Friday, January 3, 2014

Obamacare Celebration? Just Crickets

I'm starting to wonder what's the incentive of creating thoughtful policy to address complex problems. I say that because I'm watching the last few months of responses to Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act.

Despite website glitches, Obamacare signed up 6 million people to health insurance and Medicaid in 3 months. That's roughly 2.5 million on health insurance markets set up by states and the federal government and the rest of the people who are now covered on Medicaid package. In a year, these numbers will *probably* be in the tens of millions of Americans.  This one policy will save the lives of thousands and improve the quality of health for millions of Americans.

Political capital? Celebration? National media attention? As a result of this policy, the Dems are being threatened with losing seats in the House of Representative as well as the majority in the Senate. Republican-leaning states are continuing to block healthcare markets being set up in their states and the attorney generals are trying to stop Obamacare by finding new chinks in the armor, filing lawsuits, and trying to drown the law in a sea of litigation. President Obama's approval rating is at an all-time low.

Immigration reform, climate change, class inequalities are important issues that need thoughtful leaders creating detailed policy with experts. Yet, I don't know if any of these problems can be addressed in this political climate when the incentive is on loud, monosyllabic slogans

Let's remember some of the GOP's policy suggestions to our most recent problems:

1. Energy: Drill Baby Drill!!!
2. Healthcare: Kill Obamacare!!!
3. Immigration Reform: No amnesty!!!
4. Gun Reform: Keep your hands off my guns!!!
5. Kids being slaughtered by gunmen in schools: Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns!!!
6. Economy: Tax Cuts
7. Class Inequalities: Cut taxes
8. Corporate Corruption: Cut regulations and reduce government intake...oh hell, cut taxes!!!
9. Global Warming: Al Gore sucks!! (or some variation of a personal attack)
10. Women's Rights: Who's What?!?
11. Raising Minimum Wage: Job Killer!!
12. Abortion Rights: Baby killer!!!

Dems can't beat the brevity of these slogans posing as policies because they're shackled to some basis of facts. But I think that rational is becoming a tired excuse for the incompetency of marketing and touting successes by the left-leaning and moderate politicians.

Over the last six years, Dems have been unable to take advantage of any accomplishments. It's almost easy to think that Obama has done nothing.

Obama's Record

1. Saving the Auto Industry from Bankruptcy (saving a few million jobs FYI)
2. Stopping Economy from Collapsing (like it has in many European countries)
3. Al Qaeda War: killed Osama Bin Laden
                             killed almost every single No. 2 and major lieutenant in terrorist org
4. incentivizing boom in Green Energy and alternative energy, while expanding drilling
5. Repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell
6. Wall Street Reforms: 1000 times stronger restrictions than what others wanted to do.
7.  created Consumer Protection Agency: reducing corporate abuse against citizens
8.  credit card reform
9. withdrew everyone from Iraq!! WE GOT OUT OF IRAQ! WE ARE NO LONGER IN IRAQ!
10. Obamacare: 6 million covered in 3 months.

Yet, some times it feels like Obama administration has been a complete failure. His successes are glossed over and the national attention quickly moves to the next crisis. This lack of focus could thwart the growth of  Obamacare.

ACA can still be hurt. Yes, it would be very difficult to repeal. But enough damage can be done to ACA it so that it doesn't work at its optimal level or it leaves millions without insurance. Misinformation can scare enough young people and citizens of Red States to stay away, so that the marketplace is left anemic in the long-term. And Republican consultants will celebrate this stunt 'victory' of lies with a new wave of candidates selling more odious, ignorant, and malfeasant viewpoints.

Dems need to do better. You know what, forget Dems....well-informed people -of any political persuasion- need to do better by speaking out. We need many more voices putting the facts forward repeatedly again and again. And these 'truthers' need to have the intensity as the Machiavellian Right-wing, which has grown so cynical in its tactics that they border on treasonous behavior.

When one party decides to intentionally sabotage the health, job security, and income of all Americans for political gain, there should be some repercussions. But it seems like Democrats are the most vulnerable. If this happens, then the worst and most destructively cynical behavior will be rewarded by a GOP sweep in the House and Senate. And everyone will be punished.

No comments: