Obamacare is obviously the issue du jour and probably will be for years. One of the problems that I see is that most people apparently don’t even know what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is.
Obamacare is a federal program that is administered by the states and guarantees every American access to affordable health care insurance from private (not government) health insurance companies.
Here is a short list of what Obamacare is NOT:
- It is not socialized medicine. Take a look at Great Britain’s system. They have socialized medicine. Totally different. It is not Uncle Sam doing your prostate exam — in spite of what the Koch brothers-funded commercials say.
- It is not public health care insurance like Medicare. The insurance you purchase through the exchanges will come from Blue Cross, Aetna, Humana or one of the many other companies that offer health coverage. It is not the result of any chicanery on the part of the Democrats.
The Republicans in Congress decided to opt out of any meaningful role in debating or drafting the legislation. Democrats in both houses are more than willing to listen to constructive suggestions that would fine-tune the law. All they have gotten so far is 44 votes to totally repeal Obamacare. That is not going to happen.
The next best chance that the Republicans have to steal health insurance back from the 50 million currently uninsured that Obamacare will cover comes in 2016. All they have to do is win the presidential election and keep their majority in the House. Hopefully, that won’t happen. Why are the Republicans so down on this program? If it is going to fail, all they have to do is allow that and then win the presidency on the solid grounds of “we told you so.” Whoever the Democratic candidate is in 2016, he/she will “own” Obamacare whether they like it or not.
In my opinion, the GOP hates Obamacare because they cannot afford to allow the Democrats to get credit for yet another social program that saves lives.
How does Obamacare save lives? In 2009, the Harvard Medical School and the CDC did a study where they reviewed thousands of health care records in order to determine cause of death. They discovered that 45,000 Americans had died that year simply because they did not have health insurance. They had treatable diseases and health insurance would have paid for treatment — but they couldn’t afford it.
The GOP seems to be happy with this many deaths, lives ruined by treatable illness and a health care system that absorbs 17 percent of our GDP. I think that’s a scandal. Thankfully it’s one that Obamacare will go a long way toward fixing.