Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dangerous Tomorrows - Part Two: Obamacare

While I was on vacation last week, the Supreme Court handed down a couple of decisions of some significance. One of those came down on Thursday (06/25/2015) and impacted the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  

I am not going to try to unravel of the complexities of the case that came before the Supreme Court. As I understand it in its most basic terms, if the court's decision had come down in the other direction, a central component of Obamacare would've been struck down and millions of people who had secured health insurance coverage through this program would've found that coverage in serious danger. And the reversal of this program would have added a significant burden to the federal budget deficit. 

Instead, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, cutting off the most serious challenge yet to this health care program since its inception.  

As I noted with yesterday's post, I'm titling these entries "Dangerous Tomorrows" because I'm addressing events that are dangerous to those who seek to preserve the status quo and halt any forward motion towards a different way of doing things in the future. The Supreme Court's decision to preserve Obamacare makes tomorrow dangerous for such people. 

I am nowhere near expert enough to debate the merits or shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, if you will. I can only imagine that any large and sweeping federal program made in cooperation with only half of Congress as the other half actively and willfully obstructs all efforts in the development of that program, chances are its probably not the best it can be. That being said, however, there is no doubt in my mind that something needed to be done about healthcare in this country, its costs and our access to it. 

Disclosure: I am an employee of a Fortune 500 financial services leader. Through my employer, I have health insurance coverage. In short, I am not among the millions in this country lacking health coverage. But just because I'm OK doesn't mean that we shouldn't do something for everyone else who isn't. And who is to say how long I would be OK. Even my relatively blessed circumstances, I confronted every year the cold reality that my employer provided health insurance provided a little less in benefits or cost me a little more in premiums, sometimes both. Even from my position of having health insurance, I could see that the situation in the United States when it came to health care was unsustainable. Something would have to be done, not only for those struggling now but for those who would also be struggling in the days to come.  

Yet when President Obama began pushing for health care reform, there was such a rage from the voices of Americans who didn't trust this reform or the guy calling for it. Anger stoked the fires of the Tea Party movement as town halls flared hot with righteous indignation over the effrontery of Obama and his Democratic cohorts to interfere in our health care. The irony was a lot of that anger, fueled by health care providers and their back pocket political connections, was among the very people who were most at risk of increasing costs and decreasing benefits. 

"Obamacare" became a match that could light the fires of Tea Party rage in an instant. Hard right GOP candidates for public office would get the party faithful energized with promises to roll back or repeal Obamacare as a first act of business. And such promises were good for business, the business of politics. 

In the years since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, continuous efforts have been employed by the GOP in the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare but with no success. And now for the second time, a court case to challenge the ACA has it made it to the Supreme Court which has ruled again that the Act stands. 

So for everyone who has employed fear and loathing over Obamacare to bolster their own political fortunes, now what? If overturning Obamacare has been your mantra, tomorrow is a dangerous place. Instead of the easier route of just making people angry for no good reason other than a selfish grasp at getting and keeping political power, these people will maybe finally have to accept that this is a thing now. And the easy option, destruction, is no longer an option. The harder prospect is to work with the other side of the aisle and make this plan work better. 

Building instead of tearing down? Hope instead of fear?

Scary stuff. 

Tomorrow: Marriage Equality 

Until next time, try to be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Counting Down To Infinity