What is the REAL reason Obamacare scares the beejeezus out of the GOP? It was signed into law by the president in March 2010 and it survived a ruling by a clearly conservative, even activist Supreme Court.Yet their insane obsession with its dismantling rages on.
Republicans and FOX continue to urge its repeal, with the ridiculous waste of time by House Republicans voting 40 separate times to repeal it. Now, in an even more drastic, anti-American fashion, these same House Republicans are threatening to completely shut down the government, no matter how much collateral damage is done to veterans, retirees, etc., if the Democrats don’t acquiesce to their terroristic demands.
The best chance of overturning Obamacare without the gravitas of all three branches of government was in the legal challenge on the grounds that Congress should not oblige a citizen to buy a certain product. That cut to the heart of the new law; for if a later Congress were to insist we buy Cheerios or pay a fine we would all be up in arms at the overreach of government.
Even This Current Activist Supreme Court Couldn’t Do Away With It
But Justice Roberts, despite his obvious contempt for anything Democrat couldn’t bring himself to provoke a constitutional crisis by nullifying a law overwhelmingly passed by both houses of Congress with the approval of a president elected by a majority of 10 million and two-thirds of the Electoral College votes–so he caved. By obscure contortions, the compulsory purchase of healthcare was defined by the Court as no more than a lawful tax or levy.
And that should have been the end of the matter. Since then, however, Republicans have persisted with the absurd notion that by passing pointless motion after motion in the House they can bring about an end to what they describe as the socialization of medical care. House Republicans have spent one day out of every eight and wasted nearly 50 million taxpayer dollars banging their heads against the Obamacare tree stump.
Republican pundits, bloggers and the preponderance of talking heads on FOX have piled on, suggesting that Obamacare is not viable, and on the brink of extinction. Even Jim DeMint, whose conservative “think tank”–the very definition of oxymoron–the Heritage Foundation came up with the idea of compulsory health insurance, now says it is “a very destructive law that’s going to hurt our country.” So what’s the deal? Are they simply in denial?
I think not. This is internal Republican politics at its very foundation. Obamacare is the perfect vehicle for rallying opposition against big government and the president. The primitive hatred of Barack Obama for who he is and what he looks like, as much as what he has achieved and what he stands for, is directed squarely at the president’s signature legacy triumph.
By giving universal healthcare Obama’s name, the president’s opponents have personified and forever embedded the name into American lexicon, a despised piece of legislation; but on the contrary, by dubbing universal healthcare “Obamacare,” the president’s opponents hope was to deliberately diminish and dehumanize him.
Although they know their efforts to overturn Obamacare are pointless, the libertarian wing of the GOP is establishing a standard by which all future House, Senate and presidential candidates will be judged. Repeal has become some twisted act of conviction and only those who pledge their souls to it will pass the RWNJ eligibility test. Any moderate Republicans who dare suggest the Affordable Care Act should be so much as amended to make it fit a particular rationale have been either roundly ridiculed or threatened with defeat in a primary with their own party running candidates against them in order to deliberately weaken them.
It’s the essence of insanity and eating your own for a cause. It’s Charles Manson-ish type reasoning.
Only out-and-out repeal of Obamacare will be good enough as a statement of principle for primary candidates, just as over the last few years a solemn commitment not to agree to any raising of taxes has become an essential prerequisite for elected office in the GOP. This is hoe the Tea Party has accomplished a hostile takeover of the Republican Party which is rapidly transforming itself from a broad-church political party willing to cultivate at least some of the public mood to win elections into a disciplined and inflexible protest movement tied to non-negotiable absolutes.
And they dare to compare President Obama to Nazis? What irony.
Obsession with Obamacare Keeps the Minions Focused
By concentrating their time and energy (not to mention money) on the repeal of Obamacare distracts attention from the absence of an alternative Republican universal healthcare policy. Prior to the Tea Party mutiny, every postwar GOP presidential candidate and president, including George W. Bush, offered a plan to take the place of the chronic state of affairs where nearly 50 million Americans (18 percent) have no health coverage and either go ignored when sick or present themselves to hospital emergency rooms, the most expensive and wasteful means of treating illness, which passes on the costs in increased insurance premiums to the rest of us.
