Friday, March 21, 2014

Death to the Death to Obamacare Bill

Amid the flurry of anti-abortion legislation making its distasteful way through the South Carolina House and Senate, there was the Obamacare Nullification bill.  I am happy to say that this week the bill died in the Senate.

There has been so much hot air about the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid Expansion in particular, that it was a pleasant surprise to see so many Republicans bail on it.  I wondered why, and came up with a few ideas.

It seems that the prevalent opinion is that amendments were added that were so icky even some original supporters could no longer back it.  For example, the bill took on an amendment that would forbid anyone in government from helping someone sign onto Obamacare.  It placed such burdensome restrictions on the Navigators -- mostly volunteers -- who help people sign up for health care, that it would likely end the navigation program, which was certainly its intent.  Such additions were so extreme that the Obama administration would likely have immediately pursued a lawsuit.

Another thought I had is that of late there has been a lot of attention focused on this bill, particularly the Medicaid Expansion part of it.  From The Daily Show interview of a Haley lackey ("So your state can't afford to pay 0 dollars?") to a bombardment of facts that made it clear that not accepting government funding for Medicaid was just dumb.  The end-runs Haley et al tried to do in order to say that they had an alternative to Medicaid were all costly and far less effective.

And we had our Truthful Tuesday activists in Columbia, each week, refusing to let this happen quietly in the Senate chambers.  Carrying signs, talking to Senators, and even being arrested in an act of civil disobedience by blocking the roadway to the Statehouse.  Not just once, but each week.  Making news.  And I believe that the knowledge that this was not going to go away may have made some of our legislators just a bit more reasonable.

Finally, it just might be that a few of our legislators are taking advantage of some of the aspects of the Affordable Care Act themselves.  Even access to contraceptives.  Certainly the abolishment of the pre-existing condition clauses that kept so many people from getting health insurance, or thrown off a plan when they needed it most.  And maybe a few legislators have kids under age 26 who are now on the family plan.

I wouldn't go overboard and say that more legislators are seeing the light as far as providing health care to the poor, but at least where they have something to gain, it looks like Obamacare just may be here for awhile.  Even in South Carolina.

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