In Our View: Obamacare ObfuscationRepublicans continue to attack health law, but offer no alternative solutions
Published: November 14, 2014, 6:01 AM
Because elections do, indeed, have consequences, it didn't take Republicans long to make their intended consequences known. The day after their party increased its power by gaining control of the U.S. Senate, House Speaker John Boehner and presumptive Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in which they renewed Republicans' call for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
If it worked in the election, then Republicans might be wise to continue beating that horse, even though a repeal with President Obama in office is about as likely as Boehner being the first human to set foot on Jupiter. And yet, despite their well-worn mantra, Republicans continue to fall short of what would qualify as constructive debate. Namely, they have yet to put forth a viable alternative.
Therein lies the aggravating nature of Washington, D.C., politics. While Obamacare has flaws and is facing renewed legislative, judicial, and practical challenges, intransigence for the sake of intransigence is not a solution. A revamped Congress that will take office in January should look for solutions rather than seeking a nuclear option.
Obamacare was implemented with a series of worthy and necessary goals, primarily providing health insurance for millions of Americans who could not afford it or who opted not to seek it. The law prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or charging outlandish premiums for those who have pre-existing conditions. And it requires most people to have some sort of insurance or pay a fine, which prevents healthy people from simply eschewing insurance until they got sick.
The devil, of course, is in the details, and the partisan actions of Democrats who controlled Congress at the time remain indefensible, led by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's assertion that, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Yet the fact is that 7.1 million Americans are paying customers in the various health plans — of note, 112,000 have been denied coverage after being unable to prove their immigration status — and more than 9 million are expected to be signed up by the end of the enrollment period that opens Saturday. That number is significantly lower than initial estimates of how many would be enrolled by the end of 2015, but it still reflects nearly 10 million Americans who otherwise would not have health insurance.
While debates over the effectiveness of Obamacare remain almost exclusively along party lines, the law is facing what could be its most difficult legal challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear arguments in King v. Burwell, which could nix subsidies for those who signed up for insurance in states that did not establish health care exchanges (Washington has its own exchange). Experts say the court ruling could drastically alter the financial balance of the law and throw its viability into doubt.
And so, four years after Obamacare was passed by Democratic fiat, opponents continue to exhaust their arsenal in challenging it. While questions about the constitutionality and the financial viability of the law remain valid, the most important discussion remains buried under a wave of vitriol. Having millions of people in the world's richest nation unable to afford insurance, leading them to seek health care in emergency rooms and raising the costs for everybody else, is not a viable alternative.
Republicans have vowed to continue their fight against Obamacare. We'll be more impressed when they present ideas rather than scorn.
My comment is: Vehemently disagree with the article above on the Affordable Heath Care Act. The OCare was nothing more than a scam by the Democrats as depicted verbally by Gruber who stated last week it was a tax. And he added a very corrupt statement saying that if we'd told the people that, it wouldn't have been passed.
The situation of health care would not be necessary if people took responsibility for themselves. Health Care like car insurance in some peoples eyes is not necessary; that's why Oregon has uninsured motorist insurance. As far as going to the emergency room, the hospitals are the ones that are making out like bandits now because many doctors who did procedures and x-rays in their offices have been driven out of business and those procedures or x-rays now cost 2 to 2.5 times greater than when the physician was performing in their office. The results are poorer. Check the records for emergency rooms or talk with ambulance drivers, many of the same people take ambulances for non-emergencies rather than driving themselves which amounts to abuse.
Our young educated by liberal colleges believe that everyone should have health care. We believe that health care has been available but not everyone wanted to pay for health care nor be responsible individuals. Is it because it is much easier if one let's someone else open their checkbook?