive. I’m not talking about Hawaii spending over $10,000 for everyone it registered. I’m talking about providing health care for 40% more per patient than Canadian provincial health care systems. Health care costs went up rather than down, as promised upon the selling of the (un)ACA. Again, setting aside the Constitution and imagining that creating a national health care system is a power delegated to Congress or that it is a tax originating in the proper house, the entire mess should be sent back to Congress with instructions to get the cost down to that of Canada. The easy way to do that would be to replicate Canadian single payer coverage as offered by its provinces. Romneycare is a state program, by the way, and is consistent with the 10th Amendment. It works fine. If Vermont had been allowed to have its own societally AFFORDABLE single payer plan, that might have been even better but the (un)ACA thugs required Vermont to continue foddering the lawyers, insurance companies, and bureaucracies that make health care expensive.