This image says it all. About the difference between Republicans and Democrats these days, the Party of No vs. the Party of Yes.
On October 1 the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, started to provide health insurance to the 30 million or so people in this country who live under the fear that they will be unable to get and pay for needed medical care.
That same day, Republicans in Congress shut down the federal government in an effort to deny millions of people the health insurance they desperately desire. If you doubt this, read the stories about the Obamacare exchanges being overwhelmed with web site traffic on opening day.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We found out that there have been times this morning where the site has been running more slowly than it normally will.
The reason is because more than one million people visited health.gov before 7:00 in the morning. To put that in context, there were five times more users in the marketplace this morning than have ever been on Medicare.gov at one time.
That gives you a sense of how important this is to millions of Americans around the country. And that's a good thing. And we're going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected.
If I was a registered Republican, I'd be ashamed of my party. The only reason 800,000 federal workers aren't getting paychecks is because Republicans are so afraid of Obamacare being a great success, they want to stop it from getting started.
Heartless. Cruel. Selfish. This is the not-so-grand GOP these days.
Many Tea Party House Republicans were elected on a promise to defund Obamacare. Any rational, reasonable, realistic person knows this is impossible. Democrats control the Senate and the White House. No way will this happen.
But Republicans are pretending that killing Obamacare is possible. They're raising lots of money via that false promise. After they fail, the Tea Party types can say, 'Hey, we tried." Problem is, millions of people are being hurt by this idiotic Republican attempt to do what can't be done.
Meanwhile, Democrats are going about the business of helping uninsured Americans, having put Obamacare into effect.
Which has been given a stamp of approval by the Supreme Court. Also, by voters in the 2012 election, who resoundingly chose Obama (yes to Affordable Care Act) over Romney (no to Affordable Care Act). Normally opposition political leaders would respect the voice of the people.
Republicans, though, are living in their own Crazy World where reality has a tough time busting through the barriers of wishful thinking and denial erected by Obamacare haters.
I worked in health planning and policy analysis for about 15 years in the 1970's and 80's. Back then, as now, it was obvious that without universal health insurance of some sort, the problems in the health care system couldn't be fixed.
Every other industrialized nation has been able to figure this out. The United States has been the lagger. Until October 1.
On that day I'd been listening to (reasonable/rational) talk radio while doing errands. Getting out of my car at the south Salem Fred Meyer store, I'd just listened to someone talk about how people were rushing to the Obamacare web sites to learn how to sign up for health insurance.
Walking across the parking lot, I briefly was overwhelmed by a burst of emotion.
I'd labored for those 15 years to make Oregon's and America's health care system better. Through the places I worked -- Oregon Health Sciences University, State Health Planning and Development Agency, Oregon Health Decisions -- some successes were realized by me and a host of others.
But October 1 was a breakthrough.
I felt like I'd played a small part in finally bringing near-universal health insurance to the United States. This will save many, many lives, and prevent many, many people from suffering medical care bankruptcy. I felt really good at that moment.
Meanwhile the Republican Party was trying to undo all the good that Obamacare was bringing to those people. How GOP leaders can look at themselves in the mirror without thinking "there's an unfeeling asshole" is beyond me.
"heartless, cruel. selfish, unfeeling"
These are some of the words used in the blogger's comment above to describe Republicans and those who oppose the Unaffordable Care Act.
Again, I am hearing the implication that Republicans, Tea Partyers and conservatives are a bunch of Ted Bundy's who WANT people to suffer. I think there is a lot of emotion, born of frustration, on the part of the blogger and not enough pragmatism.
By all accounts, from professional commentators to actual people in the insurance industry, I have heard this thing is a colossal mess. I don't understand why people trust this incredibly dysfunctional and inept government to control another 1/6 of the U.S. economy and our health care.
On what basis can we expect them to do a good job? Aren't they the ones who now have us owing a $17 trillion debt with infrastructure crumbling and agencies like welfare and social security in a shambles and our image abroad a joke?
Imagine someone applying for the job of benefits and pension management at your company.
"What are your qualifications and accomplishments, sir/ma'am?"
"Well, at my last job I put my employer in a financial hole they can never get out of."
"Great! You're hired."
I think Obamacare should be tossed. Then, if they want they can try to create a new bill after several years of planning and research instead of this current debacle which was rammed down our throats after only months of research and planning. Who understands it? If you have any questions just ask Nancy Pelosi for the answers.
They just didn't have the time to consider all the unintended consequences and ramifications. It was political opportunism and not looking out for the best interests of the people.
Now, because of this chaos we're really screwed, but maybe one day the Phoenix will rise again from the ashes.
Posted by: tucson | October 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM
The ostensible (one of my favorite words) purpose of insurance is to spread risk among a number of persons in order to ameliorate the effects of the risk on any one person. I cannot think of a more "social" endeavor.
In countries where people do not have to dole out cash for their health care, who pays the providers? The government. How does the government manage to pay the providers? Tax. Another very "social" endeavor, albeit imposed rather than chosen.
Why should young, vigorously healthy individuals be required to purchase health insurance in the US? Same reason you are required to contribute to Social (there's that word again!)Security. You will almost certainly need assistance one day. Same reason that automobile insurance is largely mandatory - even if you are a diligent, safe driver, you need to be protected against others who are not so inclined.
