Repost from October 1, 2013
The Government of the United States has officially shutdown as of 12:01 AM on Oct 1,2013. Well the discretionary spending portion of the Government anyway. Now come the blame game and dire finger pointing by the media and pundits alike. But was this shutdown over Obamacare worth it?
The answer to the question depends entirely on why politicians sought the OK Corral showdown in the first place. But before I go there let’s get some perspective.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was presented as a non-tax that would provide everyone in America with health insurance if they wanted or needed it. For those that did not want to take part in the Government healthcare exchanges, they were told they could keep their existing plan and doctors. The best part, as the public was told, was that the cost of healthcare would go down, and it would save money from being added to the deficit. This was the promise of Obamacare.
Since June 2009 the majority of Americans (that’s Democrats, Independents, and Republicans) has not bought into the above pitch. According to every poll, by anyone you want to select as far as I am aware, there has not been less that 51% opposition to Obamacare in over 3 years.
In the meantime, the public has learned that Obamacare is a tax, which is why the Supreme Court did not strike it down. Chief Justice Roberts also made clear that the quality and repercussions of laws are not the responsibility of the Supreme Court, just the constitutionality.
We have learned that the cost of healthcare has increased, and there is no cost savings. In fact Obamacare increases the deficit. Almost everyone in America is expected to be covered – just a pesky 10-15 million won’t be involved for reasons ranging from lack of knowledge, lack of income, dislike of the law, and in some cases the perceived lack of need.
It gets better. As years have passed America has learned of hordes of flaws in the law, most unintentional and likely due to the fact that the law was passed without being read by the supermajority of Democrats that passed it (which oddly enough is not considered a partisan action by the media). We have learned that boat-loads of corporations from the smallest to international giants have chosen to bail on healthcare – eliminating the option of workers from keeping their plans and doctors.
We have also learned that implementation of this law has been about as flawed as its creation, with serious questions on the safety of the data input by Americans that chose to explore the exchanges (whether they want to or now need to). At the same time one of the biggest parts of the law, and several smaller parts, have been pushed back at least a year due to complications – but not the mandate on the public.
But the promise of cheaper monthly premiums for healthcare has been all the rage leading up to Oct. 1st. Still, in all that hoopla the math presented left out the costs of out-of-pocket expenses – like copay, deductibles, and what is or is not covered by the plans. The real world cost is not just a monthly premium, but you’d never know that from what has been presented so far.
Thus, public opinion has remained negative. Even in the face of uncounted speeches by the spectacular orator President Obama. Even with the aid of multiple Hollywood supporters, members of the NFL and NBA, and a host of other marketing gimmicks meant to spur a positive response.
So back to the question at the start. Is this partisan attempt to wipe out Obamacare worth shutting down the Government?
If, as some on the far left have told me, it is an attempt to attack the Black President then no. But there is nothing in the language used by anyone over the past 3 years when discussing Obamacare to imply anything racial. That doesn’t stop some from suggesting it, but it’s an issue that doesn’t exist.
If it is simply an attempt by the political party out of favor at the moment to confound the other side of the aisle, then no. But the pubic opinion and the problems above explicitly describe more than a political tug-of-war.
If it is just an attempt by Republicans to preserve their ability to get re-elected by constituents who want to see a more principled and conservative representation, then no. While there is no doubt that more than a few Republicans, either with dreams of elections to higher office or looking to shore up a very moderate if not Democrat voting record, have voted to repeal or defund Obamacare just for the political gain that is not enough of a reason to shutdown the Government. Again, the public and the litany of problems, plus revelations on what Obamacare really is and does clearly states that this is more than mere political math.
If this is an honest (or at least as honest as some politicians get) attempt to represent the views of the majority of Americans for more than 3 years, then it is worth it. It would mean that this has been an attempt to correct the initial partisan passage of the law, the failures of the law to address serious concerns (like malpractice insurance – a key factor in healthcare increases, and interstate competition for health insurance plans, ect), and the consistent refusal of Democrats to repeal a law the nation has not wanted (which in itself is a partisan reaction without the slightest concern for public opinion or representation).
For me, I believe that a shutdown of the Government as an attempt to repeal or defund Obamacare as it is written is essential for a reason I believe is more important than everything else mentioned so far. Because it is a law that gives power to the Government over the public in a manner never seen before.
Nothing is more terrifying than a Government that can tell its populace they must do whatever. Not that they can choose this or that, or if they elect to invoke this privilege they must comply with regulations and laws. Obamacare is the Pandora’s Box that leads to a far less free nation than has ever existed before. It is only a question of time before a new law – for the good of the public – is passed (possibly with great enthusiasm) the restricts and limits freedom in ways that generations 2 or 3 decades ago would have rioted over. This is the path that leads to Governments like Syria, Iran, the old USSR, and China to name just a few examples.
IF, and only if, Republicans have taken this hard stance to represent the public and protect the freedoms they swore an oath to defend, then the Government shutdown is worth it. Anything less is just political grandstanding, and an attempt to ward off election challenges from the Right and the Left.
Which reason, for each Representative, will be very clear is short order. Hopefully the public at large will notice.