While the media has been fixated this summer on lame titillating sex scandals, royal babies and the usual cornucopia of entertainment and legal distractions, The Affordable Care Act, AKA ObamaCare has been rolling towards implementation, while a group of devoted fanatical Tea Party idiots have been screaming as loud as they can to stop it.
Yet as evidence piles up that the health-care program, in states that are protesting its every inch forward, are seeing projected insurance rates for the plan for people buying insurance on their own will see savings of 50% off current insurance rates! Some states, such as Maryland also showed low insurance rates. A pattern has formed in which states that are willing to work the law are finding big advantages. Maryland has even shown that the post-ObamaCare rates will be among the lowest in the country.
When the facts aren’t on your side, what do you do?
Well FreedomWorks, one of the founding groups of Tea Party fanatics, has come up with a plan: empty symbolism! They are asking people who protest ObamaCare to burn their official “ObamaCare card”. Since there is no official ObamaCare card, or any card for that matter, and burning your actual insurance card seems crazy even to the Tea Party, they have designed a card that you can print out and make into a card so you can burn it.
This is supposed to, no doubt, evoke the image of the Vietnam War protesters in the sixties. Unfortunately, it’s not an apt comparison, since burning your draft card was not only a profound statement of your protest of the war, it was illegal and people could and did go to jail for doing so. The first of such protests sent a young Catholic pacifist, David Miller, to jail for 2 years! Currently, there is no law against burning a poorly designed facsimile of a symbolic card that doesn’t exist and this will likely remain unchanged. You can’t really pass a law against people engaging in a giant waste of time, paper and printer ink. This really takes the gusto out of this inept protest. My guess is that it will be seen that way by many of the less-than fanatic Tea Party devotees. I also suspect that after the first time they do this while the cameras are rolling, the amount of copycats will be predictably slim. Ther
e are plenty of dumb mindless conservatives out there, just not THAT many.
Yet there is a more sinister plan behind this totally pointless gesture. FreedomWorks and the Koch Brother’s Americans for Prosperity are attempting to convince young people not to comply with the program so that it will fail. Young people are needed to make the program work, just like Medicare and Social Security, the young and healthy subsidize the aged and sick. It’s really the entire concept of insurance because if everyone was sick, insurance would fail. Its entire concept is built on spreading money around to cover costs. If we had a Single-Payer system, all the money would stay in the health-care system, yet a private insurance system dolls out the remainder of the cash to investors.
Turning this into a protest is designed to appeal to youth. Never mind the fees twenty year-old folks will face and the lack of health-care. If the Koch Brothers get their way, that’s all that matters. Yet it really underscores how aged, wealthy and out-of-touch the Tea Party movement is with young people (well people in general but especially people under the age of 50). Making twenty-somethings print out a fake card to burn it is not something I can see anyone in their 20s doing with their spare time. Nor is getting involved in a symbolic protest over a law designed to maximize insurance coverage. Many get involved in politics, many are involved in protests, even symbolic ones, though there is a reason that the Tea Party has skewed aged, they don’t care about things young people care about. I can see some not being told what to do and the anti-war, anti-drug war stuff though has attracted a few to the Libertarian cause, yet this is not nearly as sexy as protesting the war or drug laws.
Also, since younger Americans are aware that they benefit quite well under Obamacare, and are generally as angry of the injustice of the health-care system as everyone else is, it seems like a desperate and foolish bet. Further more many in their early 20s will be covered until age 26 under their parent’s health care plan (thanks to ObamaCare), making the argument moot to them, and the vast majority of people get insurance through their job anyway and those who can’t afford it are eligible for Medicade or a waiver, it seems the pool of eligible protesters starts really small and can only get even smaller. If the Tea Party thinks young people are too stupid to see the utter pointlessness of this act, that it even in the end is a manipulation by cranky old Tea Party idiots, then they really think very little of young people, and it shows! Why do you think Romney lost so heavily with young people?
Yet further more, there are is little to attract anyone to protest Obamacare at all! Sure it isn’t single-payer, which so many people who disapprove of the law would like to see it replaced with (meaning they don’t think Obamacare goes nearly far enough) and many are pretty ho-hum about the whole thing one way or the other, but protesting in the streets? Nah! That just seems like wishful thinking into the lucid acid dream level of delusion.
