LOS ANGELES, October 4, 2013—The government shutdown is a direct conflict over the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Republicans want to fund the entire government except for this program. Democrats are willing to keep the entire government shut down rather than see Obamacare defunded.
Three years after passage, Obamacare remains a program reviled on the right.
Why? Why does this particular program enrage conservatives?
Some have advanced the racial motive. This theory is poisonous, and nobody advancing it deserves to have their views heard in any serious forum. Obamacare objections are policy based. President Obama is being treated exactly as John Kerry, Al Gore or Hillary Clinton would be advancing the same policy.
Others insist the breadth of hatred is overstated. Polls consistently show a majority of Americans against Obamacare. Not one poll ever gave Obamacare majority support. Yet many liberals insist the polls are misleading. Liberals claim that many people oppose Obamacare for not going far enough to a direct Canadian-style single-payer system. No evidence corroborates this assertion. Hardened opposition remains on the right.
Some claim the problem is one of marketing. Powerful right-wing forces funded by subversives from the Koch Brothers to Ronald Reagan’s ghost are spending money to defeat Obamacare.
Participation in the political process remains legal, and Obama has the world’s most powerful advertising agency. The White House bully pulpit is unmatched in its powerful ability to sell, market and advertise programs. Obama spent months speaking about his program before it was enacted. To this day he touts it as successful. The left claims (incorrectly) that Obama won reelection because of this program. It would be contradictory to say he successfully sold himself to voters based on this program and then turn around and criticize his salesmanship of Obamacare as insufficient.
Obama won reelection in spite of Obamacare. He ran from it, not on it. Trailing by four points after a disastrous first debate, he rebounded through a combination of hardball politics (demonizing Mitt Romney as a felon and murderer), a lapdog media (Candy Crowley rescuing him in the second debate) and incredibly good luck (a hurricane the week before the election). Obamacare was an albatross that cost him plenty of votes, just not enough to lose.
Obamacare is hated not because of racism, bad marketing, or poor salesmanship. It is hated because the product is defective. Critics hated it because of what they thought it would be. They still hate it because they are convinced their concerns have been proven right.
The Tea Party formed specifically to oppose Obamacare. Republican Scott Brown was elected in ultra-liberal Massachusetts specifically due to his opposing Obamacare. The Republicans now had 41 votes to filibuster and block the bill from becoming law. Rather than accept defeat, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi resorted to barely legal and ethically questionable parliamentary maneuvers to pass it under “reconciliation,” which required only 51 Senate votes instead of 60. The House then “deemed” the Senate bill passed without having to go to a conference committee. If President George W. Bush had tried this with a Republican Congress, liberals would have gone ballistic. A liberal Congress did, and the right went ballistic. It was dirty pool, an ends justify the means approach.
The 2010 elections were a referendum on Obamacare, and Obama took a “shellacking.” Yet he persisted. Democrats could have passed popular piecemeal programs such as portability and preexisting conditions legislation. They could have done a truly bipartisan bill with Republican ideas such as legal reform and selling across state lines. Obama’s hyper-partisan approach was to say “I won.”
Once the bill became law, promises Obama made were proven false. “If you like your doctor or your plan, you can keep it.” This is not true. People are currently receiving cancellation letters. Obama promised reduced costs, but it is impossible to give more of something to more people and have it cost less.
The individual mandate has the right in a frenzy. If the government can make people buy a product, where does the line stop?
Then there is the alleged corruption from inception to completion. Passing it required the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback. Now there are the waivers for Obama’s union allies. Members of Congress and their staff have waivers. Business was given a one year delay. This violates the basic notion of fairness Obama keeps talking about.
The idea of the IRS administering the law scares the daylights out of conservatives, especially in light of IRS abuses targeting conservatives for working within the political process to oppose it. Obama’s use of the full weight of his government to attack large swaths of citizens only deepened their mistrust and hardened their opposition. His attacking these people personally made it impossible for him to gain support when he needed it.
The program has been besieged by what the administration called “glitches.” Yet the administration had three years to prepare for implementation. This only validates those who believe government is a lumbering bureaucracy incapable of doing critical functions properly.
Obama promised to reduce costs, cover more people, and provide better care to a country where 85% of people had healthcare and were satisfied with it. He still does not cover the remaining 15%. Costs are rising for more people than are seeing reductions. Many businesses are reducing employees from 40 hours per week to 28 to avoid the mandate of covering any employee working 30 hours weekly. Other companies are just canceling insurance for all of their employees. Obamacare supporters have no answer to this problem.
Obamacare is a bad law. It was described deceitfully, enacted into law dishonestly, implemented inefficiently, and affecting far too many people adversely.
The bad outweighs the good, which is why a majority of people detest it.
Obamacare’s problem is Obamacare.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
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