Although I stayed offline this weekend (to spend much needed time with my family after a nearly two-week series of business trips), I did share Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times op/ed “Governing by Blackmail” on my Facebook. The post sparked a vibrant if not always civil discussion of the Affordable Care Act and the republicans’ current strategy to stymie it. Here’s the thread on my Facebook and the following is what I wrote in response.
Above: When our daughter Lila Jane was born ten weeks ago, no health care insurer in Texas (where we live) offered maternity care to small business owners like me who have to insure their families as private individuals. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the health care insurers will be forced to offer maternity coverage. The ACA also protects my daughers’ health rights by forcing insurers to stop discriminating against women. One person’s “lazy” is another person’s “common sense.”
I’m glad to see and welcome discussion here (although it would be great if we could keep the tone civil, especially in the light of the fact that this is a place for family and friendship).
I shared the link to Kristof’s op/ed because I think it’s a cogent argument for why the shut down is counter productive.
And as much as it may be a bitter pill to swallow, I have to say that it’s simply wrong to say that President Obama is causing the shutdown. A small contingent of extremist Republicans are the ones who set the shutdown into motion. That’s a fact.
And it’s also a fact that they planned this political maneuver many months ago. And it’s also wrong to say that President Obama is refusing to negotiate. The fact is that democratic legislators (with Obama as their political leader) have refused to budge on an indisputable issue: the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.
It has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States of America and the government cannot not fund it. It’s the law. Whether or not you agree with or support the ACA, you cannot dispute that fact.
If the republican party wants to change the law, that’s its prerogative. But it’s not employing a legislative means (in part because those means have been exhausted by the supreme court ruling).
In the wake of the DOMA ruling by the court, Republican senator John Cornyn of (our state of) Texas said this: “Like it or not, the Supreme Court in our system is the final word on constitutional matters. Somebody said at one point, said the Supreme Court is not final because it’s always right, it’s right because it’s final.” (Here’s the link http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php…)
The fact is that with legislative means no longer available, these politicians are using political maneuvering to try to block its funding. And as in love, in politics all is fair. That’s the nature of politics and that’s the nature of our political system.
Having said the above, I believe that the “missing link” here (excuse the pun) is that for the one side, the ACA is an economic issue. More than once in this thread, people have pointed out that they are worried about having to pay for “lazy people’s health care.”
For me, the issue is not a financial one. It’s a moral issue. I believe that the government should provide a rationally structured assistance to the impoverished and the disenfranchised.
Whether the impoverished and disenfranchised are “lazy” is a question for another time and place.
My personal beliefs, my values, and my religious faith align when I say that it is our moral obligation and human duty to care for those among us who cannot care for themselves. (Where have I heard that before?)
Lastly, in addressing the practical “on the ground” application of the ACA, I feel compelled to report that the ACA is extremely beneficial to me and my family (I think that my friend Jon Erickson finds himself in the same situation).
As “very” small business owners, we don’t have the opportunity to buy into the current “retail” health care exchanges. And we have to insure our families (and we both have young children) as private individuals, paying the highest rates.
The ACA will help me AND it will protect the health rights of my children. Call me “lazy” if you like. On a purely personal and selfish level, I am thrilled about the ACA because it impacts me directly and it — I believe — will create a better and more humane America for my children.
Had Tracie P delivered Lila Jane after the implementation of the ACA, we would have had maternity care available to us. No commercial health care insurer in Texas offers maternity insurance. After the implementation of the ACA, they will be forced to. Yes, it means that the big insurers will lose some of their profits.
But it also means that “lazy” parents like me and Tracie will have less of a financial burden, especially in the case of dire medical needs during child birth.
Sadly, so many of the people who oppose the ACA and who support the extreme means that the republican party has employed to block it are the very same people who will benefit greatly from its implementation.
There’s a lot more to say on these issues. But it’s 7 a.m. and Sesame Street is almost over and it’s time for me to make breakfast for my daughter while my wife and my other daughter sleep in. In another hour, I’ll set about my work day. It’s time to put this issue away for now. Thanks for reading and thanks for caring…