Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why is ObamaCare Such a Big Deal?
You see a thing, and you ask,”Why?”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950),  Back to Methuselah (1921)
Talk of Obama’s health law has dominated the news for  3 ½ years now.  People, pundits,  policy makers, and the media can’t seem to write, agitate, contemplate, pontificate, or otherwise relate  to anything else of national importance.  

Why is ObamaCare such a big deal?  That’s a question I keep asking myself, and here are my answers.
The health law, the Affordable Care Act,  or the ACA, or ObamaCare:
·         impacts every single American in one way or another, yet it passed without a single GOP vote even though Republicans and conservative Independents comprise roughly 50% of the electorate, in a center-right nation;

·         involves every American, from birth to death, with the health system, who do not yet understand and may ever fear its consequences;

·         is widely misunderstood because of its complexity,  its various stages of implementation,  its different effects on different groups,  and the near impossible task of explaining it;

·         creates apprehension for those 85% of Americans who like their current health plans and doctors and want to keep them;

·         has unrealistic features, such as requiring all government-endorsed health plans to contain 10 “essential health benefits”, even though many enrolling in those plans do not require those benefits which may unnecessarily drive up costs;

·         “mandates,” another word for “forces,” all businesses and all individuals,  to  comply with government regulations, no matter how meddlesome,  time-consuming, or irrelevant these regulations may be to their personal lives or businesses these regulations may be;

·         represents a profound chasm between those who believe in centralized government planning rendered by experts and those who maintain personal liberties and freedom of choice are at stake;

·         shows the weakness and inability of government,  using the most sophisticated computer and electronic surveillance systems,  to  monitor and control individual transactions and choices at the marketplace level;

·         is fraught with loopholes and political favoritism and waivers for 2500 groups who wish to avoid the adverse consequences of the ACA;

·         produces a paralyzing environment among businesses,  who hesitate to hire and expand and engage in pro-growth economic policies, because of  uncertainties and lack of clarity  and details of administrative policies;  and ignores the realities that employers are dropping coverage for millions of workers, spouses, and retirees, and insurance companies have just concelled health plans for 460,000 policy-holders in Florida and California whose plans did not meet government requirements.
·         disregards the opinions of ordinary Americans,  who from the beginning,  have distrusted and disapproved of the law and favor its repeal or profound modification;

·         does not understand or recognize that the  American culture in a variegated continental nation - those who live and work outside “the Beltway” do not  necessarily think like the political elite in Washington, D.C.;

·         perhaps because of its most commonly used name,  ObamaCare, and because it represents the singular domestic “signature achievement”  of the Obama administration,  fosters a rigid ideological climate  that says  nothing about the law can be changed unless the President approves or initiates those changes.

But what the health laws strives to do, and this too often gets lost in the news,  is  to cover 50,000 uninsured or underinsured Americans, with government subsidies. At the moment, even this is being challanged in court.

Tweet:  ObamaCare’s virtues and  faults  dominate the political landscape and need sto be resolved before the nation can move on to other issues.


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