Since today is a special day here at TWiA World Headquarters (and since health and mortality have been on our minds a lot lately), we feel entitled to--or is it obligated to?--post a special, single-topic rant.
Specifically, the topic here is the current Big Lie: "ObamaCare is a government takeover of health insurance." Any time somebody says that, or some version of it, that person is either blatantly dishonest, willfully ignorant, or has comprehension issues.
Here's the truth: The Affordable Care Act is a government program that enables people previously unserved by the private health insurance business to become customers of those for-profit companies. It gives the insurance companies millions of new customers. Some of those customers are traditionally bad risks, because they already have illnesses, but many of them are young and healthy, the kind insurance companies love to take on.
The biggest drawback for those companies is also one of the best aspects of the law. It requires insurance companies to pay out for health care most of what they take in as premiums. Under the previous system, there was a truly obscene incentive--the easiest way for the companies to increase profits was to take in as much as possible in premiums while denying as much care as they could get away with.
The fact that such a perverse incentive is gone is cause for celebration.
We wrote yesterday (and have before, and no doubt will again) about Republican efforts to obstruct full implementation of the ACA. As the Washington Post pointed out, the duty of elected officials is to follow the law. The fact that one political party doesn't like a law that was legitimately passed by Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court does not give them license to get in the way of it, if they can't overturn it through the legislative process. The fact that they are trying to is a heinous abuse of power that should not be countenanced.
There's a simple fact here. This isn't a theory, or conjecture, or hyperbole, it's unequivocally true: If Republicans succeed in their goal, Americans will die. Other Americans will face financial ruin.
The Republicans have not offered a serious counterproposal to the ACA (granted, that would be hard, since it was mostly their idea to begin with). They've offered a few half-baked measures, like allowing people to buy the worst and cheapest "health insurance" offered anywhere in the country, but such a plan does nothing to save lives. For a couple of years, when I was a full-time freelancer, the only insurance I could afford was one of those low-cost, low-benefit plans, and I hoped every day that no one would become seriously ill or hurt. That, I can assure you, is no way to live.
Without a replacement that covers even anywhere close to as many people as are covered by the ACA, the repeal idea, or blocking implementation, would result in people being unable to afford medical care. American famlies shouldn't have to choose between a checkup for little Susie or before-school breakfast for her this month. American families shouldn't have to worry, after a stroke or an unexpected heart issue or an auto accident, whether medical bills will drive them into bankruptcy.
Any politician who repeats the Big Lie is a liar or a fool, and maybe both. In any event, that politician should be voted out of office at the earliest possible opportunity. If he can't understand the law, he's intellectually unfit for the job. If she's willing to put people's lives at risk by lying about it, she's morally unfit.
It has long been the position of this blog that voters should look for candidates who are smart and honest. Don't let raw ideology decide your vote. A politician who's smart and honest will be able to figure out what the people want, and will know when information he or she has that voters don't, or can't, means he or she must substitute personal judgment for the will of the people. Electing charlatans, frauds, and liars is a sure way to send America backward, when we need to move forward.
We here at TWiA love the United States of America. We really do.
But we'll love her more when poverty isn't a death sentence.
Americans of any economic level should have access to decent health care for themselves and their families. Under the old system--the one elected Republicans are trying to push us back into--they don't.
Obamacare is clearly not a government takeover. It is government acting in the best interests of the most people. Which, really, is what it's there for.
And the Big Lie is a huge disgrace that demeans whoever repeats it.