[077] HB2U! Obamacare

Obamacare, aka ACA – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama four years ago. It was an historic political and moral victory in this country, a goal that had eluded presidents of both parties for the entire 20th century.

HB2U.Obamacare

It has also been the single most misunderstood thing in American history. Opponents like to call it “government-run health care” – a claim which only underscores their ignorance, or reveals them to be liars. Obamacare can accurately be described as government-mandated health care insurance reform.

poorpeopleBasically, the federal government told the private health care insurance companies that they wouldn’t be allowed to continue with their most shockingly immoral practices, such as dropping customers when they get sick, annual and lifetime caps, non-coverage of ‘pre-existing conditions’ – including the condition of being female. It also limits these insurers to profit margins of no more than 20%, requiring refunds of premiums paid by customers if payouts for medical care fall below 80% of premium revenues. To compensate the insurers for cutting into their margins, the government promised millions of new customers to any insurers who wanted to participate in the state-based exchanges (or the federal exchange for people in states which don’t set up their own exchanges). The government set these private companies loose to play by the rules within the framework of the exchanges and compete for new customers. The insurers set their own premiums for policies offering various levels of coverage. The consumer is able to compare ‘apples to apples’ when shopping for the coverage they need at a monthly premium they can afford. There are no government hospitals, no government doctors, no government ‘death panels’.

Beyond this, the ACA also provides funding for preventive care, and market incentives for much greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care, with a major emphasis on digitizing medical records. And it vastly increased the funding available for states to expand their existing Medicaid programs to enable access to health care for millions of Americans who still cannot afford to buy private medical insurance.

put the white backThe Republican Party has taken a very principled stance against Obamacare and its author. They cannot abide any success for the nation’s first black president. And yes, it really is that horrifyingly simple. They really haven’t even tried to hide it, except for the fact that they wear their white sheets under their business suits.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has taken fifty votes to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. They know the Senate will ignore them. And even if a bill were to somehow reach the president’s desk, he would veto it. The most telling aspect of this flailing around by Boehner & Co. is this: the GOP never gets around to the “replace” part of the deal. They don’t want to replace Obamacare with anything. They just want it to go away… along with every other progressive accomplishment of the past century, including voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights, unions, etc.

confed.gopAfter the ACA was passed in 2010, the extreme right wing in this country went insane. Lunatics in tricorn hats flooded the primaries to challenge GOP incumbents who had failed to derail Obamacare. Many of them won, and went on to win in the general election that November, displacing more moderate Republicans and a fair share of Democrats. And so the ‘Tea Party’ gained a chunk of seats in the House, which switched over to GOP control. Nowhere near a majority… but overnight they became the tail that wags the Republican dog. So, for more than three years, the neutered Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has scheduled vote after vote to “repeal” Obamacare. And nothing else. He has presided over the least effective Congress in American history. And that is a crime, especially when you realize that President Obama inherited an economy that had almost completely collapsed under the Bush administration. Every other word out of Boehner’s mouth is “jobs”. How many jobs bills has the House GOP championed in the past five years? Zero.

Now here we are, 5 years after Obama was first inaugurated… 4 years after Obamacare was signed into law… 2 years after the national embarrassment of the 2012 Republican presidential primaries… and a year after Obama’s second inauguration. The upcoming 2014 midterm elections will determine whether Obama has a hostile or a cooperative Congress for the last two years of his presidency. Democrats should be BRAGGING about their accomplishments: saving the country and the world from economic catastrophe, saving the auto industry and what’s left of American manufacturing, rescuing all Americans from unscrupulous and immoral health insurance practices and widening the availability and affordability of health insurance for millions, ending two wars that have consumed thousands of lives and trillions of dollars… But instead, we are treated to a defeatist attitude predicting losses in the House and the possible loss of the slim majority in the Senate. Losing seats in the House would guarantee more-of-same, and that would be bad enough for the country. But a GOP majority in the Senate would embolden the right wing crazies and I cannot imagine the damage this nation would suffer.

DEMS LOSENote to state and national leaders of the Democratic Party:

Do you know why Barack Obama won two consecutive presidential elections? Because love is stronger than hate. People were drawn to his candidacy. So please stop talking about how bad and evil and terrible and horrible the GOP is. It’s all true! But that truth (sadly) is not going to motivate Democrats to go to the polls in November. You’ve got to give people something positive, something to fight for, something to defend. Give them something to be proud of. Run on your record, trumpet your accomplishments. Show people that Democrats work for them and their families. It’s all true!

Note to Democratic voters:

Get off your asses and vote in November! In the recent special election to fill the vacant House seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, the Republican won by 3,500 votes… in a district where 140,000 registered Democrats did not vote. That kind of apathy in November will do incalculable harm to this nation. All you have to do is cast your vote for the party that represents your best interests. Something the Republicans would stop you from doing, if they could.

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Obamacare – brought to you by the Democratic Party – makes me happy.

