Thursday, May 28, 2015

Killing Obamacare

I am outraged by assaults by the republicans on abortion rights and voting rights, but these are issues that are not personally going to affect me.  What I am personally concerned about these days is all the efforts that are going into killing Obamacare, still.  The latest assaults could well succeed.

Antonin Scalia, narcissist extraordinaire and the mouthpiece most damaging to the honor and credibility of the Supreme Court, is the most likely nail in the coffin of the Affordable Care Act.  He believes that in looking at legislation, intent should not be considered, even if it is verifiable.  The only consideration should be the exact words in the law.  Unless, that is, it goes against his own belief of what the law should be.

In this case, the whole of Obamacare is resting in the four words, "established by the state."  Despite the fact that no one involved in the debate or writing of the law believes that the intent was to exclude those states who refused to create an insurance exchange, Scalia will hold forth with the claim that those words are in the bill and must be followed.

Now that the ACA is the law of the land, and people have become very happy with having affordable insurance, the republican party is being a bit more sneaky about killing it.  They have already come up with an alternative that would continue the ACA until 2017, but only if the individual and employer mandates are discontinued.  Those extremists who believe tax subsidies should only go to wealthy corporations are proposing tax credits rather than subsidies.  So basically, if your income is so low you pay no taxes, voila, no tax credit.

Because I turn 65 in 2016, and it seems even the rabid republicans can't kill Medicare in that short a time, I let go a sigh of relief to hear that I could still have insurance even if Scalia gets his way.  But that doesn't make the problem a lesser one.  Killing the mandate kills the funding for the ACA.  What the republicans understand is that Obamacare only works if everyone participates.  And what they also understand is that most voters are mostly concerned with what affects them immediately.  They will be angry if they lose their insurance coverage.  But if the republicans can blame Obama and the Democrats, which they have done successfully for some time now, it is a win-win for them.  They can continue to be the anti-tax party and the freedom party.

What they understand all too well is that people don't care about health insurance until it affects them.  That is why forcing insurance companies to offer better plans only matters to those who had inadequate insurance that they needed.  Those who didn't need it are quite loud and angry about having to pay more for what amounts to better insurance.  And some that are quite stupid will yell about paying more even when they use that better coverage.

I worry about what the Supremes will decide in June.  As should we all.  Because I might be okay till I turn 65, but my kids might not.  They might end up having the same vulnerability to illness that too many of us Americans experienced up until Obamacare was passed.  It was a terrifying time, and the republicans, frankly, don't give a damn.  They can turn our fear and tragedy to votes.

What we can do at this point, is be educated about this.  And inform others.  Keep an eye on the Supremes, and be willing and ready to fight our South Carolina legislators, both state and federal, to preserve affordable health care.

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