The Affordable Care Act may be somewhat of a misnomer as far as the word "affordable" is concerned. But the gist of the Act is an attempt to correct the radical imbalances that currently exist in the health care system as a whole.
It will not be possible to repeal an Act that has over 2,000 pages of stipulations. What it means for individuals who are currently insured is - practically nothing. That's why the Affordable Care Act was able to become law.
Life continues on it's merry way to oblivion regardless of health care systems, governments, laws, tea parties, liberals, socialism, democracy, Fukushima, contrails and illicit sex.
Posted by: Willie R. | October 07, 2013 at 05:15 AM
"What it means for individuals who are currently insured is - practically nothing."
--Well, for me it has meant quite a lot as I have had to pay an additional $5400 in insurance premiums since O-care was passed. But hey, I got a free colonoscopy worth about $1500 for a net increase of only $3900. Thank you Mr. Ob*ma for saving me the $2500 per year you promised in your campaign. The insurance companies rushed to cover their asses with higher premiums as soon as your bill was passed because they knew they would be forced to cover everyone who knocked on their door and provide freebies like colonoscopies.
Posted by: tucson | October 07, 2013 at 08:59 PM
tucson - I have no reason to doubt the veracity of your statements, but how in the hell, exactly, did it cost you an additional $5400 in insurance premiums? Did your insurer just inform you of a premium increase - take it or leave it? Obamacare only became law a few days ago.
Posted by: Willie R. | October 08, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Easy. Since O-care was signed into law in March 2010, the amount I have paid in increased premiums (along with higher deductibles and co-pays) is $5400 in round figures.
No doubt insurance premiums would have continued to rise but the passing of O-care sure didn't help any. Is Aetna going to absorb the costs of free colonoscopies, mammograms and more that were some of the earlier benefits of O-care that went into effect? No, they are going to charge more. And from what I am hearing from people in the industry, insurance costs are going even higher now that O-care is now in full bloom.
Somebody has to pay for it and the insurers sure as hell are going to try to make sure it isn't them. It will be middle class working folks that will be hurt the most and therefore the economy as these people will have less discretionary capital.
Posted by: tucson | October 08, 2013 at 11:11 PM
tucson, how can you blame Obamacare for Aetna's premium increases when it doesn't go into effect until 2014? Your insurance company is screwing you over, as most do.
Overall, premium increases have been small the past two years -- for job-based insurance, at least.
You should look into alternatives to Aetna on your state's Affordable Care Act exchange. Probably you can find a less expensive policy, especially since Obamacare has done away with the pre-existing condition B.S.
Posted by: Brian Hines | October 08, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I explained in the second paragraph of my comment above why my insurance premiums went up partly because of O-Care...meaning 0 care.
I agree that Aetna is screwing me over, big time. They are a source of frustration and aggravation almost every time I have to deal with them. Is Lifewise still in Oregon? When I lived in Medford-Ashland from 1989 to 2003 they were pretty good, but I have heard that in recent years they have taken a dive like most of the rest.
How can an insurance company not charge more if they are forced to take people with pre-existing conditions that require constant ongoing expensive care?
Like you, I am going on Medicare this month so I will personally be rid of Aetna which got my policy when Fortis (Gurinder and Co.) exited the insurance business in the U.S. However, the rest of my family still requires regular insurance. We will check the exchanges once the chaos settles down (if it does) as you have suggested.
I just think this whole 0-care thing was ill-conceived and rushed, but I remain open minded, slightly. If by some miracle it ends up saving everybody healthcare dollars without compromising quality and availability, then great. I'll say I was wrong and be happy about it.
Posted by: tucson | October 09, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Well, I agree. The rollout has been just a wee tad rocky, don't you think?...as in a complete screw up.
Even if the concept of Ob*macare appeals to you, do we, as a people, want THIS government managing our health care?
Posted by: tucson | October 20, 2013 at 05:50 PM
further on "Obamacare Rocks":
I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the coming implementation of the health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast. This is what ensued:
They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard a young man exclaim, “Isn’t Ob*ma...like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.”
A young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market wouldn't work for health care.”
Another said, "The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.”
At this, I had more than enough. I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table. “Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?”
They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.
“I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there. Anyone interested?”
They looked at each other in astonishment. “Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man, “There isn’t anything for free in this world.”
They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point.
“I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money whatsoever. Anyone interested?”
In unison, a resounding “Yeah” fills the room.
“Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money-free bargain.”
I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust.
“I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.”
Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces.
The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?”
I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them. However, it is a free home that I offer you.”
They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old man.”
I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this is a legitimate offer.”
They gaped at me for a moment.
“I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest among them.
“Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked.
The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh yeah! Where do I sign up?”
I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.” I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature.
“Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice.
All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.
“Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere to from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith. These are my terms. Here are your keys.”
I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumbfounded.
“Are you out of your mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated.
“You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.”
The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people.
“You can shove that stupid deal up your a** old man. I want no part of it!” exclaimed the now infuriated young man.
'You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends. You cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.”
At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal.
After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent.
“What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn, and for that which you did not earn, you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it to you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away. Therefore, it is not freedom at all.”
With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”
I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation -- and was surprised by applause.
The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you, Sir. These kids don’t understand Liberty .”
He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one. It is an honor to pick up the tab.”
I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.
Posted by: tucson | October 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM