Of all the puzzling questions about the government shutdown, none is greater than the Tea Party’s objections to Obamacare. Willing to toss 800,000 federal workers into unemployment to make a point, Tea Party members in the House and Senate—including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa)—can’t or won’t explain their real objections to Obamacare. With insurance exchanges getting a bumpy start Oct. 1, the GOP’s Tea Party wing felt a compelling need to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Touted as the biggest government entitlement since Medicare passed in 1965, the Tea Party’s loudest voices haven’t articulated their real objections to President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. Since Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law March 23, 2010, the GOP launched one of the most pernicious propaganda campaigns in U.S. history.
Unable to confront a well-funded right wing disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act, the public has received a toxic diet of negative ads designed to sabotage the nation’s best attempt at national health care. While touted in conservative media circles as the ruin of the country, there’s not one conservative voice—in Washington or on the airwaves—that has articulated clearly conservatives’ objections to Obamacare. King admitted on national TV that he began his Congressional career Jan. 3, 2013 with one purpose and one obligation to constituents: To repeal Obamacare. King, a leading House Tea Party conservative, doesn’t even know, or won’t say, why he objects to Obamacare. He often cites national polling showing that the public remains opposed to Obamacare. With the amount of disinformation from the profusion of negative ads, it’s no wonder the public hasn’t yet warmed up.
When the House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) acquiesced to the Tea Party, it was just a matter of time before the government shutdown. Democrats couldn’t accept what King and other Tea Party types openly admitted was their mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. What’s most bizarre is that the Tea Party doesn’t take it cues from the ultraconservative National Assn. of Health Plans—the insurance industry’s main lobbying group—that backs Obamacare. Nor do they listen at all to the American Medical Assn. that also backs Obamacare. Tea Party zealots like Cruz or King don’t articulate their objections to Obamacare because they’re not based on sound logic, economics, social policy or the good of the country. Admitting why they object so vehemently to Obamacare that they’re willing to shutdown the government and risk damage to the U.S. economy isn’t at all clear.
Tea Party zealots won’t say why they object to Obamacare because they have no real argument. When Obama and the Democratic Party pushed for national health care shortly after Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009, GOP objections centered on opposing socialized medicine. When Obamacare took shape as an insurance buying program, the GOP complained about its adverse economic impact. By the time the economy bottomed in 2009, the federal budget deficit was projected at $1.4 trillion. When the $100 billion a month Iraq War ended Dec. 15, 2011, the economy climbed out of recession and budget deficits shrank recently to today’s $670 billion, economic objections to Obamacare were less viable. In all of Cruz and King’s recent public remarks, both accuse Obamacare as a “jobs killer” when most reputable economists see the largest expansion in the health care industry in the nation’s history.
Bringing the House and Senate leadership to the White House, Obama hopes to get a so-called “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government and return federal employees back to work. House GOP leadership, under heavy pressure from the Tea Party, won’t stop short of de-funding or at least stalling Obamacare. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) truly believe the White House should negotiate with the GOP to fund the government. If Obamacare’s not bad for the economy, if it’s actually good for uninsured people and if it’s the law of the land vetted by the Supreme Court, why should the White House negotiate with the Tea Party’s monomaniacal focus to stop Obamacare? Boehner and McConnell find themselves unable to stop a renegade Tea Party faction determined to sacrifice Obamacare at all costs, including the federal workforce.
Brainwashed by their own right wing media, Tea Party objections to Obamacare stem from their twisted belief that Obama is a socialist hell-bent on destroying the American way of life. Without sound economic or domestic policy objections, the Tea Party relies of innuendo and conspiracy theories to frighten the public into opposing Obamacare. When the public finds affordable health plans offered to uninsurable citizens with pre-existing medical conditions by private insurance companies, like Blue Cross, Aetna, United Health Care, etc., they’ll eventually warm up to Obamacare. Cruz, King and others won’t raise public objections to Obamacare because it would impeach their credibility, sounding nonsensical and absurd. If they admitted they’re opposed to all entitlements, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, they’d look insane to mainstream voters.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in global and national news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.