“They’re like the dog that caught the bus. They don’t know what to do about Obamacare.” – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Jan. 4, 2017.
Canines chasing buses, bikes or Buicks display an instinctive urge to engage in predatory aggression. This phenomenon is called “prey drive.” The desired consequence is an eventual ripping, tearing and brutal death savagely delivered to a victim, immediately followed by delicious din-din for the doggie.
Congressional Republicans have been chasing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bus ever since it gained passage and was signed into law by President Barack Hussein Obama on March 23, 2010. Who’s sane? Check this out.
Reviewing primary features of the Act, an extensive survey recently conducted by the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that 85% of Americans support the idea of allowing children to remain covered by their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. 80% of voters think providing proportionate federal subsidies for those subsisting on limited incomes is a fine idea. An identical 80% look with favor at expanding Medicaid services through the states. 69% of voters believe it makes sense to not allow insurance companies to discriminate against clients due to preexisting conditions and a full 60% find a mandate for businesses with fifty or more employees is fitting and perfectly proper.
While certain Republicans squeal and clamor that the Act is responsible for wild premium increases across the board for everyone purchasing health insurance, including those on employer plans, simple arithmetic dramatically depicts a completely different story.
In reviewing premium rises between 2006 and 2011 before the Act took complete effect, annual increases averaged 31%. Between 2011 and 2016 with the Act in place, this dropped to 20% - representing an average decrease of 35.4% in yearly escalation. Thanks again to the Kaiser folks for figuring this out.
So what’s the deal here? How come something offering so much good became perceived as being so horribly bad?
In a dazzling example of brilliant branding, foes of The Affordable Care Act cynically, maliciously and effectively labeled the measure and all its provisions, “Obamacare.” Giving the devilish dogs their due, this proved to be a genius move. Really.
In a classic case of undeniably successful Freudian transference, Congress thereafter tried more than 60 times to repeal the Act, hoping to kill the bill – even if they couldn’t end the man. As President he stood in their way. In eight days Obama leaves office. His successor has promised to “repeal and replace” with “something better for less money” - these things combined being factually and functionally impossible.
Republicans have had six years to come up with a viable replacement for “Obamacare” - a concept endorsing mandated health care initiated by the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation in the first place. As Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan stumbled, fumbled and jumbled in responding to a reporter’s question last week regarding specific planning: “Ummmm – we have a plan. Errr. Ideas. Ummm. We have lots of ideas.”
Let’s consider one more item here.
Because of a technical move in the Senate to avoid Democratic filibuster opposition to immediate replacement of Obamacare, as promised by Republicans on their first day, look at what just happened.
By a vote of 51 to 48 last Wednesday - without one single mention of The Affordable Care Act by that name or any other - The U.S. Senate approved a measure that establishes “appropriate levels of the public debt” would rise from the current $20 trillion to $29.1 trillion in the next ten years. Yes. And by the tenth year, annual deficits will easily top another trillion bucks. That’s every year. Excuse me? Accountability?
Leading GOP lawmakers insist these are “just numbers” and everything will be worked out in the end. But these specific figures have now been officially voted into the record and will shortly be sent to the House for eagerly anticipated approval.
Oh, and as long as that darn dog is catching the blighted bus of Obamacare, why not toss Planned Parenthood under that same vehicle? More points with the pious.
The poor - primary beneficiaries of Planned Parenthood facilities - will need to settle for our pity, being no longer able to grab pennies from the public purse.
That’s being privatized.