The GOP’s Compulsive Obsession

An obsession is defined as  “the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc”.  This obsession so dominates the consciousness of the GOP it seems to qualify for the psychiatric definition of a compulsive obsession, which is “the inability of a person to stop thinking about a particular topic or feeling a certain emotion…”.  As of late last year, the House of Representatives had attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, 46 times.  It certainly seems that these repetitive and fruitless efforts by the House qualify as an obsession.  While they have found the time to attempt these repeals multiple times, they have not been able to find the time to develop a comprehensive immigration bill, an extension of  unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, or a gun law that would help to reduce the thousands of meaningless and senseless killings that occur each year.   This is disturbing enough in and of itself, but when this behavior impacts on millions of lives and the very future of our country, it is unconscionable.  It becomes unforgivable when the obsession is based on lies and simply exists to serve the narrow political needs of those who are seeking to benefit from it.

The lies on which this behavior is based are well documented.

The health care law rations care, like systems in Canada and Great Britain.” 

– Florida Gov. Rick Scott, July 2, 2012,  in an interview on Fox News

False.

The health care law is not socialized medicine. Instead, it leaves in place the private health care system that follows free market principles. The law does put more regulations on health insurance companies. It also fines most large employers who fail to provide insurance for their employees, and it requires all individuals to have health insurance. This is unlike the systems in either Britain or Canada. In Britain, doctors are employees of the government, while in Canada, the government pays most medical bills as part of a single-payer system. The U.S. health care law has neither of those features. PolitiFact has rated this claim and others like it False.

Then there is the now famous:

 “The health care law has “death panels.” 

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor, Aug. 7, 2009, in a message posted on Facebook

Pants on fire.

Back in 2009, it was a popular talking point to claim that the health care law had “death panels” to determine if individuals are worthy of receiving health care coverage. The claim was widely debunked and named PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. The talking point started in reaction to an idea for Medicare, that the Medicare program for seniors should specifically cover doctor appointments for seniors who wanted to discuss do-not-resuscitate orders, end-of-life directives and living wills. The visits would have been completely optional and only for people who wanted the appointments. After controversy, the provision was dropped from the final legislation. We rated the “death panels” claim Pants on Fire.

Then there is the conspiracy scare:

 ‘The health care law is a “government takeover” of health care.

– U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, Feb. 20, 2010, in a speech to Pinellas County Republicans.

Pants on fire.

“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed relies largely on the free market. It’s true that the law significantly increases government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market. The majority of Americans will continue to get coverage from private insurers. We rated the claim Pants on fire.

These are just a few of the untruths that have pervaded the pages and airwaves of the conservative media.  However, they seem to avoid discussing the truth and in particular pointing out the many benefits already being experienced by million of Americans. Of major consequence is  The fact that no American can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.  Realize that an estimated 5 million people in the US were considered uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions.  Now they cannot be refused coverage.  For the first time, children may remain on their parents policies up to age 26.  In fact, the number of uninsured young adults ages 19 – 25 fell from 48 to 41 per cent, or nearly 2 million between 2010 and 2012.  This while uninsured rates of other groups increased or remained the same.  Lower income adults are uninsured or uninsured at higher rates.  Obviously this is now being impacted by the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid.  Additionally, lifetime caps and loss of insurance has been eliminated, thus preventing unmanageable medical debt from ever being an issue again.

The GOP continues to try to use the Affordable Care Act as a wedge issue as we approach the midterm elections.  However, as more and more people avail themselves of the benefits available through this law, their attempts will be seen as the compulsive obsession that they are.

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