7.1 million and counting

For Your Consideration

editorial@sierrastar.comApril 8, 2014 

They said it couldn't be done. Coming up on the fourth anniversary of Obama's signature legislation, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has reached a significant milestone signing up more insurees than projected despite technical snafus.

This achievement truly warrants the accolade "Mission Accomplished." With that came a shift of sentiment favoring its popularity because the more people know about it, the more they like it. The Republican's worst nightmare marches on.

This is not a win for Obama. It is a win for the American people. Social Security and Medicare at its inception endured similar trials and tribulations and we see today that it is beloved by the American people. How do we know? Look what happened when George W. Bush, Boehner, Paul Ryan and McConnell pushed to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare.

Some believe paths to major societal changes are inherently drawn-out, painful and arduous because people, by nature, are averse to change. Generally, this is a truism, but why was the process so quick and relatively easy when it came to bailing out the very wealthy and Wall Street with hundreds of billions of dollars?

Why is it so easy to give tax cuts, subsidies, credits and other tax benefits to the obscenely rich individuals and corporations who already pay an effective tax rate less than an average middle class family? Why is it so easy to pass a law giving investment banks taxpayer money at a loan rate of virtually zero percent while they turn around and loan it back to us at rates much higher.

All this was done in the face of an unprecedented debt and deficit which Republicans claim exist. These I would argue are also major changes affecting society, yet it wasn't so difficult comparatively speaking. But when it comes to policies helping the average American like the ACA, a protracted battle always ensues. More often than not, the bottom 90% of Americans loses that battle. Obamacare has been one of the few exceptions, although the GOP is still determined to take that away also.

So why is it so easy to pass laws giving robber barons hundreds of billions but so hard to provide benefits to everyone else? As they say, follow the money. How much was spent to oppose bailouts and subsidies — zero? How much was and is being spent opposing Obamacare — hundreds of millions? Don't you think this may have something to do with people's irrational opposition to a law that helps them immensely?

Hundreds of millions of dollars buys you whole lot of hype. You know the drill: Death panels, where are they? It's a job killer, read "Experts doubt GOP claim that health care law's a 'job killer'; it creates more part-time workers, read "One of the Great Anti-Obamacare Lies Exposed — Data proves ACA not responsible for growth in part-time jobs" (Forbes Magazine); it adds to the deficit — CBO says "comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the same period."

There are more facts debunking these lies than fabrications supporting them. The word isn't getting out simply because there isn't enough money behind the truth. That is why the GOP can afford to double-down on this tactic for the 2014 mid-terms.

Now we have: the White House is cooking the books; how many have paid; who hasn't paid; more people were cancelled than signed up; young people aren't signing up. Patience, in due time these too will prove to be as fraudulent as the other claims.

Republicans say that Obamacare must be repealed (for the 55th time) citing its unpopularity with the American people. Interestingly, when Obamacare opponents were asked: If given a choice, would they prefer the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, they unanimously preferred the ACA. Ah, the power of branding. List ACA's provisions and they all love it. Put the Obama brand on it and they hate it. This is what money can do.

So what do Republicans have against more people getting health insurance coverage? Nothing really, in fact they would not only support Obamacare but would even get behind a Medicare model for all ages. You just have to pony up.

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