Day 077 #100happydays

 

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12 comments

  1. Yes, education is a good part of this BUT why not confront what is causing people educated or not to think without their brains. It is about HATRED of a black president instilled in families all over this nation. That is why they despise Obamacare and LOVE guns.
    So how do we educate against HATRED ? – – too many educated people are hateful.

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  2. Great synopsis of Obamacare ( I prefer this moniker and hope it sticks forever ). My frustrations are diminished when I encounter my kids (22 and 24 yrs old) and their friends discussing healthcare and politics. They are so well informed, interested, and eager to learn the facts – I can’t help but see a brighter future. The opposition to equity, freedom and inclusion is literally dying out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There should be a domestic Peace Corps-type program… where Smurfy blue kids from Smurfy blue states (like MA + CA) teach kids in the red zone how to think for themselves and how to vote for people to represent their interests.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What amazes me the most is how the GOP thrives on the uneducated mass. My oldest daughter is married to a high school drop out “redneck”. He insists, each time I see him, that Obamacare is ruining the U.S. When I try to explain that funding programs like education, infrastructure rehab (thanks to the ARRA program, I got to keep a job I’ve worked 25 years at!!) and yes… Healthcare, the Obama administration has boosted the American quality of life. Living here in Texas, I’m constantly hearing comments about how this state should secede (yes, we are RED). When I bring up the fact that our roads, schools, police, fire, EMT, even our local libraries all receive some amount of funding by the Feds, these Republican radicals then make statements about how they’d rather be unemployed that live in a nation of “freeloaders”. A bit oxymoronic, don’t ya think??
    I long for the day when everyone; not just the typical middle aged, white, upperclass male republicans find their way to the polls.
    That will be a game changing day, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just want to see Wendy Davis and Leticia van de Putte KICK TEXAN ASS in November! HOW can they not win? On what planet do they not win? Where is the TX of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins?

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  4. Living over here (in Japan) I have totally missed any and all about Health Care in America. Occasionally I read blog posts like this. I have to say, living with universal coverage this past decade, I can’t understand why people over there are so against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you underfund education for decades people lose critical thinking skills. That makes it easy to fool them into voting against their own self interest. As government (therefore) becomes less responsive to people’s needs, they become more distrustful and cynical… and disenfranchised. And as the electorate shrinks, it becomes easier and cheaper for corporate and other interests to purchase a majority “share” of the executive and legislative apparatus. Even the judiciary has been severely compromised. That, in a nutshell, is the history of the decay of American democracy since Reagan’s election in 1980. And frankly, I’m not at all optimistic about the possibility of Americans suddenly reclaiming their country from the plutocracy. It’s not only America. What is the statistic? The 85 richest people in the world own more wealth than the 4 billion poorest people? There may come a time when the very rich have to worry about what they taste like…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reading your comment I get the feeling that you feel the defunding of education was planned with an outcome in mind. Is that your meaning?

        I don’t think there has ever been a golden age in which American’s were ever democratic. We started with only a rich white mans vote. The poor whites were then enfranchised. Women and blacks came next. And finally young people.

        I don’t know from experience, but I expect that those first generations knew the power they earned and with each successive generation after a right was a given/earned lost its significance. This is to say that the fight is against human nature, and perhaps the limits of attention.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Cteavin – I set a limit of 3 levels of nested comments… so I have to reply to your last comment with this reply to your first comment! Hoisted on my own petard…

      Sadly, yes, I do see a purpose behind the patterns of defunding school systems in the U.S. over the last few decades. Not that I believe there was/is a nefarious cabal at work. But the greed that slashed tax rates required elected officials to enact those tax cuts… and keeping the political minions in office became an increasingly easier task as the electorate’s gray matter liquefied. Concurrent with the decline of education in America is the absurd consolidation of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, tv, internet – which is now mostly owned and operated by six gigantic corporations. The intellectual content of American media now equates to the nutritional value of a Twinkie.

      Whether this was orchestrated by an evil tyrant or not, the result for our society and its individuals is tragic. A century ago, the U.S. was in a similar state of decline with the levers of capital and political power concentrated in the hands of the “robber barons”. But there was a peaceful revolution waged in the aftermath of the Great Depression by FDR and the Democrats, and the rise of labor, women’s suffrage and other populist movements which continued into the 1970s.

      We’ve just had our 21st century Depression. Unions are moribund. Barely half of women vote (men too). Populism has been suffocated and turned on its head by the “corporations are people” lie. I admire President Obama, but he is no FDR. And the Democrats in Congress and across the country appear to be in retreat from their own successes, ready to surrender the all-important midterm elections later this year.

      A Republican Party which is virulently against women, gays, latinos, blacks, the unemployed, the poor… against health care, voting rights, civil rights… against caring for veterans, paying a minimum “living” wage, against jobs programs, repairing our shockingly decrepit infrastructure, providing school meals for hungry kids, contraception and abortion, against gun control in this gun-crazed country… and the other 100 things I am forgetting… that Republican Party is poised to win these elections and possibly take control of Congress.

      And the only way that is possible is that the majority of Americans no longer have the capacity to think for themselves and understand that they have been reduced to grist in someone else’s mill.

      Cheers! 🙂

      Like

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