Friday, November 15, 2013

Let's Hope President Obama's Mea Culpa isn't too Late to Save the ACA

President Obama has finally offered his mea culpa, admitting that his Administration "fumbled the ball" with the roll out of the ACA. He went on to expose the Republicans for their naked obsession with repealing the ACA, making clear that Republicans not only don't have a plan to offer but that they philosophically do not believe in the concept of universal health care. They venomous attack on the ACA represents a complete shift in thinking about governance. Contrast the Republicans with the Democratic response to President Bush's prescription drug plan reform. Democrats strongly opposed the bill, but once it became law they grudgingly agreed to work with the law and, over time, offer technical corrections and reforms to improve any problems that emerged with the plan's implementation. We see none of that cooperation today, clearly signaling the true intentions of Republican legislators to sabotage and destroy the ACA rather than work to improve it.

Republicans seem to believe that if you repeat a lie often enough that it will become fact. The problems facing the ACA today involve 5% of the population, not the 70% one often hears from opponents. They claim that premiums will go out, but fail to acknowledge that those rises are the direct result of their strategy of discouraging the young and healthy from participating. And while it is true that some premiums will rise as people are in a sense forced to give up their junk plans for more comprehensive ones, they neglect to point out that for years the young and healthy have benefitted from years of having costs shift to those who were chronically ill or had pre-existing conditions. This telling of half the story is typically of my former Party, a Party now dominated by hucksters, charlatans, fools, and liars. The incessant attacks by these people on the ACA has poisoned the debate and, by appealing to the public's most base instincts, has increased opposition to a law that will benefit our society, reduce costs, and fulfill our obligations under the social contract.

The next few months will prove critical if the ACA is to succeed. The fortunes of both major parties is directly tied to the future of ACA. The Republican Party's shameful behavior is tearing at our political fabric, and they deserve to fail in their "mission" to destroy this law. If that happens, maybe voices in the Party, now otherwise quiet, will "grow a set" and restore order to a Party I would desperately like to rejoin.

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