Affordable Care Act has proven ill-conceivedPublished 6:00pm Saturday, October 19, 2013
By Dennis Schminke
A number of points in your Oct. 8 editorial, “Tea Party should give,” concerning the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’) induced government shutdown must be addressed. While not a ‘card-carrying-member’ of the Tea Party, I am politically aligned with them on a number of issues, and I understand their position on this one. I will speak a good work on their behalf.
First, as President Reagan (and others) have remarked “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.” The same sentiment ought to apply to blame. It has been dismaying to follow media coverage of this drama, where the primary news narrative has been “Who is to blame?”
This is one of the most important issues to come before Congress in the past 40 years, and the media treats it as though it is an NFL game, with points being put on the board daily. At some point, the game is over, and the team with the most blame-points loses. How trivial! And off-topic, considering what is at stake.
Second, the Affordable Care Act has been the object of stiff opposition from the Republican Party as a whole, not just the Tea Party. While it may be, as the Democratic Party likes to say, the law of the land—it was passed by the slimmest of majorities through bribes, arm-twisting, and shady dealing. As Speaker Pelosi famously remarked, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…” Since it was passed, we’ve found out. Every day brings another story of how hard-working Americans are hurt by it. Rhetorical question: If a bill is passed, and during four years of implementation we find out it is a really bad piece of legislation, might it make sense to delay it, or stop it altogether to prevent disaster?
Third, it is not as though any of this is a surprise. Prior to passage, many warnings were made concerning the Affordable Care Act’s inevitable effects — that premiums would be higher not lower; that however much you might like your current plan and doctor, there is a good chance you will not be able to keep either of them; that it provides strong incentives for employers to drop their plans; and that it would hurt companies, employees, and employment. All of these results, and many more, are now a part of our daily news cycle. There will be more harm to come, and here are just a few: Medicare cuts; Budget problems/tax increases at the state level when upon expiration of Act subsidies for the Medicaid Expansion; Healthcare rationing (the ultimate purpose of the Independent Payment Advisory Board).
The final outcome of this fight will not be known for years. If it is finally implemented, we will have to wait a good long while to understand the totality of the pernicious effects of the Act on our healthcare system, our state and federal budgets, and the (already weak) economy of the nation and its citizens.
It is a testament to just how bad the Affordable Care Act is that broad Republican opposition remains resolute to this day. The American public seems to agree, as polling data have shown that a consistent 60-70 percent public opposition to the Act. The vocal Republican opposition in Washington is aimed at protecting the interests of this majority of Americans who are opposed to this law.
However this fight turns out in the short run, it is quite conceivable that the U.S. citizens and taxpayers will one day look back and say “Had we only known… We surely do wish they had fought harder, and held out longer.”
—Dennis Schminke is a Deputy Chair of the Mower County Republican Party.