Public v Private: The Affordable Care Act

Two landmarks in politics happen today – one from each governing philosophy.  I’m actually not sure if it’s a coincidence or not that they both happen on the same day.  On the one hand the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace opens today.  On the other hand the government is shut down, again.

In the end, after all the hot air and legalese, this is about one thing.  Should government be empowered to act in society?  The Right might frame the question like this, does government have the constitutional right to act in society?

What’s happening today, on both fronts the ACA and the impasse between the House and Executive is ultimately about this question, should government be empowered to act on universal health care?

Democrats say yes, Republicans say no.  The current debate on a national health care plan goes back to the early 1990’s*.  At the time the Right deemed the Left’s attempts to solve our national disgrace Hillarycare today it’s Obamacare.  Back in the 1990’s in response to Hillarycare the Right got behind The Heritage Foundation’s plan which actually is the heart of Obama Care today.  So in a real sense the Right has won this argument, at least so far.

Of course you will never, ever hear them say that.  To jibe with their narrative where the Democrats have rammed the ACA through the process in a strictly partisan manner, they have to completely forgotten that a) the framework for this plan started as their approach to a public response to our national health care crises and b) that the first largely successful and popular experiment with this approach in Massachusetts was passed with a Republican Governor, one who was the Republican’s standard bearer during the last election, btw.

In order to win his party’s nomination, Mitt Romney had to run as far away from his plan as possible.  Ultimately the conflict over the ACA is not about the ACA itself, it’s about how far right the Republicans have shifted.  The ideology that the free market will solve all problems is as much a crazy Utopian dream as the far left’s defunct dreams of a purely socialist state.  Unfortunately the right wing/libertarian free-market fantasy is an ideology that wins hearts, minds and votes because it has an unbelievable amount of money behind it.  With that money the ideology can buy a narrative that turns truth on it’s head.

It’s a narrative you are going to hear a great deal about until this impasse is over.  You can hear it anytime you like before or after the government reopens and the ACA is up and running on Rush, Glenn or Fox.  Please don’t buy it.  In the end it’s a lie – a golden lie that is making a lot of people a lot of money all the while destroying the fabric of our country.

And, btw, it was fun to take the Right’s challenge to call the ACA Obamacare.  Well, we won the last election largely on Obamacare despite the Right’s attempt to tarnish the ACA by attaching the President’s name to it.  We  owned it for the election, now it’s time to call it by it’s proper name.  It’s not the Democrat’s law or Obama’s law.  Despite the Right’s tantrum, it’s the law of the land and we will be better for it.

Blog note:  the articles above are a selection I made from several offered by WordPress for each post based on the text of what I have written.  I don’t get a thorough preview, but often I’ll choose articles that look good and come from different perspectives.  It’s fun and easy and interesting to see how effective text-based searches can be.

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4 thoughts on “Public v Private: The Affordable Care Act

  1. jtimmons88 says:

    Good analysis. When I worked for the Federal government I was always shocked at how arbitrary their shut vs open decisions were made. Hope this doesn’t last long.

  2. Jane says:

    Healthcare is a public good. Like education, basic utilities, transportation public goods are a different beast than all other goods. Economists agree that the private market place will not deliver these goods at a price every person can afford. Hence, therefore, and by the way, that basically means a choice of solutions. One choice is to have government extend subsidies to private companies so they will supply every person who needs healthcare at a price each person can afford (think PG&E and the PUC) or government can step in and do it as a single entity. The larger the population and the more pricier stuff that is needed the heavier the subsidies are needed for private companies. Couple that with the corruption which ensues when government and private companies plus lobbyists get in bed together the first solution is just a bad idea.

    But since most of us slept through 8th grade civics and 10th grade political science class but some how remember the big bad word socialism no one can get the above point across. And many don’t want to. The more you can control the mass hysteria the more power your party can muster. And the GOP is really very good at mass hysteria junk. (The Dems aren’t bad either by the way but use if for different purposes). So we can either enrich the private companies and their stockholders and shut out the poor people from healthcare (or pay for emergency care–which is the same thing as subsidizing the already uber-rich) allowing those without means to die quickly after their contribution to the GDP starts declining when they hit 60 or so or we can invest in the general population and raise everyone’s expectation of GDP contribution by a few years and thus pay for health care costs.

    Personally I think the whole thing comes down to animal like competition thing. King of the Hill is the victor no matter if the hill is destroyed while taking it. Only that moment of being King of the Hill matters because that is all that will make it in print and it is all the masses will remember when they go to vote next year.

    Even more worrisome is the change in the group standing on the top of the hill. The elite members of society driven by a sphincter- tightening competitive response to the change over to the technology economy (producing all kinds of new wealthy and elite) are seeking to restrict access to resources by the masses. The top of the hill is getting too crowded with new money-folk. Basically it is a “we may have to feed the servants and allow them to vote…” but that doesn’t mean we have to let them live long after they can’t work and make money for us any longer. Like a piece of machinery, when done, the machine is discarded.

    The real threat though is that working people may be disengaged but only in the short here and now. You don’t survive on less because you are stupid. As theses idiotic position battles wage on the working class is catching on. When my uber-conservative relatives in the deep south start abandoning the GOP and the Tea Party you know the ship isn’t just taking on water but is going down.

    Which would leave us with the Democrats-in-drag Republicans, the moderate Democrats, and a couple of serious Democrats only. A scary option which comes with a new set of problems.

    ALL my IMHO of course.

    1. Wow! I should be commenting on your blog. Wanna switch?

      Ok, so this is a personal fault of mine. There is so much of value here (read it a couple of times now) but the sentence that my mind focuses on is taking the defensive stance- Hey, when do the Democrats fear monger? (Because I want the Democrats to be above that as much as possible)

      Global warming comes to mind, but I think that isa legitimate fear that will require changes in our behavior.

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