Hostage taking season

For Your Consideration

editorial@sierrastarAugust 13, 2013 

Last week was scandal revival week. Fellow columnists, Bill Atwood and J.R. Froelich, pulled the Benghazi, IRS targeting, and the Fast and Furious scandals back out of the attic.

Despite my colleague's continued divisive rhetoric, I am still calling for their collaboration to speak and work together on issues that will help both the Tea Party and Liberals. That's not to say the issues they are rehashing did not have a hint of legitimacy at the time they were introduced. However, after it has been exhaustively litigated, no wrongdoing was found. Aren't we better served not to waste precious taxpayer money and valuable Congressional time on settled issues? Or do we have to drag this out as many times as repealing the Affordable Care Act (40 and counting)?

Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, already had these allegations investigated. The Inspector General exhaustively investigated Fast and Furious. He issued a report on Sept. 19, 2012 exonerating Attorney General Eric Holder. Documents showed that Holder didn't even know about the program until after it was shut down.

Investigating allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups unearthed an IRS internal document showing groups associated with the words "Progressives," "Occupy," "medical marijuana," and Obama's "health care law" were also targets. The IRS manager in charge of the targeting and describes himself as a conservative Republican testified there was no political agenda.

The Accountability Review Board investigated Benghazi and came up with 29 recommendations of policy changes and found no evidence to find fault with Hillary Clinton.

Can we move on? Surely we can agree that a priority is alleviating the economic pain and suffering of the middle class and working poor. It's probably safe to say the suffering is not only experienced by liberals but also Tea Partiers. Sounds like a common cause for Tea Partiers and Liberals.

Since healthcare cost is the leading cause of misery and bankruptcy for American families, let's consider the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Yes, the Tea Party has made its demise their primary mission. Why does the Tea Party believe Obamacare is bad for America? For starters $250 million has been spent against Obamacare. That buys a lot of misinformation and fear mongering.

Let's first review the highlights of Obamacare:

Prohibit denying insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

Allow young adults up to age 26 to remain on a parent's health insurance policy.

Prohibit denial of affordable healthcare coverage after an illness or injury.

Provide Small Business Health Care Tax Credits to make coverage for their employees more affordable.

Protect consumers from unreasonable insurance premium hikes.

Enact a new Patient's Bill of Rights that has helped put people and their doctors back in charge of their care.

Strengthen Medicare with new benefits, new protections, and improved financial solvency for an additional 12 years.

Fix the Medicare prescription drug coverage "donut hole" greatly reduces prescription drug costs.

Invest in preventive and primary care to make sure patients have access to the doctors, hospitals and clinics.

One of the main concerns of seniors is whether it will hurt their Medicare coverage. The answer is no. I doubt any Tea Partier wouldn't benefit immensely from Obamacare. So why take America hostage by threatening to shut down the government if Obamacare is not defunded?

$250 million dollars and counting can gin up lots of false information. We can go into the weeds and argue numbers and scenarios but that dust up only leaves us more confused.

History can help clarify.

Ronald Reagan: "If you don't (stop Medicare) and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free."

George H.W. Bush: Described Medicare in 1964 as "socialized medicine."

They said Medicare will cause businesses to go bankrupt. Jobs would be lost. Quality care will be diminished. Doctors will stop practicing. These same fears and prognostications are being used today. It wasn't true about Medicare then and it isn't true about Obamacare now.

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