And the 18 percent quoted above is the national average; in 17 states the figure is far higher. In Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina about a quarter have no health insurance. One can hardly ignore the fact that all but two of the worst offenders above are outside of the deep south.
More than 60 years after every western European nation provided healthcare to all its citizens, Obama delivered on that perennially unfulfilled promise. Those who demand the repeal of Obamacare do not suggest a replacement other than a return to the status quo. That is likely to be the healthcare policy demanded of potential GOP candidates by libertarian supporters in 2016. Anyone who dares recommend alternatives will severely diminish their chances of selection. I’m sure that none will do so but will instead focus on demonizing Obamacare.
The foreign experience is especially enigmatic. Just as austerity has been a complete and utter disaster to all countries that have recently tried to prove its viability—the UK and especially the Eurozone have deepened and damaged their economies so badly they will spend the next decade at least trying to recover–those who wish Obamacare to fail have similarly ignored the successes of universal healthcare.
Whichever version of universal healthcare is enacted abroad, whether single payer, government-run systems in Canada and Britain, or compulsory insurance like Obamacare in France, after a brief bedding period the system becomes efficient, cost-effective, and held in high affection. It forces costs down on healthcare and drug costs and makes health bureaucracies, as well as doctors and nurses, more accountable for their policies and actions.
Yet, the promulgators of the Obamacare repeal persist in fabricating lies and phony horror stories of the state of healthcare in those countries. In a testament to either the pervasiveness of the propaganda spread by GOP specialists or the lazy ignorance of too many Americans, these lies largely go unchallenged by the broadcast media.
Even The Female Version of Ronald Reagan Embraced Universal Healthcare
There are few better examples of how market solutions were abandoned by a conservative when it came to healthcare than Margaret Thatcher’s wholehearted embrace of the British National Health Service. Behind closed doors she preferred a commercial solution to health, as in all things, but such was the popularity of the NHS among Brits that she embraced it and promised to defend it against socialist reform.
“Let me make one thing absolutely clear,” she declared at the height of her privatizing powers. “The National Health Service is safe with us. …The principle that adequate healthcare should be provided for all, regardless of ability to pay, must be the foundation of any arrangements for financing the Health Service. We stand by that.”
In fact, to win her elections, she boasted how she had extended and expanded it.
Nor did the Iron Lady see an incongruity between commercial health insurance and a single-payer, state-run, taxpayer-funded health service.
“Of course we welcome the growth of private health insurance,” she said. “There is no contradiction between that and supporting the National Health Service.”
So, do libertarians bellowing for repeal of Obamacare, and the pundits who delight in the thought of its failure, really fancy themselves better conservatives than Thatcher? I mean come on.
Thatcher’s own belief that healthcare–overseen by the state–was good for Britain and good for her electoral chances actually explain why Obamacare’s antagonists are so eager to tarnish it prior to its full implementation.
They obviously feel the need to frighten Americans into believing Obamacare will diminish human rights and undermine their existing insurance. If Obamacare ensures that all Americans are covered and paying their way, and that it has helped reduce costs and cut the price of premiums for individuals, it will be as well-liked as similar systems of healthcare administration have been everywhere else.
Similar to Social Security and Medicare, once voters become used to Obamacare’s benefits they may vehemently resist those who threaten to take it away.
Undoubtedly, there will always be “confused” individuals, like those who cry “Keep Government Out of My Medicare.” But, as imperfect as Obamacare may be, if it becomes a proven system of less terrifyingly uncertainty surrounding the affordability of healthcare in the U.S, it would turn out to be a clear vote-winner.
And that is what those who so vehemently oppose it fear the most. Affordable healthcare be damned if it can’t be utilized by the GOP to win votes.
Harvey A. Gold