ObamaCare – Taking a Look Back

By YeOldeScribe ~ April 2nd, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

We had a request to talk about Health Care Reform a couple weeks ago, and we promised the reader we’d get to covering the topic by the end of the month. We’re two days late on our promise (our apologies to Mr. Johnny Bits, who made the suggestion), but we’d still like to pseudo-fulfill the deal and cover the topic.

In the title is the one and only time you will hear us refer to Health Care Reform as “ObamaCare” without quotes around it. We here at PoliticalProgressives.com detest the term with every fiber of our beings. People talk about “ObamaCare” as if it was a return to socialism and the reincarnation of Marx himself. The issue was so poignant that it cost Democrats 69 seats in congress, the largest loss for a party in a Mid-Term election since FDR was leading the country. And yet every single person who said they stood against “ObamaCare”, when asked by our writer, couldn’t give a valid reason as to why.

People thought that “ObamaCare” meant that private insurance companies wouldn’t exist. People thought it would make basic health care unaffordable. People thought they were going to have to wait in clinics and hospitals for days or weeks to be treated. And – our personal favorite – people thought this was a handout to minorities who were unemployed. Most couldn’t even get that far and just stammered that it was socialism and it was wrong, or that it came from Obama so it had to be bad.

PoliticalProgressives.com hasn’t heard a single legitimate reason why Health Care Reform is a bad thing – except for our own reasons, which few people talk about. We’ll look at the bad in the bill, then focus on the good, and we’ll finish with our opinion on the legislation, which may surprise you.

First, the bad. After Democrats were elected en masse in 2008, they felt like they were given a mandate to change everything the Republicans had ever done – and they did get a lot done. One of the biggest promises Obama fulfilled was the Health Care Reform package. Throughout the 2008 election, Obama told the American public that health insurance was a right for all and not a privilege for a select few. Arguably, this was the time for the public to respond by either not electing him or speaking out loudly against this proposal. But neither happened. Obama took office, and Democrats cleaned house. Democratic Representatives and Senators enjoyed unprecedented power, and for a while not even a filibuster could stop Democrats. We’re all familiar with Lord Acton’s famous quote “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and it rings true here as well. Democrats began to feel like they didn’t need to listen Republicans anymore… and then they felt like they didn’t need to listen to anyone. Even President Obama got swept up in the power trip. He was once quoted as saying that “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” We never understood why Obama made that quote. The moment the words escaped his lips and were broadcast all over the world, our first thought was that they would come back to haunt him and his party – and they did. How could a president – especially one elected as a moderate, and even more especially an African-American president – tell someone they should sit at the back of the bus? It was a dumb thing to say and the president has spent the last 2+ years regretting it. That one phrase became the lightning rod for Health Care Reform – the idea that this was being slammed down Republicans’ throats – and the rest is history.

But that’s not the whole story. Even the quote above might not tell the whole story. The full quote is as follows: “We can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” Obama wasn’t so much belittling Republicans as he was special interest groups. And Obama did compromise on the Health Care Reform bill. The law that was passed was drastically different than the one that entered the house and senate. There was debate on the issue, and both sides were allowed to contribute to the discussion and offer amendments – which were not automatically disregarded by the opposing party. On top of that, the bill as a whole did great things for the county. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the accomplishments in the Health Care Reform Act (from The Root):

* Ensured Health Care coverage for 31 million Americans

* Prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against people based on pre-existing conditions

* Provided $200 billion a year in subsidies to Americans making up to 400 percent above the poverty line to make sure people can afford care.

* Decreased the deficit in the long term

All in all, this bill did do great things for the public as a whole, and we see it as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation drafted in the past 25 years.

However, the people largely rejected the legislation by electing Republicans across the board in 2010 – even in districts that Democrats had long held. The people spoke – shouted even – and they were not happy. So does this mean we disagree with Health Care Reform? Yes… and no.

We agree that the voice of the people needs to be heard and their will should be respected. At the same time, we feel the people have been deceived by Republicans who used Health Care Reform as a means to their end – getting elected. As we said earlier, the vast majority of people didn’t even understand what Health Care Reform was all about or what it did or did not entail – all they were able to spout out was that it was socialism and expensive. The socialism claim is non-sensical, but we’ll agree that the plan was initially expensive. As The Root pointed out earlier, on the long term Health Care Reform would pay for itself economically, not to mention the welfare advantages stemming from the legislation. However, humans – and especially politicians – rarely have the luxury of looking at things long term. And we’ll even go so far as to say that given the recession the American people faced, spending additional monies on social programs might not have been smart. While we agree fundamentally with Health Care Reform, there’s a time and a place for everything – and while we understand that the political landscape made it an ideal time, the economic one made passage of the bill unideal.

So yes, Health Care Reform was – and is – a good thing. We wish people – especially those who oppose the law – actually knew what the law says and doesn’t say rather than relying on Fox News and the Republican Party telling them that it’s a communist plot to overthrow democracy itself. However, we also recognize that it wasn’t passed at the best time because of original expenses incurred, and because of Obama and the Democrats’ arrogance while the bill was being passed. If we had to give either a good or bad rating to Health Care Reform, we’d rate is as good. Luckily, life isn’t so black and white, and we can definitely see the bill had many shades of gray to it.