The lack of evidence that the ACA is failing has lead the TP lot to manufacture stories, like the laughable fantasy by former Mitt Romney adviser, Avik Roy, wrote a piece (that was ripped to shreds, even by Forbes!) who claimed that insurance rates will go up by as much as 146%… for 25 year old males who have no existing health care problems, prior medical history or come from a family who with no major health care risks (ie: Cancer, heart disease, genetic disease). Yet even then the numbers were manufactured, taken from the “as low as” number given by a website that sells insurance and is clearly subject to change as you input all that, ya know, basic information. That’s really reaching and underscores the dishonesty of the anti-ObamaCare folks, especially since many of these 25 year old males again will still be eligible to stay on their parent’s health-care till age 26, thanks to ObamaCare!
Many of the Red States have been
resisting as many of the ACA changes that they can. Texas, which has one of the highest number of uninsured and poor, has gone out of its way to resist a Federally paid increase in Medicade eligibility that covers many of the poor who can’t afford health insurance. Why? Well it isn’t about the state budget since it comes from the Federal budget. It’s about the principle. The principle to tell poor people to suck it. Yet leaving people with no insurance costs the tax payers of Texas millions of dollars in emergency room bills and no doubt spreads disease due to neglect of preventive care to people who have insurance, driving the cost of insurance up for everyone in the state.
The sad thing about the conservatives who oppose Obamacare is that the train wreck they have been warning about is not materializing. So they chose to focus on the businesses that are eventually going to be forced to provide health-care to their full-time employees. This is 1% of the country yet met stiff resistance from corporate restaurant chains, movie theatres and retail chains. Why? Because they will have to eat it, unlike much of the food in these places like Papa John’s or Applebee’s. You can’t just pick up your restaurant or store and ship it overseas. So they cried and cried endlessly until the Obama Administration pushed it back a year so the focus on Obamacare can be on the actual Obamacare part of the law, which silenced that argument into an ‘anticipation of the law is causing uncertainty’ nonsense. In other words, the economy is slow because of Obamacare argument. Yet good news on the economy continue to disprove this and the real loss of jobs has come from government employees furloughed or laid off due to the Republican’s Sequester and push for cuts. When they claimed the GOP was going to be about “jobs, jobs, jobs” I’ll bet you never guessed it was about laying off government workers, did you.
They have made any and every claim you can imagine. Job losses, slowing the economy, death panels increased rates and the more recent excuses that the IRS will read your medical records and laugh or whatever. None of them are true, some were even recently Mythbusted.
That has left little real argument against Obamacare then pure old fashioned politics as usual. They still harp on personal responsibility, yet tried to argue that making health insurance similar to car insurance was not personal responsibility, rather, you have a choice to let yourself die if you want. Problem with that is, nobody ever chooses that in the end. They go to the emergency room and the taxpayer picks up the tab. What about a business owners right to screw over his employees? Whole Foods founder, John Mackey , tried to claim that companies can do it better on their own, even though being left completely alone has led to the horrible system we have today! The funniest part though was that his grand vision of a health care system involved high-deductible insurance plans (like the ones he offers his employees) that are nearly useless unless you have a catastrophic accident, and his preventive care solution involved people eating more of the “healthy” food at Whole Foods. Can’t afford health insurance? No problem, just go out and buy more organic vegetables. Kind of runs contrary to the Probesity libertarian argument the Tea Party was trying to push against ObamaCare in the first place, doesn’t it? You don’t need insurance, just take perfect care of yourself and if you don’t that’s your right but when you get sick you better stay home and take it so the good, honest taxpayer doesn’t have to pay for it?
Hmmm. Not exactly a good plan.
That’s been the real problem with the Tea Party and the current Republican Party. They have no plans, or ideas or anything. They are also as trusting of wealth corporate people as communists are of everyone. The Founding Father’s believed in checks and balances. They guys just believe in hate. They hate (insert whoever or whatever here) so much that even though there is (insert problem here) they oppose (insert bill that helps fight problem here). Yet when asked what to do about (insert problem here) they have no idea what to do, so they blame (insert whoever or whatever here).
Defining yourself by what you are not can only work for a while, sooner or later, you have to provide a vision for the future. Compassionate conservatism was such a vision that existed because conservatism tends to be devoid of positive changes, visions or plans. Today it is a symbol of everything the Tea Party hates… compassion.
That is why the Tea Party has become so unpopular, losing half of its support from 2010 by this January and there has been no resurgence since. When their big ideas involve blindly protesting a program they barely seem to understand by making a symbolic gesture that is laughably pointless, I suspect that the only change coming to the Tea Party in the future is its inevitable abandonment.