Opposition to Barack Obama’s health care law began six years ago, before he was even elected President. Opposition has continued through his presidency—intense, persistent, unabated. As I write this article, advertising against “ObamaCare” is running around the clock in every state.
In June 2013 the Supreme Court overturned part of the new law to allow states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. All the Confederate states except Kentucky opted out, as well as Maine and Wisconsin in the north, and the eight central states that divide the country down its middle, north to south.
One-half of the Medicaid-eligible uninsured live in these twenty-one states—five million people. Because their states opted out, these five million folks will continue to lack health insurance long after the rest of us are fully enrolled. In addition, twenty-eight states refused to set up health care exchanges. This lack of cooperation continues to complicate the roll-out process and adds an unplanned-for burden to the new health plan.
What’s going on here? Anyone with common sense and a knowledge of history knows exactly why the opposition is relentless. Racism is at the heart of our politics, and we have a black president who proposed a universal health care law that enables Negroes in America to finally get health insurance like the rest of us. It’s that simple.
I am sure that only a very few of those who oppose “ObamaCare” would agree that their opposition is racially motivated. People don’t generally examine themselves or their motives. Nor do most people want to change. It’s the part of being human the writer of Genesis alluded to when he wrote, The Lord saw that the inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Few people believe they are evil or even capable of it. No one believes they’re racist, even when it’s obvious to everyone else. Just because messing with the Affordable Care Act has wrecked havoc on minorities and the poor in the states that opted out doesn’t mean we’re mean-spirited, opponents say. We have our reasons.
Are there other reasons people despise “ObamaCare” that aren’t racist? Of course. Some have to do with greed. The USA has the most expensive health care in the world. We have to ask: why is that?
One possibility is that the USA—unlike most countries—no longer limits incomes. In the 1980s Congress removed caps on incomes by lowering top-bracket federal tax rates from 92% to 28% (later adjusted to 35%). For the first time since before the Great Depression people could make and keep as much money as they could get their hands on. Owners and executives began to pay themselves as much cash as they could squeeze out of their companies.
Driving down wages, overcharging customers, and misrepresenting company assets & income to accrue additional tax advantages can and does result in huge windfalls, which leaders are now able to keep—under the new tax codes—for their personal enrichment. Business owners who once spent money to strengthen their company’s infrastructure—or bolster wages and benefits for employees—now divert it into ridiculous pay packages for themselves and their executives.
In 1990 the USA spent five hundred billion dollars on health-care. Today it’s two-and-a-half trillion—five times as much. Most of the money has gone into increased compensation for “top” doctors and health care company owners and executives.
Excessive compensation of “specialists”, owners and high-level executives is an embarrassment to our country and a disgrace. It is the reason USA health-care is notoriously expensive and has, during the past few years, soared beyond the grasp of most median income families. The wealthy custodians of America’s most lucrative cash cow—the vast health care industry—are in the fight of their lives to keep government as far away as possible from their private treasure trove.
Under Obama’s presidency racism and greed have joined forces to deny tens of millions of Americans affordable health care. The national campaign to smear the ACA and degrade support by labeling it “ObamaCare” (after the hated Negro president) has been successful enough that people actually laughed at the joke illustrated at right when it played on late night television. It went viral on the Internet.
Let’s be clear. Buying health insurance is not mandatory. People who choose not to buy health insurance forfeit a tax deduction—same as when they choose not to buy a house. Why is this hard to understand? And by the way, deadlines and cut-off dates don’t increase enrollments. They decrease them. They were a concession to opponents in exchange for votes of support.
What have been the unintended consequences of the campaign to destroy the Affordable Care Act? This is where Jimmy Fallon got it right. It has been a Cinderella story.
Opposition has worked the way competition between companies sometimes does. It forced advocates to confront errors and mistakes. It compelled the builders of the ACA to address problems sometimes overlooked during roll-outs of big national programs like Social Security and NASA. It sharpened wits and forced clear thinking from people who might have been tempted to overlook issues until after the roll-out. It mandated an all-hands-on-deck approach to solving the problems of the Health Exchanges after opponents pointed them out.
When people write the history of the Affordable Care Act a hundred years from now, I believe they will say the ACA had a smoother roll-out than many of the successful government projects introduced during the twentieth century. They will point out that the ACA became the model for the programs of the twenty-first century. They will remember Barack Obama as one of our best and most beloved Presidents.