Posted by: JanF | September 13, 2013

Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

Earlier this week, economist Paul Krugman called the “G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive” the “wonk gap” and pointed to the Republican’s weekly address as evidence:

On Saturday, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming delivered the weekly Republican address. […] he demanded repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “The health care law,” he declared, “has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable,” and he predicted “sticker shock” in the months ahead.

Instead of “wonk gap”, I prefer to call it “the final nail in the coffin of the modern Republican party”.

Of course the Affordable Care Act (ACA) it is not “unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable” and there will be no “sticker shock” unless it is people shocked, I say, shocked to find out that Republicans lied to them.

Let’s take a closer look at which groups of Americans stand to gain the most from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on January 1, 2014:
1. Women. Insurance companies have been overcharging women for years. Obamacare makes that illegal and many women will see their premiums drop by as much as 50%.
2. Young people. College students can stay on their parents policies until they are 26 and will be able to afford health insurance on their own when they graduate thanks to reduced premiums.
3. The unemployed and the working poor. Medicaid will be expanded in most states and with hefty tax credits, the working poor will finally be able to afford health insurance. Since minorities are a high percentage of those struggling economically, they will benefit directly from the new law.

After the Decisive Republican Victory in the 2012 Presidential Election … oh wait … that is another example of the “wonk gap” that Mr. Krugman pointed out:

“[The GOP] dumbing down extends across the spectrum, from budget issues to national security to poll analysis. Remember, Mitt Romney and much of his party went into Election Day expecting victory”.

After their 2012 loss, the Republicans did a study and found out that women, young people, and people of color don’t much care for them. And their answer? Change the language so that it does not appear as though they hate the groups that they lost by such wide margins in 2012. Yes, because putting a woman in the leadership of the House as the official coffee getter conference chair will make your party more appealing to women and make them forget Todd Akin and Rush Limbaugh and, really pretty much every Republican. And pointing a big arrow at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that says “look!!! brown guy!!!” will overcome the bigotry displayed daily in the party’s rhetoric about undocumented young people all being drug mules and their party’s refusal to consider a path to citizenship for children brought to this country as small children. And, really, nothing says “We like young people” more than refusing to consider plans to help ease the crushing burden of student loan debt that kids graduate with and to have been willing to let student loan rates double until someone finally talked some sense into them at the last minute.

Eventually those hollow words … okay … out and out lies will be exposed as such.

Republicans are convinced that Obamacare will fail because in their right-wing echo chamber it has already failed. They willfully ignore the good things that have already started making it popular. Like people whose insurance policy’s lifetime limits were lifted and who do not have to mortgage their house and their future, and face bankruptcy, because a loved one becomes sick or injured. And people with pre-existing conditions who have health insurance and the peace of mind knowing that their families will not go into debt to care for them. And the millions of people who got refund checks from their insurance companies because of the provision which requires that 85% of premiums must go to claims. Those people don’t think it is a failure. Nor will the millions who find that the health insurance exchanges, despite misinformation … okay … lies from Republican governors, are projected to save most people money on their health insurance costs.

The Republicans have boxed themselves into a corner. By pre-hating the Affordable Care Act and by tying their wagon to the repeal of a law that will not be repealed as long as Democratic presidents are in office, they have actually tied a boat anchor around their neck and are about to throw it overboard.

In November 2014, when voters are reminded of the anti-Obamacare rhetoric of 2013 they will do more than just scratch their heads. They will vote for Democrats.

When we vote, we win … and those votes will guarantee affordable health care for ourselves and for future generations.

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