Affordable care and the progressive dilemma

Not everyone on the left is happy about the ACA Photo: HHSgov

SANTA CRUZ, October 30, 2013 — The myriad problems with the online roll out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are now well documented. Crashing servers along with an ambiguous layout and navigation menu have left thousands unable to purchase health insurance and unsure how to proceed. Those on the right have used these initial hiccups as an opportunity to reiterate that the ACA is a poorly executed bad idea, while Democrats have used the early overload of the system as proof that Americans are clamoring in droves to use it.

Even if the ACA had launched without a hitch, it is important to note that not every progressive American is a fan. There appears to be a sentiment among Republicans that progressive Americans will fall in lockstep with any Democratic President, supporting their decisions and championing their platforms. This is view is erroneous, particularly in regards to the tenuous relationship many on the left have with President Obama. 

The President has enjoyed varying degrees of progressive support, particularly as a candidate in 2008, but much of it was grudging, as so many progressives mistakenly fell victim to the lesser of two evils theory, wherein they vote for a Democrat only because they find the Republican nominee slightly more odious. The majority of these progressives probably have more in common with the Green Party but, due to lack of coverage, they were never exposed to its candidates or platform. Left with the false perception that they must vote for a Democrat or not vote at all, thousands of progressives helped elect and then reelect President Obama.

One of the Green Party’s key values is a single payer health care delivery system. Countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden all have some form of single payer, wherein citizens receive cradle to grave health care free of charge through a publicly funded system. Health care is delivered without health management organizations (HMOs) or co-pays and citizens never have to worry about receiving adequate care. Conversely, 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of health care coverage and over sixty percent of personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs.

For thousands of progressives, the issues with the ACA are not the shaky launch or the website navigation. The true progressive sees the ACA for what it really is: a streamlined path to compulsory allegiance to the current, broken for-profit system. Progressive Americans believe that to truly reform health care delivery in this country, a real overhaul is necessary. The ACA is just more of the same and it will not correct any of the moral or systemic flaws which have placed America thirty-seventh in the world in health care. 

Single payer is a big step, especially in a political climate as volatile as ours. Followers of the curious Tea Party movement have decried the ACA as socialism and tyranny. If a slightly reorganized for-profit model is socialism to these people, imagine their horror if confronted with a totally free system! It may take time to institute single payer nationwide. Canada’s single payer system began in Saskatchewan before spreading province to province. Currently, Vermont has passed America’s first single payer, medicare for all legislation which will become state law in the next few years. If successful, Vermont’s model could be duplicated in other states. Change is not always easy, but it is often necessary. 

SEE RELATED: Sebelius takes the Obamacare blame: Reactions in the press

To cement his executive legacy, President Obama has wasted massive amounts of time and money to craft and advocate for a flawed piece of legislation that does little to fix the problems endemic to American health care over the last 25 years. Had he truly wanted to transform health care and help Americans, he would have championed a single payer model. Why settle for affordable care when it could be free?



Russ Rankin writes about hockey, music & politics. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He also sings for Good Riddance and Only Crime. Find out what he’s up to by checking out his website.


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Russ Rankin

Raised in the decidedly non-traditional hockey region of Santa Cruz, California, Russ Rankin fell in love with the game as a kid while watching the "Miracle On Ice" 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He began playing recreationally as an adult when the Sharks joined the NHL in nearby San Jose and regularly attends Sharks home games. His favorite NHL team is the New Jersey Devils, which he has been following since the 1987-88 season. In 2007, with more and more U.S. born players (particularly from California) making an impact in the WHL, Rankin pursued his passion and knowledge of the game into a job scouting California for WHL clubs. He can be seen at rinks all over the state searching for the next great crop of players.

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