Few people believed the government would be shutdown because the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party are so adamant about the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which they derisively refer to as “ObamaCare”. Yet, here we are on October 1, 2013 and the United States government has been officially closed. We got here because John Boehner, the Speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives acceded to the Tea Party members’ demands to pass a budget bill containing a provision that would deny funding for the Affordable Care Act.
They see this as their last opportunity to keep the law from being fully implemented after having tried to repeal or defund the law about 40 times. It’s difficult to keep count. Yet, even if the Senate were to pass this bill to defund the ACA and President Obama would sign it (fat chance), funding for the health exchanges is already in place. So while the government is closed, the Affordable Care Act is opened for business. I am sure there are many misguided Americans who may believe the health exchanges are not open for business due the government’s shutdown, but I believe there are many more Americans—including me— who have been counting the days for this opportunity to purchase a reasonably-priced health insurance policy.
Undoubtedly there will be glitches in the rollout of this very complex piece of legislation—especially in Republican states where bureaucrats will be deliberately sabotaging efforts to enroll. Tea Partiers will be standing on the sidelines waiting for any and every opportunity to say, “See, I told you so.” They will see deliberate obfuscation and unintentional glitches as justification for their zealous campaign to satisfy the “will of the American people” and eliminate the Affordable Care before it can be implemented. Truth is, the thing they fear the most is that millions of Americans will benefit from the ACA and like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, “ObamaCare” will achieve permanent status.
Think about it, if they knew the Affordable Care Act was destined to fail, would they be fighting so hard to stop it? No, they would let it be implemented and watch as it self-destructs. Only it is not going to self-destruct. The only thing their wrong-headed actions are accomplishing is causing some misguided citizens who do not have health care insurance to forgo the opportunity to get some security for themselves and their families. They should really be ashamed.
With all the misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies being disseminated by conservative politicians, commentators, and bloggers, it is a wonder that more people are not confused about the possibilities of the Affordable Care Act. A recent USA Today/Pew poll revealed significant disapproval for the law, but these folks are only guessing. They really have no idea how the law will affect them until it is fully implemented. They’ve heard so much negative information they can only surmise that the ACA cannot be a good thing.
No matter how many times John Boehner and Mitch McConnell claim to be acting on behalf of the will of the American people, they still will not be telling the truth. The will of the American people was not to shutdown the government over defunding the Affordable Care Act. Only one-third of Americans polled favored shutting down the government in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.
So how does this play out? Who blinks first? I sincerely hope it is not President Obama. One of the biggest mistakes of his presidency was to capitulate on the Bush tax cuts. Giving in to bullies only embolden them. They always come back for more once they perceive you as weak.
As I wrote in a previous post, it is important for social workers to keep faith with the Affordable Care Act. It is not perfect law, but it is a far cry from the current healthcare system that has kept so many millions without insurance. We can always work to fix the parts that need fixing. I am willing to bet the Affordable Care Act will be a life-saving law for countless Americans and will soon be favored by the majority. Once that happens, it will no longer be called ObamaCare.
Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr.
Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy
The post Government Shutdown or Not, ObamaCare is Here to Stay appeared first on Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and has been syndicated with permission.
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