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5 Responses to ObamaCare – Taking a Look Back

  1. Sarah McKinney

    I absolutely agree with you here. I was a little worried when I saw the title “Obamacare,” because I absolutely despise that term. People who are informed about what the Health Care Reform Law is all about generally think it’s a good thing for the majority of Americans, where those who oppose it are either uninformed, overly influenced by Republicans (or FOX), or are insurance companies who would be making less money. But for the vast majority of Americans, this is a good thing.

  2. Chris McConaughay

    Early on in the article you made the claim that the American people wanted the Health Insurance law because now-president Obama talked about it during his campaign. In reality, this was more a result of politics (the kind of “politics” that most people would consider a four letter word) than anything else. In the first two years of president Clinton’s first term he tried to address health care in America, largely turning the task over to his wife. The Congress failed to do anything meaningful, the “Republican Revolution of 1994” happened, and the Clintons had a major defeat hung around their neck.

    Flash forward to the Democratic primary where Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama were fighting tooth and nail over primary voters and super delegates (now there’s a topic that deserves a blog post when you get a chance… Are Super Delegates Good for the Country?) Hilary had this millstone around her neck in the form of failed health care reform. She was forced to address it, and it became a huge topic within the primary as a result. Barack Obama was forced to address it, at times mocking some of Hilary’s ideas, (he was clearly opposed to the individual mandate for health insurance at the time.) at times praising her efforts, but mostly pointing out the fact that she had already failed.

    The idea that the general election was about health care reform is inaccurate, and while I agree that a greater emphasis in the general election should have been placed on it, it wasn’t. The election was much more about the unpopular foreign wars, $4/gallon gasoline, the specter of George Bush II and the neocon coalition of “compassionate conservatives,” and, near the end, the economic meltdown.

    I agree with your assertion that the people were upset by the president’s bully-boy-sit-in-the-back style of Chicago politics. He moderated drastically near the end of his campaign, billing himself as a consensus building centrist. He promised to lead American politics to the magic land of Shangri’la where libertarians, socialists, conservatives, liberals, democrats, and republicans would all find common ground under his leadership. When Health Care hit the congress, people remembered that Shangri’la is a wonderful lie, and that the base political ideologies of conservatives and liberals just don’t mix.

    Now, we have to wonder if health care reform, in any form, is the role of government. Some people will say yes, others will say no. That’s the break down, simply put. You say that opponents cry socialism and than skulk off, but that is the base line that needs to be addressed. Who gave the federal government the power to tell you and I that we MUST purchase ANYTHING as a condition of citizenship. If they can do that, they can do nearly anything. What if they said that you must buy an electric car by the end of the year, or face fines (and imprisonment if you refuse to pay those fines)? What if they said that you must pay someone to paint your house? Or that you must go to a spa twice a month for at least 2 hours a visit? Electric cars have less emissions, everyone painting there houses would make jobs, time at a spa would reduce stress levels and lead to a happier America…

    I can argue the merits and flaws of the law itself, and point out things like the hearings going on right now about how the CBO accounting was flawed, and that it wont actually save money, but I’ve been rambling. There are some good things about it (if you think that it‘s even the role of the federal government to do it), but more bad things. If you’d like details I can provide them, but for now… SOCIALISM… BOOOOOO!

  3. YeOldeScribe

    Mr. McConaughay, thank you very much for your comment, which was most certainly not a ramble! We may have been too quick to dismiss the claims of socialism being bad because for the most part, we feel like they’re made by the ignorant masses, which you are definitely not a part of. In the future as testimony in the Capitol and Supreme Court Decisions are handed down on this issue, we’ll definitely take a look at the individual mandate and the bill as a whole, and we promise to give the claims of socialism due diligence.

    Thanks also for the blog idea! As election season rolls around, we’ll definitely include that post! Many thanks for being an avid and involved reader here, we really appreciate it!

  4. Constructive Critic

    I just wanted to offer a few suggestions. Your article offers a fair amount of information, but never cites any sources. No offense, but a blogger is generally not the most reliable source of accurate information. For instance: Who said that the bill would reduce the deficit in the long term, is there research suggesting this is true. We can’t just take your word for it. Also, saying some right wing news show, I’ll not mention the name so as to not boost their site any more than necessary, called it a communist plot is all well and good, if they actually did. Cite the show and air date.

    You offer opinions, which is kind of the point, but you try to show the facts those opinions are based off of without giving any proof to their validity. In that way you are no better than the news program you so clearly dislike.

  5. YeOldeScribe

    Thank you very much for your comment, constructive critic!

    As far as citing my sources, you’ll notice I did do so – The list I provided I took from an online publication called The Root, which is linked to in the article. As for where they got their information from, you’d have to contact them. I deemed the website legitimate and fit to link to, so I’d encourage you to contact them for more info – or, if you have stats that contradict what they’re saying, we’d love to hear them! PoliticalProgressives.com is all about truth in politics.

    As for the criticizing Fox News, we’re referring to the idea of them constantly using “ObamaCare” instead of the accurate term of “Health Care Reform”. Also, we don’t have specific episodes, but we know on many instances they’ve been less than polite (and more importantly less than fair, balanced and neutral) towards the bill. Since we don’t watch Fox “news”, we’re unable to present a specific episode – but we were really condemning the station as a whole.

    At PoliticalProgressives.com, we’ll always try to link to articles to back up out statements or provide sources for data. Honesty and accuracy are very important to us, so thanks for keeping us honest, Mr./Mrs. Critic! We hope you enjoy the site and keep coming back for more!

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