Affordable Care Act saga has turned America into a banana republic
You can take it with a grain of salt or you can take it with a helping of sugar, but whichever way you take the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the government shutdown which accompanied it, it’s hard to walk away without a bitter taste in your mouth.
Is there anyone reading (or breathing) who believes President Barack Obama would not have preferred universal healthcare for all? Since not, we have to conclude that the watered-down gift to corporate America that is the ACA was itself a compromise of some sort by the President. This was the product of a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic Executive (no compromise necessary) which required that everyone buy into the corporate health insurance industry. This begs the question: If not the Republicans, with whom did the President compromise? After all, Americans prefer universal healthcare to our current employer-based system 62 to 32 percent, according to an ABC poll. Where was the political pressure? You can think of your own scenario, but I like to imagine Cigna and Blue Cross/Blue Shield lobbyists with scissors hacking away at the bill grunting with pleasure.
And yet even this sad, ugly mutant of a healthcare law had to be bloodied some more before the torture ended. Between an entire wave election propelled by Obamacare in which the Republicans took the House in 2010, and literally shutting the government down, I tried to remain faithful.
Yes, I defended the bill even as my hours were limited at both of my jobs because of it. Yes, I desperately grasped for straws trying to explain the nuances of a bill I never quite understood. Yes, I stood in stalwart indignation as the Republicans threatened to shut down the Federal government for political points in their gerrymandered districts. And then on Oct. 1 when the ACA was launched, I came to face what I had known all along: The entire system is broken. What was perhaps most striking in this entire ordeal was the overwhelming feeling that politics in post-9/11 America isn’t working out anymore.
Yes, folks, when your “richest country in the world” can’t decide whether it wants the same basic humanitarian services as every other industrialized nation on earth.
When your “land of the free” locks up more citizens per capita than any country on the planet.
When senior Senators are playing online poker during hearings over whether to go to war or not.
When your President is trotted in front of the American people to say “the product is good” about a law (or anything for that matter) relating to healthcare.
When your government is shut down to prevent a “takeover” by a government-run website designed by corporate lobbyists that ends up not working, you are living in a Banana Republic. And not the kind with the breezy polos.