Rather than dwell on this week’s inauguration (i.e., the monstrous legitimization of humanity’s most base and vile impulses), I will focus on the future — even though that future may be poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Perhaps the biggest quandary facing our country — in a cavalcade of complex and stomach-churning quandaries — is what our healthcare system will look like.
You see, the GOP has made it clear that Obamacare is the gravest threat facing America (well, other than the constant dread that grizzly bears will burst into our nation’s schools and eat all the students, but I digress).
So the Republican Congress is working feverishly to replace the Affordable Care Act with something more free market-like, with less big government and more choice and more freedom and blah blah blah. Yes, they have had years to come up with an alternative, and have failed miserably to do so. But to be fair, all their energy was taken up with hating on Obama. So you can see how some minor details — like a coherent proposal on a life-or-death issue — might have slipped through the cracks.
In any case, I have a question, one that I am frankly shocked that our highly paid media pundits are not asking.
Here it is: Why do we have to replace Obamacare with anything?
After all, when the ACA was first being debated, one argument we heard from the GOP and everybody at Fox News was that the America — and this is a direct quote from multiple conservative sources — had “the greatest healthcare system in the world.”
Again, we are not talking about the distant past. This was just a few years ago.
Now, at the time, many liberals pointed out that this was nonsense. A five-minute Google search would reveal undeniable statistics that showed the USA spent way more than other industrialized countries, got far worst results, had unhealthier citizens, and ranked shockingly low in terms of nationwide health.
But Republicans insisted that “the greatest healthcare system in the world” cliché was the pure truth, and not just bald-faced bullshit designed to rile up the ignorant and the racially insecure.
So now, years later, the Republican Party should be forced to answer a fair question.
If that was so very true, why not just repeal Obamacare and go back to “the greatest healthcare system in the world”? Surely we can just revert to a system that every American loved and never caused any problems and that got such amazing results.
Can’t you just hear every citizen clamoring for that?
Hmm, that is indeed strange. Because it seems that, even as it faces certain death, Obamacare has never been more popular.
Even many Trump voters don’t want it repealed. Of course, one has to wonder why they would vote for someone who said that he would cut off their healthcare. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t take him seriously and brushed it off as campaign rhetoric, which oddly enough, is not what they thought when they heard him babbling about building a wall or deporting every Latino and Muslim in the country.
Apparently, only the threats that applied to other people were to be taken seriously.
But speaking of Latinos, it’s clear that Hispanics have greatly benefitted from the ACA and will be punished severely if it is repealed. In fact, about 4 million Hispanics have obtained health insurance through Obamacare, and the percentage of uninsured Latinos has gone down.
That hasn’t stopped the GOP from attempting its own form of Latino outreach, which I would say is breathtaking in its cynicism and contempt for Hispanics, but come on, look who we are talking about here. The bar is pretty damn low. Hell, the bar is wedged underground at this point.
In any case, the good news is that if Obamacare is repealed, 18 million people will lose coverage the first year, and health insurance premiums would spike up to 25 percent.
You might ask, how is that good news? Well, if the ACA dies and is not replaced, “within 10 years, 32 million more people would be without health insurance [and] healthcare costs would continue to rise every year.”
That’s the bad news.
So again, I have to ask, were Republicans lying when they said America had super-duper healthcare that was the envy of the world? And if so, why the hell should we trust them now?
Clearly, they expect the American people not to remember their mendacity and horrible judgment.
Sadly… that’s a pretty good bet.