Thursday, June 13, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #112 - Part 3

Frustration about Obamacare

Time here for a quick personal note before we take a break.

It's been a little over three years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, was signed into law. During the months of the debate over the law, there were persistent polls saying that a majority or at the very least a sizable minority of the country was against it.

But to my own great frustration, those polls all but never asked people who said they were against it why they were. When polls finally did get around to asking, several months into the argument, they found pretty consistently that about 1/3 of those who were against it - generally around 16-18% of the total sample - felt that way because the proposal was not liberal enough, was not broad enough, did not regulate the insurance industry enough, did not provide enough access to care, it was, bottom line, just not good enough.

I was among those who felt that way. I still do. At the time, those of us who thought that way were denounced by those who supported the bill. We were fools, unrealistic, we didn't understand politics; the quote on the right side here saying I "live in a magical fantasy world" comes from that time. "This is what can pass," we were told and "when it goes into effect people will love it."

I said at the time that if you start by calling for "what will pass" you'll inevitably wind up with less than you could have gotten. Which is, of course, exactly what happened.

What brings this up is a CNN poll from the end of May, which found that 43 percent of Americans support Obamacare, thirty-five percent oppose the law because it’s too liberal and 16 percent oppose it because it isn’t liberal enough - which is pretty much the same breakdown there was three years ago when the law passed. So much for everyone will love it.

But while that poll is what brought this up, this is why I brought it up: Something else people like me were told over and over again at the time was that we should get on board because, it was said, "this is just the start, we'll come back next year to make it better!" I said at the time that you wouldn't be fighting for improvements, the only thing you'd be fighting for was to protect the program against attacks and cutbacks. Which, again, is exactly what happened.

So I just want to say to everyone who said "we'll be back, we'll make it better" in any form to anyone: Just where the hell have you people been these last three years? Where are your campaigns for improvements? Where is your "fight to make it better?" When does "next year" get here?

If your real interest was in access to health care for everyone rather than in access to a political victory for Barack Obama, I ask you again: Just where the hell are you?

Unhappily, saying "I told you so" never actually fixes anything. But it does allow me to vent some frustration.


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