Anyone who denies that the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare to most — is flawed is living in a fantasy world. My own family faces a slightly more uphill battle because of an obscure IRS ruling on how they tabulate what is “affordable” for a whole family in terms of premiums. It basically means every month we have to push a little harder to make that monthly premium payment. Not the biggest of deals, but proof even on an anecdotal level that the ACA has issues that need to be addressed. All that said though…
Obamacare is totally working. It’s not working perfectly, but if conservatives want things to be guaranteed to run perfectly, they just show how unrealistic they are being. A new report from the Health and Human Services Department shows that over 12 million people got coverage through the insurance exchanges that Obamacare provides for. Whether that’s through a state or federally run exchange, 12 million human beings got health coverage. While many millions more get their insurance through employment, that’s not the point of Obamacare; lowering the number of uninsured was.
I just don’t get it. How can someone call the ACA failure if it’s actually serving its primary function — getting more people insured? Is it because of all the boogeyman stories of people losing their coverage or rates skyrocketing? Because it seems like every time we get told a story like that, the onion layers get peeled back and either they lost shitty coverage that didn’t actually help them, or in some other way the narrative falls apart. Again, I’m not saying the law doesn’t have its flaws, or that people can’t get hosed by it, I’m just trying to suss out where people like Ted Cruz get the notion that it’s a total and complete failure.
In fact, my good friend Dan Broadbent, for this very website, did a very nice job explaining just how big an impact on the uninsured rate Obamacare has had in his stellar piece “Three totally bullsh*t reasons Republicans hate Obamacare.”
The uninsured rate dropped substantially from 2013 to 2014- approximately 20% fewer citizens were uninsured in 2014 compared to 2013. If you are opposed to more people having access to healthcare, then you’re just an asshole. Period.
Maybe we should hold congressional hearings and invite people who — like my family — didn’t have affordable health insurance for everyone in the house until Obamacare came along. Then they can tell the stories of what’s good and bad about it. The truth is that even with Obamacare you are stuck dealing with massive corporations who don’t want to cover jack-shit so they can keep their costs down. It’s funny that people like Sarah Palin wouldn’t shut up about death panels deciding who is profitable to keep alive and who isn’t, and all along people in the insurance companies themselves essentially do that every day when they determine how much of your medical bill their actually going to cover this time around.
But does that mean that Obamacare is an abject failure?
We should find out of those 12 million people who has a preexisting condition that would have kept them uninsured before. That seems to get continually lost in the rhetoric from the right — that people who have chronic illnesses are now actually able to see doctors for them. In fact, the whole notion that the ACA is helping millions of people is just completely glossed-over by Republicans when they demagogue it. The ends don’t always justify the means, but how can we call something that is helping needy people get things they need a failure, when it’s not even coming close to threatening any institution we all depend on, honor, or respect?
To conservatives, the answer to that question is, “Yes.” I don’t know that I explain to why something that is meeting expectations of enrollment and is providing a valuable service to millions of Americans who need it a failure…but they can. And I’m sure all their answers will be a variation on the following:
If it involves the government, it’s a failure to them. Like NASA, the Post Office, the Internet, the interstate freeway system, and the Hoover damn have all been abject failures of taxpayer expense. That Moon Landing? What a waste of time and money that was. All we get out of the research and design was hundreds if not thousands of technological breakthroughs we depend on today. Pfft. Stupid libtards and their desire to invest in the future.