Sunday, March 25, 2012

ACA: Why We Have to Defend It, Despite Its Flaws

Yesterday I watched You Tube video of a Tea Party rally that happened in Washington two years ago. It was pretty disgusting for me to be reminded again of the absolute fury these people were in over the prospect of the then-pending health care bill passing in Congress. Disgusting and frightening. And both from the images of this mob of 98 percent white, many overstuffed fellow citizens tromping around Washington hollering about the perfidy of the health care bill. Which, as we know, passed. And which will be before the Supreme Court of the US beginning tomorrow for three days of arguments as to its constitutionality. When push comes to shove, I have to stand up for this law. Despite my considerable misgivings about it.

Right here you'll find an excellent article* that reminds all of us progressives who were bitterly disappointed at what the health care bill lacked, as well as the advantages to Big Pharma and the health insurance colossus that were built into it, why the law is something we should be defending much more vigorously than a lot of us are. (I must plead guilty for being one of those progressives. You can read my most recent blast on the ACA here. It does an excellent job of pointing out all of the non-progressive aspects of the law.) Here, succinctly, are the major points we should remember about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)--it's full and proper name. ("Obamacare" is a Republican slur that the party has succeeded in turning into a dismissive synonym for it.). The law, we're reminded:
  • "expands access to medical care and health insurance to more than 30 million low- and middle-income Americans; 
  • imposes much of the cost on affluent individuals and businesses; 
  • terminates longstanding practices by parts of the private insurance industry that victimized millions of sick Americans even after they’d paid premiums for decades; 
  • elevates health and prevention as a priority; 
  • launches the most comprehensive set of initiatives and experiments to date to restrain both government and private-sector expenditures on medical care and claw back inefficient spending to help pay for widening access."
 The article is well worth reading because it helps explain why it is so savagely opposed and why it is worth defending. It also points out that from little acorns large oaks grow, i.e., growth of both Social Security and Medicare from their origins. It does not advance the argument that anything that so pisses off the Right as this law does cannot be bad by definition. But I will.

*The piece is in large part a discussion of a new book on the evolution of the ACA by Paul Starr, Remedy and Reaction.
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