Think of this blog as a “prequel” to “Finding where the truth resides”, published at this site on 11-2-2013. The intent here is to provide an understanding of the origins of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; otherwise known as Obamacare [OC] ) and to bring into bold relief the depth of conservatives’ hypocrisy in condemning it.
The idea of guaranteed universal access to affordable health care, complete with an individual mandate, came straight out of the nation’s premier conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. In was all described in a Foundation paper, “Assuring Affordable Healthcare for All Americans”. Authored by Stuart Butler, Ph.D., and published in 1989, it was driven by two goals; i.e. (1) mandating all households obtain adequate healthcare, and (2) reducing the percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP) that is annually consumed by healthcare costs. Sound familiar?
By 2005, the Heritage idea had caught on in Massachusetts where then-Governor Mitt Romney and the Democrat-controlled state legislature crafted a bill making it a reality. Signed into law in 2006, it was eventually lauded by the fiscally conservative Massachusetts Taxpayers’ Foundation as a “…well thought-out piece of legislation” and as a “huge success”…(the) best policy achievement in the last 25 years”. Subsequently, a survey conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society found the state’s residents to be “generally satisfied” with the way the law was working for them.
Entering office in 2009, President Obama embraced the Heritage concept and the Massachusetts statute, using both as a model for OC. Experts who helped craft the state law were brought on board to help design the latter. In an effort to advance the conservative principles of states’ rights, private sector involvement and free markets, the OC was structured to allow states to set up their own exchanges where private insurance companies would sell their policies at competitive rates thus lowering costs and in the process, reducing the aforementioned percentage of GDP consumed by it. In that regard, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that OC will save us “billions” over time.
You would think that conservatives committed to lowering he cost of government would love this. But of course, they don’t. Indeed, the irony is that for the past four years we have been subjected to a relentless stream of rants directed at OC, all coming from people on the right, in and out of government, who would otherwise support much of what the law promotes, including the establishment of the private exchanges, and free market competition which many Republican governors have uniformly and hypocritically rejected.
When you rail against a policy loaded with features that should be to your liking, the question is begged “What is your problem?” One plausible answer is that conservatives’ distaste for OC is that it contains the word “Obama”.