The mainstream media has been obsessed with comparing the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) with various failures by the previous administration. But the most popular of these analogies seems to be Hurricane Katrina.
And while there is a litany of problems with this talking point the most disturbing point is how many conservatives are rooting for the failure of the ACA and humbly declaring victory with every setback.
Just imagine if people in the 1990s who thought the government wasn’t paying enough attention to terrorist organizations came out after the 9/11 attacks and celebrated the successful attacks because it proved they were right.
Before the U.S. invaded Iraq, there were certainly those that argued against such an action. Conservatives would have howled that using the deaths of American soldiers as an opportunity to say “I told you so” was at very least unpatriotic, if not treasonous.
What if those who had been urging the government to consider additional reinforcement for the levies in New Orleans before Katrina went on television after the levies broke and declared this a victory because it showed they were right?
For a group that was furious that the president supposedly “spiked the ball” on certain occasions, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden, this gloating is embarrassingly hypocritical. Perhaps their hubris would be more palatable if they had a better plan.
Not only do Republicans not have a plan, they are also willfully standing in the way of progress. Much has been made about those whose insurance policies are being canceled due to the ACA; however it should be noted that thanks to provisions in the bill all of these people can get a more robust policy which may or may not cost more money.
The same cannot be said for the nearly 5 million Americans that will not be covered under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion thanks to a number of Republican governors who refuse to accept this change for their state.
The main reason for their rejection — money. This may make state budgets look better in the short run, but in the end it doesn’t lower the cost of care, it just shifts the burden from the state to the insured who will pick up the tab for these ER visits.
The reality is that as a country 18 percent of our spending goes towards healthcare –- which is three and a half times as much as we spend on Social Security, and over four times as much as we spend on defense.
We have a crisis in healthcare. Taking a victory lap at preventing less fortunate Americans from having the security of health insurance or celebrating any problems with the ACA as a triumph for America is astoundingly callous.