The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. Multiple times as the legislation was being discussed and in several instances after it passed, President Obama emphasized that the health care law had flaws and was merely a starting point to get the U.S. moving in the right direction where health care for all was concerned.
In a Florida speech shortly before Election 2016, President Obama once again acknowledged the ACA as imperfect and the need for a bipartisan effort to improve it. He said:
‘Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. No law is. And it’s true that a lot of the noise around the health care debate, ever since we tried to pass this law, has been nothing more than politics. But we’ve also always known — and I have always said — that for all the good that the Affordable Care Act is doing right now — for as big a step forward as it was — it’s still just a first step. It’s like building a starter home — or buying a starter home. It’s a lot better than not having a home, but you hope that over time you make some improvements.’
Being the humble man he is, Obama even shared that there had already been tweaks to the law:
‘And in fact, since we first signed the law, we’ve already taken a number of steps to improve it. And we can do even more — but only if we put aside all the politics rhetoric, all the partisanship, and just be honest about what’s working, what needs fixing and how we fix it.’
Unfortunately, despite how transparent President Obama has been about the ACA over the years, Donald Trump and his Republican stable of “yes” people, campaigned and went into office on the primary platform of repealing and replacing the ACA. Without offering a truly viable replacement, the GOP’s basis for wanting to repeal the ACA was quickly revealed for what it was — a witch hunt against the Obama administration.
To that end, however, aside from Republicans’ disdain for Obama for reasons that somehow always seem to go back to nothing more than his skin color, it’s often hard to decipher what the GOP offers as their official reason for hating the ACA. To help unpack this hatred, New York Times writer Paul Krugman, offered some context in his Friday column.
Before jumping into the background and going back to the early days of the ACA, Krugman reminded anyone who may not be sure, why President Obama’s health care law wasn’t repealed. Quite simply, it’s a good thing. Krugman says:
‘Why did Obamacare survive? The shocking answer: It’s still here because it does so much good. Tens of millions have health coverage — imperfect, but far better than none at all — thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Millions more rest easier knowing that coverage will still be available if something goes wrong — if, for example, they lose their employer-sponsored plan or develop a chronic condition.’
Some will argue that anti-Obama sentiment wasn’t/isn’t the reason people hate the ACA, those people aren’t being honest with themselves, or others. Groups like FreedomWorks and Fox News laid a solid foundation that would make uninformed people who now benefit the most from the ACA, be against something they’ve long needed.
Why did people believe the lies? Krugman offers a plausible explanation for that, too:
‘The answer, I believe, comes down to a combination of identity politics and affinity fraud. For generations, conservatives have conditioned many Americans to believe that safety-net programs are all about taking things away from white people and giving stuff to minorities.’
The Affordable Care Act hasn’t been a system of “taking things away from white people and giving stuff to minorities,” and from coast to coast the number of Caucasians who protested to keep the ACA reminds that Republicans’ race-baiting scare tactics are as silly as they are false. Therefore, perhaps more than any other reason, the GOP hates the ACA because not so deep down, they knew/know that it was such a good thing that if they openly supported and helped cultivate it into something great, they’d be admitting that their “the blacks are creating a welfare state in America,” scare tactic was rooted in the hate and racism that has infested America for centuries.
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