Thursday, February 6, 2014

Obamacare -- Good News and Lies

Horrors!  The Congressional Budget Office report states that people are leaving their jobs because of Obamacare.  The champagne was overflowing yesterday as the republicans celebrated the proof of just how we lazy Americans would quickly begin to suck on the government teat when given cheap -- read "affordable" -- health insurance.

While employers have been twirling their mustaches and  threatening to let workers go if Obamacare was put into place, only some of us were aware of just how many of us have been stuck in jobs just so we could get health insurance.  And if our employer wasn't providing health insurance, we were stuck in badly paying jobs -- often more than one -- with horrendous hours and no benefits in an attempt to keep our heads above water without health insurance.

Well, fact is, now we have some options.  Some of us can quit our job to go back to school or train for better jobs.  Some of us can stay home to take care of our children or parents.  And some of us can quit jobs that were physically hurting us, many older people who were trapped until age 65 when they could be insured under Medicare.

All of the above absolutely infuriates those who have kept wages low because they always had a line of applicants willing to do anything to make ends meet.  Just listen to the whining from those who will now have to raise their standards if they want a work force.

Of course, it is a different story that is being put forth by the right wing, those corporate patsies who themselves have never had to worry about medical bills since they are graced with taxpayer covered insurance plans.  According to them, we suddenly have no work force.  People are bailing out so they can watch TV and drink margaritas, I guess.

In actual fact, the result of people choosing to leave their jobs is that jobs will be created for those who have been seeking employment.  We seem to be looking at a reduction in unemployment (and payment of unemployment benefits), a healthier and younger work force, and maybe even healthier retirees.

This is exactly why the right wing has been doing everything in its power to kill Obamacare before it could take a breath.  That is, because it works.  Suddenly the power base has somewhat shifted, and there is fear and loathing in corporate America.

But just as every progressive movement, from raising the minimum wage to the implementation of Social Security, has begun with wails and accusations of anti-Americanism, fist thumping and threats, this tantrum too shall pass.  As more people successfully enroll in health insurance, its opponents will search for other misinformation and attempts to scare us.  When it becomes apparent that in fact Americans are not quitting their jobs to live off the government, the muttering will turn to something else.

But the fact is that as more people are able to afford to be insured, more people are free to leave work for better jobs or to live healthier lives, fewer people will be on unemployment rolls, and employers will have to offer better wages, benefits and work conditions in order to staff their businesses.

And that's what is called a good start.

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