To the nation’s detriment


“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result…..”

So, yesterday our fearless congressman voted yet again for the repeal of Obamacare. That was the 38th such House vote to repeal. Votes to replace? Nada.

As the time for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act comes closer, the right wing voices become ever more shrill. They understand that once people become accustomed to its benefits, they will no longer believe the wild-eyed accusations of those who oppose it. Social Security did not destroy our country. Medicare did not destroy our country.

Rather, these strengthen us and our communities. Still, when lies are repeated often enough, people come to accept it as truth. It remains a lie.

For example, I remember 2008 and 2009, when most Americans wanted something done to make healthcare more accessible and to reduce trips to the Emergency Department. In 2008 the Tea Party was formed in protest of the bank bailouts. In no time, with clever manipulation and much money spent, well-intentioned people became convinced that what they really opposed was universal health care.

(Remember the rude and raucous shouting whenever anyone tried to explain the bill?) How many times have you heard (and believed) rants about the bill being written in secret (evidently hoping to conflate Hillary’s health care attempt in 1993, which was mostly in private, with Obamacare, which held televised public hearings on C-Span every day for nearly a year.) And some fell for it.

And how about, “nobody has read it and nobody knows what’s in it.” In fact, it was and still is posted on the government’s web site for anyone who is interested. It took me several hours to read it then, but today you can read a multi-page summary in about an hour or so. If you really cared to know what’s in it.

“It was rammed down our throats, behind closed doors, in the dead of night.” No, that was Medicare Part D. In the bipartisan committee meetings, Republicans offered 168 amendments, with well over half of them approved by a majority vote.

I thought we should have single-payer, or at least a public option, giving folks the chance to buy into a Medicare-type program. This idea was quickly dropped to appease the Republicans. When the final bill was brought up, 99 of 100 senators voted on the bill. Only Sen. Bunning of Kentucky did not vote. Does that sound like it was sneaked through in secret?

Of the 435 representatives in the House, 431 voted on the bill. Does that sound like it was a big secret? The bill passed with a majority vote, but not a single Republican voted in favor. The only real objection seemed to be that it had “too many pages.”

Because they did not get their way, the right wing now insists that they “had no input.” Yet they had very public input. I remember the hearings, in which Sen. Kyl said he didn’t want insurance to cover maternity care because he didn’t need it. To which Sen. Stabenow replied, “I’ll bet your mother did.”

Then there was Sen. Grassley, fretting about “dead people collecting Medicaid benefits.” Evidently he did not understand how Medicaid works. (Living or dead, no patient “collects” benefits from Medicaid.)

My point is that there was plenty of input from both sides and the resulting bill was a compromise, which Republicans still could not support because their leaders made an agreement among themselves on Inauguration Day, 2009, that they would say “No” to all of Obama’s initiatives, even if it would benefit the country. They have kept that vow, to the detriment of our nation.

Lola Johnson