The Affordable Care Act, derisively called Obamacare, is another major attempt by those wanting to bring the American healthcare system into the 21st Century and in line with the way healthcare is made available to every citizen in every modern nation except America. Opponents deride this attempt and then boldly claim that , “America has the best healthcare in the world!”, despite the fact that as many as 30 million of our citizens have no access to ‘the best healthcare system in the world’.
When the Clintons tried to bring us universal coverage they originally called for an employer mandate. Employers would have to provide healthcare to all employees. This idea drew a huge outcry from the representatives of the business community. The Republicans in an effort to protect businesses called for personal responsibility when it comes to healthcare. They proposed an individual mandate requiring all citizens to have healthcare and be part of the system with a penalty for those who fail to comply. Democrats agreed and the Affordable Care Act passed.
Since passage, Republicans, in a stunning repudiation of their own ideas, have fought tooth and nail to destroy it. Republicans claim ‘death panels’ will kill grandma, deciding who gets care and who doesn’t, who lives and who dies. They claim the Act will increase costs when it actually will decrease costs and even lower the deficit somewhat over time, as if the old system was sustainable. Republicans have focused on the Medicaid expansion which will need to happen to get everybody in the system. They claim it will cost the states too much even though the Federal Government will pay 100% of the costs starting out dropping to 90% by 2020 when the States will pick up 10% of the costs. Two things about this stand out. First, any Governor, having the chance to provide healthcare to all his citizens and fails to do so, should pay for his dereliction of duty by being turned out of office. Second, economist’s have estimated that states implementing the expansion will see lower costs as their 10% share, much lower than they are paying now.
Several Republican Governors are threatening to refuse the expansion of their Medicaid programs by refusing the Federal money in yet another attempt to undermine the new law. Do they not realize that poor people vote also? Are they to the oblivious to the suffering both physical and financial they are wreaking on their own people with their childlike posturing? They must not. Republicans, when it comes to Healthcare are more than willing to throw the less well off citizens in their states under the proverbial bus to make a political point. Republican Party members should worry about what earnings level is required to keep one from being thrown under the bus too.