Obamacare provides undeniable benefits: Republican opposition to Affordable Care Act borders on absurd
Conservatives have been making ridiculous comparisons between the Affordable Care Act and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
The Affordable Care Act has been a large source of controversy ever since its inception. Republican lawmakers have made it clear that they do not at all approve of the act, even going so far as to compare it to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
President Obama spoke at a community college in Maryland on Sept. 26 in order to address some of these inappropriate analogies.
“Over the past few weeks the rhetoric has just been cranked up to a place I’ve never seen before,” the President said.
As recently as last week, Republican commentator George Will said during an interview with NPR, “I mean, I hear Democrats say the Affordable Care Act is the law, as though we’re supposed to genuflect at that sunburst of insight and move on. Well, the Fugitive Slave Act was the law, separate but equal was the law—lots of things were the law and then we changed them.”
This comparison is incredibly unwarranted. A law that makes health care affordable for all Americans is in no way similar to laws that perpetuated the idea that a human being was property.
At an Americans for Prosperity gathering in September, Republican Rep. Bill O’Brien said that the law is “as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans.”
It should also be noted that David Koch, the mastermind behind the Tea Party movement, heavily funds the Americans for Prosperity group—a fact that perhaps makes it a little easier to believe that these words could be taken seriously, since the Tea Party has been known for making similarly absurd comparisons and claims.
O’Brien’s statement was also addressed by the President. He said, “I mean, these are quotes. I’m not making this stuff up.”
Obama made fun of another comment made by the always outspoken Rep. Michele Bachmann during his speech.
Several months ago, Bachmann said the Affordable Care Act has to be repealed “before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.”
The President said of this particular quote, “Now, I have to say, that one was from six months ago. I just want to point out we still have women, we still have children, we still have senior citizens. All this would be funny if it wasn’t so crazy.”
With all of the misleading information and comparisons, which are mostly being perpetuated by extreme conservatives, it is easy to lose sight of the real benefits of this law.
One of the most important provisions for students at Puget Sound is one that allows uninsured Americans to stay covered under their parents’ health care until the age of 26. Before this law, as soon as you turned 18 you would be removed from your parents’ plan and have no health insurance.
This provision alone gives coverage to more than 3 million Americans.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 62,000 of those 3 million Americans reside in Washington. That translates to real benefits for Puget Sound students and other young adults.
The main Republican response to the Affordable Care Act has mostly been claims that it will damage the economy, it will take away individual liberties, and that it is unconstitutional.
Although it is true that the Act will be expensive, the Congressional Budget Office has actually estimated that it will reduce the deficit over time.
The worry about individuals being forced to have health insurance is somewhat understandable; however, no one will be forced to go to a particular doctor or hospital.
Additionally, individuals may stay with their current health insurance provider.
The argument that the act is unconstitutional no longer makes sense since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare last year.
The majority of the claims being made by the GOP regarding the Affordable Care Act are unfounded and inappropriate. While there probably are some flaws in the law, the benefits of it cannot be ignored.
While Bachmann misused the word “literally” in her quote, in this case it is appropriate to say that the Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act is literally ridiculous.