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GOP legislators hate Obamacare because they hate Obama

By Daniel Freedman

Section: Opinions, Top Stories

January 27, 2017

This year’s election is a repudiation of the liberal ideology. The recently retired president has become the incarnation of socialism and despotism in the minds of many voters. As the vision of all that is evil, Obama’s legacy is under attack for its namesake.

The Affordable Care Act is a monumental piece of legislation that insured tens of millions of individuals, limited healthcare discrimination and is the reason that many of my fellow college-aged peers do not need to buy their own health insurance until age 26. Sure, it stood far short of the single payer ideal of liberals, and did necessitate some taxes, vexing conservatives. However, it was a vast improvement over the predatory and exclusive system that preceded it. Now it seems all but fated to die an ignoble death, with ignorance driving in the final nails to its coffin: An overzealous, Republican-dominated Congress votes for its repeal without a plan to replace it.

What is so heinous about the Affordable Care Act?

The first outcry of disapproval came with the falsified revelation of “death panels,” coined by Sarah Palin, and cuts to Medicare. Death panels (bureaucratic override to deny care) represent an ethical and economic issue unto themselves, but their existence was wholly untrue, while the cuts to Medicare were a disingenuous statement of truth stripped of context.

The other significantly maligned component of Obamacare is the individual mandate that forces the public to find insurance or else face a fine. I understand the contempt for any intrusion into the American citizen’s star-spangled freedom, but it was a necessary evil to provide the consumer protection that prohibits denials for pre-existing conditions. The protection without the mandate is not fiscally feasible, and our civility is arguably questionable in the absence of providing for our most vulnerable citizens. Even if you are not enthusiastic about empathizing with their condition, you still cannot escape the economic truth that your tax dollars will bear the burden of the cost regardless. It is far cheaper to administer preventative care than to let a condition develop into a medical emergency treated in a hospital. Maybe you did not want to subsidize the insulin for a diabetic patient with the Affordable Care Act as proxy—that’s fair. Except a year later that patient wanders into the emergency room in diabetic ketoacidosis without insurance to receive some costly treatment, and you are stuck with an even bigger bill.

I ask again: Why do some find Obamacare so heinous? Because it bears the Obama brand, and worse yet: People like it. It seems then that the Affordable Care Act will go down in the annals of good ideas proposed by the wrong person. Partisanship means more than content, and a spiteful evisceration of a political legacy is more satisfying than fulfilling the duty to represent the best interest of constituents. None of this comes across as surprising given our Congressional track record, but it is a compounded disappointment that the legislative branch will fervently support a partisan purge: the apparent will of the people.

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