Perhaps this isn’t the post title that one expects to see on a left-leaning blog, but just bear with me.
When suggesting that we kill Obamacare, it is not suggesting that the law and new practices be actually killed, like some of the theories Conservative writer George Will has put forward. He thinks the Affordable Care Act can be struck down arguing that it is unconstitutional, but this is simply inaccurate. Though it’s true that the law originated in the Senate, and it definitely incorporates monetary elements, those do not describe the crux of the legislation. The purpose of the ACA is not to raise revenue, but to facilitate the ability for more Americans to have health insurance. Though taxes share many commonalities with penalties, they are fundamentally different. A tax is something that is owed under any circumstance… everyone pays taxes simply because they are citizens. But a penalty is only paid when someone doesn’t comply with an existing law. Jim gets a traffic ticket for running a red light, but Suzy stops at the light. Was Jim taxed because he operates a vehicle?? No… he was issued a fine. Suzy complied with traffic laws, and because she did this, she was not fined. If George Will or anyone else tries to assert this argument that the ACA can be struck down, politely remind them of the difference between taxes and penalties. It’s constitutional… deal with it.
But even with the law being constitutional, here’s why we should kill Obamacare. Poll after poll suggests that while Americans typically agree with provisions of the ACA, they still don’t like Obamacare. If you’re someone that follows politics on a regular basis, then the conflict here is blatantly obvious… the Affordable Care Act is Obamacare… we’re talking about the same thing!! Just remember that the majority of Americans could tell you much more about Real Housewives than they could about the Houses of Congress. Even after 4 years of wrangling, there are some genuinely intelligent people that still have no clue how the health insurance market has changed. But thanks to an effective messaging blitz by the GOP, they do know that they don’t “like” the word “Obamacare”.
Here’s the big secret folks… before the ACA was signed into law, we had a wide array of health insurance options. Today, more than 6 months after its full implementation, we still have a wide array of health insurance options. Despite the many lies that are out there, Obamacare isn’t some scary big government program. It’s just a law that looked at our country’s health insurance market, determined what works and what doesn’t, and set some ground rules so companies would offer better plans to more people.
Obamacare is all politics. But the policy of the Affordable Care Act is what’s changing people’s lives. That’s what the Left needs to be talking about. Let people know that the ACA made insurance more affordable, easier to obtain and much easier to understand. Give voters examples of how health insurance can improve their lives and take away the fear of the uncertain. Instead of trying to sell negative terminology, let’s discuss why the insurance market of today is better than when Obama took office.
Long after President Obama’s term ends, the only ones that will remember the term Obamacare will be those reading politics and history books. Democrats can’t win the messaging war on this one, but they can stand by their record of having helped over 8 million people find more affordable healthcare. It’s time to evolve past the politics debate, and let people know about the real policy and its real results.