Obamacare: Clowns to the Left – Jokers to the Right
America’s Stuck in the Middle …
Have you ever been around someone who makes a lot of sense, but then they say something well, nuts? It then makes you question everything they say or have ever said, right? This is the epidemic plaguing this country’s discourse right now.It is not a new phenomenon, to be sure. However, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), has brought us a new and improved flavor of “crazy” from people who used to make a lot of sense.
For more than three years, extremists on the far Left and the far Right have been making over-the-top or end-of-the-world claims about Obamacare. Some paint Pollyanna stories of unicorns and rainbows while ignoring the slew of issues faced by employers and employees trying to navigate the law. Others argue that Obamacare, a law claimed to be created to make health care more affordable to more people, is the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery. Yes, slavery. You know, that little blip in our country’s history when African Americans were bought, sold, abused and violated in every way imaginable by wealthy white landowners?
In real life, where the rest of us live, our government was shut down for 16 days due to one faction of one party attempting to force the defunding of Obamacare while the blogs and news stories describing the different positions are well, nuts.
The biggest problem that results from extremist spreading conspiracies and half-truths about Obamacare is that it distracts rational Americans from understanding the real problems. And let me tell you, there are real problems. But not necessarily the ones people are pontificating about. Now here’s the funny part, these extremists will defend their statements so vehemently with nonsense that they are missing the real arguments that would actually prove their position.
Do you want to know the truth about Obamacare? It is a mess. Plain and simple. Anyone from either party who is actually dealing with its implementation (as opposed to those simply defending an ideology) will agree with me.
Every day, I deal with real employers who are trying to navigate this ever-changing law that threatens them with hundreds of thousands (and in many cases millions) of dollars in taxes for failure to comply. Every day, I also hear from individuals who are trying to make ends meet because their hours have been cut to less than 30 hours per week or their insurance costs have increased.
To make matters worse, if anyone attempts to follow the news, they are bombarded with conflicting news reports that one state’s insurance rates went up while another state’s insurance rates went down, and so-called studies showing that there is no evidence that employers are cutting hours to avoid offering health insurance.
Well since the entire fast food industry is in fact, using the strategy of scheduling all but a few managers and their office staff down to part time, these so-called studies are ridiculous. I know first hand that this is happening, so any article that tries to argue that Obamacare is not causing worker’s hours to be cut is nonsense at best and misleading at worst. When the Left Wingers use this argument to claim that Obamacare is not going to hurt workers, they not only sound like fools, they make it harder to believe the next thing they say. If they are misrepresenting something that I actually know to be true, how then can I trust them when they are talking about something I don’t already know about?
Although, the Far Right Wingers would like to be as far removed from the Far Left Wingers as possible, they are really birds of a feather. The Far Right extremists have their own brand of crazy that again, makes it impossible to believe them – even in the rare instances when they might actually be touching on a valid point.
From the viral blogs claiming that “Obamacare has ruined my life” to the stories written by so-called attorneys and constitutional law professors about the “death panels” and “Microchip implants” – the nuttiness has really reached epidemic proportions. Every day, the website, Obamacare Reporter (the Drudge Report for Obamacare) posts the latest daily news about Obamacare, and every day sprinkled in there are headlines predicting doom and gloom such as: “Obamacare Sickens American Workers” and “Obamacare and the Medical Destruction of Human Life” to headlines promising deliverance, such as: “Obamacare Aims to Close Medicare ‘Doughnut Hole” and “The $35 Billion Windfall from Delaying Obamacare’s Individual Mandate by One Year Could Restore National Institutes of Health Funding for a Decade.”
Then there are the purely ridiculous ones, including “Obamacare will Destroy Everything We Know” and “Dead People can Sign Up for Obamacare in Kentucky.” Not to mention, my all-time favorite blog that recently made its rounds on Facebook and many well-known websites claiming that Obamacare has empowered child protective services throughout the country to search your homes without a warrant and remove your children for things like getting a bad grade, missing 5 days of school in one month or having beer or guns in the house.
[Note to the college student who claims that Obamacare has raped her future: your story would be more persuasive if you were not eligible for Medicaid per the facts you gave (thanks, by the way, to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion). More importantly, a word of advice to the Right Wing activists who write these asinine blogs: I recommend a bit of editing by someone who actually understands the law.]
The thing is, Obamacare is a big enough news story without the extremists’ nonsense. The Affordable Care Act is nothing less than the government take-over of healthcare in America, an “industry” which represents 18 percent of the US economy. Good, bad or indifferent, any law with that scope is going to deliver huge benefits to some and create immense problems for others. The faltering start-up of the state-by-state Insurance Exchanges on October 1st are just one example of the kinds of problems anything this big is likely to generate.
At www.reThinkingObamacare.com, we highlight some of the shocking unintended consequences built into a law that was passed by Legislators who admit they did not read it or understand it before it was passed. Yet for all its unintended consequences, Obamacare has been upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme court and despite the continuing government shut down, is not going to be defunded or repealed.
In the meantime, there are real business owners losing real money, compromising their work forces and frantically looking for solutions. There are real individuals who are going to be too poor to qualify for a subsidy on the exchange but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid who will have to pay full price for coverage or pay a penalty for violating the individual mandate. There are employees whose hours are being cut, who can’t find full-time work or whose employers are going to charge them full price for insurance for their children.
Politicians, instead of trying to build names for themselves for the next election, could be working together to find solutions to these and the many other problems that have already been identified. Instead, they are fighting ideological battles, playing political games and giving press conferences.
Want to know the scariest part of it all? The extremist zealots are feeding on the masses’ fear of the unknown and distrust of government (the latter of which of course is not such a bad thing). Many of the people who would actually benefit from the law are opposing it because they are believing the nonsense that is being spoon fed to them by interests groups that gain by keeping them misinformed. It is quite ingenious really. By feeding on the fear of the unknown, interest groups that gain from maintaining the disparate distribution of wealth in this country have created foot soldiers who don’t even realize what they are fighting for. On the flip side are the Obamacare poster children who, to put it mildly, are in for a rude awakening in a few years when they become casualties of the unintended consequences of the law.
Don’t take my word for it. In fact, don’t take anyone’s word for it. Do your own research and be very skeptical of both extremes. The truth here, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.