No more Obamacare

We should have called it the ‘Better Than Nothing Act’. I’ve never liked calling it ‘Obamacare’. It wasn’t his idea. It was what goddamned Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts, and it existed as an idea long before that. The name made it political, when the idea should have been the opposite. The Republicans created that ‘Obamacare’ label, and our President thought it would be clever to co-opt it, or maybe thought it would be his legacy. He probably thought both these things, and it turns out to be neither clever, nor likely his legacy.

Officially, it is the ‘Affordable Care Act’, of course, which is also a crap name. It isn’t necessarily affordable. That wasn’t the point, and that mischaracterization is what helped make it so unpopular. The idea was simply to to give people who had no choice, due to how they got their income, or pre-existing conditions, the possibility of health care coverage. To pay for that choice, we fell back on the free market idea of a risk pool, with incentives for healthy people to participate via a tax cut.  Wait, wasn’t it a tax penalty? Not really. That was another dumb ass branding decision. It was a tax, that you could avoid by having insurance. That’s what the courts considered it, and that’s what it should have been called all along. Instead, we let Republican call it a penalty (knowing it would piss people off).

I, and most other Democrats, would rather have relied on socialist principle of shared responsibility with costs spread across everyone in America, not just those without health coverage from their work.

SIDERANT: Yes, I said socialist. We need to reclaim that word. If the right is reclaiming motherfucking fascism, I’m reclaiming socialism. The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the 1%. There’s nothing wrong with that idea. It’s been abused to support other bad ideas, but what hasn’t? We have a lot of things in our society that are rightfully socialized; Roads, Defense, Schools, and Retirement (barely). We have a few socialized things that are harder to defend; Farming, Military Adventurism, and Gun ownership. Many small farms derive more than 30% of their income from Ag subsidies. That’s socialism. You can argue about the value of deploying troops abroad to project power, but you can’t reasonably deny that it’s socialism in action. Finally, of course, gun ownership is socialized. There’s nothing more socialist than enshrining an industry in your constitution, and propping it up by excluding it from legal responsibility for a deadly product.

I have little doubt that there will be several successful votes to repeal ‘Obamacare’. The meat is too red to ignore. Likely, the result will be Government picking up more of the ‘risk’ for people who insist loudly enough, and lots of people exercising their ‘right’ to go through life waiting for inevitable catastrophic health emergencies without coverage.  If Republicans were foolish enough to do a full-scale rip-out of all the national protections, then even that wouldn’t be the end. Many states will still have the will and resources to enact state versions, like those early plans that inspired the act in the first place. This will create yet another ‘urban’ vs ‘rural’ dichotomy between ’embarrassed millionaires’ who will resent not having health care, even as they refuse it vs. ‘the entitled poor’, who will simply demand it because they’re over themselves enough to realize they need it. Basically, there will be bumps in the road, but the long term track of healthcare coverage reform will continue in the present direction. Once you give people a lifejacket, they’ll fight you to keep it. Most people, anyway. Eventually, the rest will catch on. We’ll just probably need a new name.

 

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