Muftic: GOP still tilts at Obamacare windmills
February 13, 2015
I constantly ask myself why there are so many determined to deprive people of their health insurance? For the 56th time, the GOP-dominated House voted to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) last week.
It was a futile exercise because President Obama still has veto power. Do they just not care that insurance was unaffordable for millions before the ACA, or are there other reasons? I can speculate on the answers.
Ideology plays a big role. I often hear expressed fear of federal government taking over. Small government is always better. States' rights should prevail. Private enterprise should always do it instead. There are those who do not want any government to mandate them to do anything, much less help anyone else to be able to afford health insurance.
The old status quo was tolerable, say some. Emergency rooms are good enough care; preventative care is not that important. So what if charity care and unpaid medical bills hike everyone else's premiums. It is OK those stuck with unaffordable medical bills lose their homes or go bankrupt.
Deficit hawks care more than anything that the ACA will run up the deficit in the next 10 years. At least that is how Senate Republicans interpret a recent government report. Prior year reports showed it would reduce the deficit. Next year could show something different. Legislative tweaks with pay-for strategies and tackling entitlements are tougher to do.
However, the reason for Obamacare in the first place was private sector insurers had already failed to cover so many and states other than Massachusetts were unwilling to provide a solution. So far the GOP has failed to agree among themselves on a comparably effective replacement.
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And then there are partisan loyalists and Obama haters whose main motivation is to cripple President Obama. There is a lawsuit now before the Supreme Court, which could rule that insurance premium subsidies issued through the federal website were illegal; subsidies could only be provided through state exchanges. The chief plaintiff bringing the suit, David M. King, thinks the president is an "idiot" and has posted altered images of the first lady in Middle Eastern clothing. A court ruling against Obamacare would mean 80 percent of the 9 million beneficiaries of the ACA who receive those subsidies through the federal exchanges would be unable to afford their health insurance premiums. That the 35 states refusing to set up state exchanges would reverse themselves is slim since they have state houses controlled by Republicans hostile to Obamacare.
Obamacare is a failure? In spite of reparable computer glitches, the ACA is doing what it was designed to do even part of the way to full implementation. By the end of 2016, 24 million fewer Americans will lack insurance, per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Independent factcheck.org concluded premiums for employed and individuals have risen at a much lower rate than in the Bush years even accounting for the recession's effect, nor will the ACA cost thousands for everyone insured. Fewer adults reported medical bill problems. Destroying Obamacare would reverse those gains.
To see sources tapped for column, visit http://www.mufticforumblog.blogpost.com.
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