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What's So Bad About Obamacare?

Askia Muhammad | 4/5/2012, 2:18 p.m.

Whenever I heard someone repeat the term "Obamacare," I used to cringe. It was used as a way to insult the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA)--the major healthcare reform legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama. But maybe I'll soon stop cringing about the expression.

The idea was to make the law sound bad to the nation's nitwits in this country, who don't read, and who are hard to lead in the right direction, but easily led in the wrong direction, by pinning the President's name to it. There are tens of millions of Americans--most of them White--who are so bigoted, who are so closed minded, that they will vote against provisions and candidates who are in their own best interest, just because they don't want to see Black people gain any advantage whatsoever. These people would rather see the country fail, than to see Black people in general, and this Black President in particular succeed.

So we come to Obamacare, which is likely something that is good for the country. It will guarantee health coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, which insurance companies before have been quick to deny. It will guarantee health coverage for college students until they are 26, under the health plan their parents have. And most importantly, it will extend health insurance coverage to an additional 30 million now uninsured people--7 million of whom are Black--and thereby reduce the nation's health care costs, by permitting previously uninsured persons to get regular medical treatment from a doctor, without having to wait to go to an emergency room after an illness has worsened and become more expensive to treat.

But now what I like about "Obamacare" is that the President and his supporters have now embraced the term. They say yes, "Obama cares." That will probably cause a lot of anguish for Republicans. They are well known--from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and up and down the GOP ranks--for opposing their own ideas, if and when Pres. Obama says he supports them.

Just think about so many provisions of the Obamacare law Republicans once supported. Just think about so many provisions in the tax plans and debt ceiling increase that Republicans once supported only to betray their own ideas when the President agreed to their terms. Just think about the long list of Republicans who said it's time to do away with tax give-backs to oil companies--the world's wealthiest and most profitable corporations--which Republicans agreed should be repealed six years ago. They have ignored their own mantra and in turn, abandoned their own principles today.

As far as Obamacare goes these days, the Supreme Court recently concluded three days of historic hearings on the ACA. It was the first time oral arguments on one case were held for three days in more than 30 years. If this right-wing Court decides to uphold the key provisions, then it's all over. Call it what you will, but it will still remain the law of the land.

"If you remember, the affordable care act was premised on the concept of personal responsibility," Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said in response to a question from this writer in a conference call with reporters. "That each of us is responsible for securing good healthcare, keeping ourselves well, and therefore not only making sure we're cared for and our family is cared for, but that we're not costing our fellow Americans more in taxpayer money for emergency care services. So it's premised on this notion that we all have to take personal responsibility for our health."

That was historically a Republican argument, before it became a lynchpin of the ACA. "Remembering also that the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that allows its families to go bankrupt for seeking healthcare, and that we pay more per person for healthcare than any other country in the world, to have this law overturned would simply be so expensive for us as taxpayers, because we're gonna see our fellow Americans continue to seek healthcare, and they'll now be once again routed back to the emergency rooms," Rep. Becerra continued.

"Much will be done over the years to recognize that asking everyone to take on their own responsibility in making sure healthcare throughout this country can work, is not only constitutional, but it's what we need to go so we can compete with the rest of the world. So I think that the far-reaching ramifications of overturning of the healthcare law, is something I hope the justices understand goes way beyond their pay grade and I hope they recognize that the Constitution clearly would accommodate something like this historic health reform law of 2010," Becerra said

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