Disability Appeals in North Carolina  -   33 Years Experience
David R. Paletta
Disability Attorney

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Boone
North Carolina

(919) 491-5643

The Obamacare Debate is missing the most important issue.

Published by David Paletta

I follow the debate on the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, closely.  I believe strongly that every American should have reasonable access to health care, and Obamacare brings our country closer to this goal.  I would like to share 3 observations I have on the recent debate about this health care reform.

Observation # 1.  October 1, 2013 was a very important date because this was the date many of the most important provisions of Obamacare took effect.  This was the date millions of uninsured Americans could begin signing up for health insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace.  It is not a coincidence that the Republican created government Shutdown took effect on October 1.

We all know that the Republicans original goal was to shutdown the federal government in an effort to stop the new Obamacare reforms was taking effect.  This goal was no secret - the Republicans stated it repeatedly in numerous press conferences.  

However, the Republicans also had an important secondary goal that has received no public discussion, which was to create chaos in the federal government on October 1.  By creating chaos on the day hundreds of thousands of Americans began applying for health insurance, the Republicans sought to sabotage this reform program from within.

Even supporters of Obamacare like myself must acknowledge the implementation of the October 1 reforms has been a Disaster.  Part of this Disaster is due the complexity of implementing a new federal program.  

However, another cause for this Disaster has been the intentional strategy of Republicans to create chaos in the government and thereby hinder the successful launch of the reform.  The Republicans failed to achieve their primary objective, but were very successful in achieving their secondary objective.

Observation # 2.  The number one political issue in the country this week has been the criticism of President Obama for breaking his promise that no one would lose their health insurance due to the ACA.  I agree with those who say a promise is a promise and this promise should be kept. 

However, here are my observations on this broken promise.  First, the total number of people affected is tiny compared to the number of people who are benefitted by these reforms.  Second, the affected people are not "losing" health insurance.  They are being forced to obtain a better, more comprehensive health insurance policy, and if they cannot afford it subsidies are available.  

This reminds me of the 1930s when people screamed objections to being "forced" to pay, against their will, a new Social Security tax that provided them with retirement benefits. Today, the support for the Social Security retirement system among retirees, both Democrat and Republican, is close to 100%.

Yet, this successful and popular reform was based on the policy of forcing Americans, against their will, to pay for a benefit that was in their best interest.  The mandate of Obamacare to force a small % of Americans to pay for better health insurance coverage is very small compared to the mandate of Social Security taxes.  In any event, the Obamacare mandate, like the Social Security mandate, is a good mandate.

Observation # 3.  The recent Obamacare "crisis" has focused on two issues - major defects in the government web site and a small number of Americans being forced to accept more comprehensive insurance.  These issues are important and deserve public discussion. 

However, the most important issue is getting almost no public discussion.  In my opinion the most important issue is how do we as a prosperous nation provide health care to all Americans?  That is the primary goal of Obamacare. It is a laudable goal. 

With regard to the goal of providing health care to all Americans, the Republicans have no plan.  NC Republicans rejected Medicaid expansion for the uninsured, but offered no alternative plan.  The Republicans in Congress relentlessly attack Obamacare, but offer no alternative plan to provide health care to the millions of Americans who do not have it.

The ultimate measure of a nation's greatness is not its military might, but how it treats its poor and disabled and citizens in need.  Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and all the other world religions teach us to follow the Golden Rule, to care for our neighbors as we would have them care for us.  

History teaches us that there will always be those who oppose progress.  The current fanatical opposition to modest health care reform is just another example of that.  But we must keep our eyes on the prize.  We must continue to strive to make health care for all a reality in this country.