Obamacare: Grumbling is not enough


It is amazing how fast momentum can shift in politics. And it usually happens for reasons that could not have been predicted.

Case in point: only a month ago, the reckless shutdown of the federal government left its engineers -- the tea party and the Republican Party -- weakened, and the president and Democrats energized and with the wind at their back.

And beyond Washington, the people's movement in the shutdown's wake was energized too.

But this newly acquired momentum turned out to be far more momentary than most anticipated, myself included. In fact, it lasted only a few days. Why? Because Republicans seized the opportunity provided by the big problems with the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act. They were all over it, with the help of compliant corporate media.

Literally, overnight the atmosphere changed for the worse. President Obama and Democrats, rather than riding a wave, found themselves on the defensive. And the Republicans' shutdown disaster became a distant memory.

Now, if the health insurance exchanges are running smoothly by the end of the year, as they appear to be in many states, much of the furor will die out. But if they aren't, Obamacare will be turned by the far right into a metaphor for "broken government" and the prospects of unseating Republicans in Congress and statehouses next fall will become problematic.

Which means that grumbling about the problems of the health care rollout heard in some progressive and left circles needs to give way to actively resisting the right wing's campaign to kill Obamacare and regain the initiative leading into the midterm and 2016 elections.

With all its shortcomings, Obamacare is a step in the right direction; it extends health care - a social right - to millions who up to now have none, and partially curbs the power of the health care industry, while its defeat would set back the struggle for health care for all much longer than I would care to think. That's why the far right is fighting it so hard!

Thus, energizing, uniting, and raising the understanding of ever more people to oppose right-wing extremism in every arena of struggle - not least of which is defense of the Affordable Health Care Act - is the order of the day.

Of critical importance in this regard is the fight against racism in its material and ideological forms. Racism was the main vehicle used to bust up the New Deal coalition and fuel the ascendancy of the right wing over the past three or more decades. By the same token, the struggle against it is at the core of building a movement with the ideological, political, and organizational capacity and unity to dislodge the right and usher in an era of deep going progressive, even radical, change.

Photo: A nurse vaccinates a child. Centers for Disease Control/Wikimedia Commons


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  • The hand wringing by the right is unfounded. Treatment costs for the uninsured costs far more than actually providing them a source to find subsidized coverage that they will pay something.

    Posted by Ed Hodges, 12/23/2013 8:03pm (2 years ago)

  • How amazing that the Communists are perfectly aligned with 0bama's strategies! Glad they recognize that the TEA "Party" is strong……….because we the people are.

    Posted by The Scarlet Pimpernel, 12/03/2013 8:48am (2 years ago)

  • Really? At the end of the day your only defense is the other side is racist. I cannot tell you how offensive that is. If that is all you have as a defense then you have a losing argument. Why, pray tell, is it racist to want the federal government to stay the h€ll out of my personal health care choices? We have been informed that due to Obamacare changes will be coming in our health care plan, you know the one Obama promised repeatedly, that we could keep, period? The company is going to have to find a way to cut expenses in health care because since they are a responsible company that provides health insurance, they now have to pay $63. per covered employee in a new Obamacare tax. Get that? The company is taxed, not because they do not provide insurance but because they do! This makes no sense whatsoever. This is going to set up a two tiered system. High cost, high deductible insurance with less access to doctors and hospitals for most Americans while the Congress, federal employees and the very wealthy will have access to a better system. Why could the Democrats just have helped the15% of Americans who didn't have coverage instead of blowing up the entire system that 85% of Americans had coverage in??? Hubris at work. "They know best what coverage we need" not American adults. Spit.

    Posted by Texannbpdmburton, 12/02/2013 11:59am (2 years ago)

  • A Republican/right wing victory on this item would be a disaster. However, the ACA is just the first step. It gives health insurance coverage to about half of the 50 million or so people who did not have access to health care financing pre-ACA. That must not be lost. However, there are still another 20 to 25 million who are not covered. These include many immigrants: Undocumented ones, "guest workers", and "legal" immigrants who have been in the country for fewer than 5 years. ACA does not allow undocumented immigrants to buy policies on the exchanges, even with their own money; they would have to buy private insurance policies which in some cases cost more than the buyer's entire annual household income. This is a threat not only to the people thus excluded but also, in public health terms, to their relatives, neighbors, schoolmates, relatives and co-workers. While we fight to defend what was achieved by ACA we must uphold the principle of coverage for all, for the sake of justice and public health, and continue to fight for all to be covered one way or another.

    Posted by Emile Schepers, 11/30/2013 11:14pm (2 years ago)

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