The main stream media has been obsessed with comparing the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) with various failures by the previous administration. The comparisons have included “the ACA is Obama’s” – 9/11, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, or Medicare part D. But the most popular of these analogies seems to be Hurricane Katrina.
And while there is a litany of problems with this talking point the most disturbing point is how many conservatives are rooting for the failure of the ACA and humbly declaring victory with every set back.
Just imagine if people in the 1990′s who thought the government wasn’t paying enough attention to terrorist organizations came out after the 9/11 attacks and celebrated the successful attacks because it proved they were right.
Before we invaded Iraq there were certainly those that argued against such an action. Conservatives would have howled that using the deaths of American soldiers as an opportunity to say “I told you so” was at the very least unpatriotic if not treasonous.
What if those who had been urging the government to consider additional reinforcement for the levies in New Orleans before Katrina went on television after the levies broke and declared this a victory because it showed they were right?
For a group that was furious that the president supposedly “spiked the ball” on certain occasions this gloating is embarrassingly hypocritical. Perhaps their hubris would be more palatable if they had a better plan – or a plan at all for that matter.
Of course not only do they not have a plan they are also willfully standing in the way of progress. Much has been made about those whose insurance policies are being canceled due to the ACA however it should be noted that thanks to provisions in the bill all of these people can get a more robust policy which may or may not cost more money. The same cannot be said for the nearly 5 million Americans that will not be covered under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion thanks to a number of Republican governors who refuse to accept this change for their state.
The main reason for their rejection – money. Denying this change will not stop these individuals from going to the hospital for treatment nor will it reduce the ever increasing costs of medical care. All it really does is prohibit poor men, women, and children from having a regular doctor and seeing them on a routine basis to prevent more costly ER visits later. It may make their state budgets look better but in the end it doesn’t lower the cost of care, it just shifts the burden from the state to the insured that will pick up the tab for these ER visits.
The reality is that as a country 18 percent of our spending goes towards healthcare – which is three and a half times as much as we spend on Social Security, and over four times as much as we spend on defense. We have a crisis in healthcare. Taking a victory lap at preventing less fortunate Americans from having the security of health insurance or celebrating any problems with the ACA as a triumph for America is an astoundingly callous missing the forest for the trees situation.