The rightwing’s nightmare is not that Obamacare will fail; it’s that the new healthcare law will work.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz admitted as much when he spoke to constituents in Kingwood, Texas, last month, saying that once the healthcare exchanges are in place, it will be too late to undo the Affordable Care Act. President Obama’s “strategy is to get as many Americans hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar,” Cruz said. “If we get to January 1, this thing is here forever.”
What Cruz is admitting is that Obamacare -- like Medicare and Social Security -- will improve people’s lives, and Americans will get “hooked” on it. In other words, most Americans will like the new law.
What a shame! A program that works, and millions of Americans receive affordable healthcare -- many millions of whom were previously uninsured -- in a system that was devised by the conservative Heritage Foundation to work using market principles.
Now the Heritage Foundation is leading the charge to “defund” Obamacare. A subsidiary called Heritage Action for America says on its fund-raising Web site, “This bill must be stopped. And our last opportunity to stop it is in September.”
This bill? News flash to the rightwing: Obamacare is the law of the land. It is not a bill, but a law passed by both houses of congress, signed by the president, and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. Perhaps conservatives believe that if they call the ACA a bill often enough, it will cease to be a law.
And there really is a Santa Claus!
Convinced that if Americans get to know Obamacare they will like it, the GOP knows it must pull out all the stops now in its effort to kill the law. Defunding is the latest gambit, and the rightwing is tying the ACA to money to keep the government open after September 30. The supine John Boehner, a profile in fear, has capitulated to the 40 or so obstructionists in his caucus who revolted against the Republican House leadership’s government-funding plan that would have allowed Republican members to express their disdain for Obamacare but would have avoided a government shutdown.
Less that 10 percent to the 435-member House has managed to force the feckless Boehner to agree to a strategy that makes a shutdown likely. The speaker-in-name-only cited Newt Gingrich. “The key to any leadership is to listen.”
An odd citation, considering that Gingrich masterminded the last federal shutdown. Remember how that worked out for the GOP?
The right-leaning Chamber of Commerce and the usually reliably conservative Wall Street Journal know the answer to that question, which is why both see a shut down as suicide for the GOP. A WSJ editorial says, “Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots.”
Obstructionism has seeped down to the state level. Georgia State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has bragged about his efforts: "Let me tell you what we're doing [about Obamacare]. Everything in our power to be an obstructionist."
Republicans, in states in which the party controls the legislature and the governor’s chair, are placing as many obstacles as possible to block implementation of the ACA. Previously, states have rejected the expansion of Medicaid, a free federal gift, and balked at setting up the insurance exchanges in which shoppers can select the health plan that best suits them.
Now, with Republicans getting desperate, several states have passed laws impeding the work of “navigators,” workers trained to help consumers navigate the exchanges. Missouri has passed a law that prohibits any state official from cooperating with a federal exchange. Other states are refusing to enforce elements of the duly passed health law, allowing in some instances insurance companies to continue to reject patients with preexisting conditions.
This kind of obstructionism is tantamount to the discredited doctrines of interposition and nullification, first beaten down by Andrew Jackson in the 1830s and laid to rest finally, or so we thought, by the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War.
No wonder that GOP now stands for the Grand Obstructionist Party.