Obamacare is a conservative idea, still Republicans in congress chose obstruction rather than trying to make it better.
I have two very good friends who are Republicans. We have many things in common, but clearly politics isn’t one of them. I’m a teacher, so for the near future, health care isn’t at the top of my list of worries (it might be in five years, but that’s another story). However, they’re both small business owners and health care is one of their major concerns. Obamacare may legitimately and significantly impact their immediate and long term plans, so it’s appropriate for them to want a better health care system. Anger over Obamacare is legitimate in their case.
My one friend has a business that is dependent on other businesses. Agriculture businesses, according to him, are particularly susceptible to complexities in the Affordable Care Act, and he does a lot business with them. Therefore, he has legitimate concerns. However, his dislike for President Obama began before his inauguration and Obamacare has only added fuel to the fire. My other friend is a lawyer who employs more than 50 people, and he also has concerns.
Recently, due to a article concerning FOX News and Obamacare that I posted on Facebook, and the ensuing banter, I had a revelation – my friends and other Republicans have every right to be mad – but their anger over Obamacare is misdirected. Republicans should be mad, but not with President Obama, who ran on a platform that included health care reform. And not with Democrats in the House and Senate, who also made no secret of their desires. Clearly the left side of the aisle had no secret plans when it came to health care.
No, their beef is with their own representatives. Despite wanting a single-payer plan, President Obama and Democrats moved towards the right when they adopted the individual mandate and private health care exchanges, which were conservative ideas and the basis for Romneycare in Massachusetts. The thought was that by adopting measures conceived and implemented by conservatives, there was a good chance that there might actually be some bipartisan agreement and healthcare reform might become a reality.
Then, for some reason (or reasons), the right began to vilify the very ideas they had originated. They began arguing the individual mandate was unconstitutional, and refused to participate in any significant debates as long as it was on the table. Again, it was a conservative idea, so why the change of mind?
Well, could it be that they were afraid that Democrats would actually be able to deliver on a campaign promise? Were they more concerned about political scorekeeping than doing what was right for Americans? I don’t know how else to see it. And if that’s truly the case, it’s sad that one of the two national parties would decline the opportunity to be part of history in order to derail what they perceived as a victory for the Democrats.
The federal government had the chance to craft a system of health care that would ensure coverage for most if not all Americans and reduce the costs that comes with millions of uninsured. And the Republicans were trying to prevent it by denying their own ideas!
Republicans in the Senate and House refused to do their job. They refused to take part in the most far-reaching and ambitious governmental program of the past 50 years. Presidents since FDR tried to reform health care in America, and failed. And now Democrats in the White House and the Capitol were using conservative ideals to make it a reality – and it kinda forced Republicans to fight against it. Did they have legitimate concerns? I’m positive they did. Could their ideas have made the Affordable Care Act better for individuals and businesses? We’ll never know, since they didn’t participate in any constructive manner.
So, should Republicans be mad about Obamacare? You bet. Should they be angry with President Obama and Democrats in either house of Congress? Absolutely not – they were just doing what they were elected to do. Republicans, however, were not. They were elected to help create and pass laws that were consistent with their constituents and conservative ideals.
The Affordable Care Act ended up adopting conservative concepts that Republicans should have embraced. Their input could very well have alleviated some of the concerns of my two conservative friends. But to use a poker idiom, the right decided to bet on a strategy of obstruction and destruction.
The Tea Party raised the stakes and tried to take it to the Supreme Court. And then led by Senator Ted Cruz, they went all in, putting all their chips into the “defund Obamacare” pot. They put everything at risk when they were holding a busted straight. They let down their constituents, they let down their districts, they let down their states, and they let down their country. Be angry my friends, but direct your anger where it belongs.