To the Editor:
The drumbeat of complaints about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) from the political right wing leave me a bit mystified. The cries of creeping socialism and government takeover of medical care either mark the duplicity of those making such claims or demonstrate a very low opinion of the intelligence of the public they serve.
So why is the ruckus about the ACA blatant hypocrisy? Many of the core ideas in the ACA were in the plan developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation and later applied in Mitt Romney’s health plan in Massachusetts.
A consistent complaint about Obamacare is the mandate to purchase coverage. We live with all kinds of mandates with little complaint. The state mandates that we have liability insurance if we own a car. Haven’t had an accident? Doesn’t matter. The bank mandates that we have insurance if we borrow money to buy a home or car.
The government mandates that we pay taxes for Social Security and Medicare as well as a host of other government functions.
The most ridiculous complaint is that the program is socialistic. Under socialism, the government would provide the insurance, own the clinics and hospitals and hire the doctors directly. Obamacare has none of this.
We do have programs that feature some of these elements, however. Medicare is a single-payer plan where the government provides the insurance but doesn’t own the hospitals or hire the doctors. Social Security is a form of insurance that is financed by the government through tax contributions.
Ironically, the closest we have to a socialist type medical system is the Veteran’s Administration, where the government provides the funds, owns the clinics and hospitals and hires the doctors.
So what is all of the fuss about? The actual game has been obvious since Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make Barack Obama a one-term president — and failed. It’s about blocking all of the president’s initiatives, even shutting down the government at one point.
If these complaints about Obamacare were based on real conservative principles, the U.S. House of Representatives would be voting to cancel or privatize Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Veterans Administration. Otherwise, the objections about the ACA are simply political posturing.