Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act

On October 1st, 2013, the US Government shut down for the first time in seventeen years.  As with the last time, it was a result of political maneuvering to manufacture a crisis and then try to push through things by tying them to the resolution of the shutdown.  As with the last time, it was wrong.

In case you are reading this a long time after the event, the key causes are twofold:

1) There is currently a small group of extremists in the Legislative branch that have been locking up the government for years
2) This group has, essentially, a blind faith that the Affordable Care Act, which they currently call, "Obamacare" must be fought tooth and nail, in spite of being passed into law, upheld by the Supreme Court, and being popular among most citizens of the USA

The core problem is from a splinter group of the Republican party that belongs to, or take instructions from, the "Tea Party".  The Tea Party has been marketed as a grassroots effort, but I know this to be a lie.  I watched as the Tea Party was, in large part, created by a small group of wealthy sponsors, heavily assisted by Fox News.

They are staunchly opposed to taxes and government spending.  In practice, they have been extreme and uncompromising.  Unfortunately for the USA, even though they are a small minority they are just large enough to compromise our government's function.

They are militant in their opposition of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which they call "Obamacare".  Sadly, there are still people in the USA that do not realize Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing.  In fact, side-by-side polls have shown a major disconnect in understanding.  They asked about feelings on Obamacare versus the Affordable Care Act - the results differed significantly. Which is to say, a significant number of people are opposing something they like because of a misunderstanding, ignorance, or partisan tribalism.

Because of the mechanisms of the USA Government and the political parties in power, a small group of people can stop progress on anything that requires the Legislative branch to agree.  Case in point, this shutdown.  The Senate has passed measures that are agreeable to the Executive branch, but the Tea Party, which is primarily affiliated with the Republican Party continues to vote them down.

Another wrinkle is that the Republican party more consistently votes as a block.  This has led to the Republican-led House of Representatives wasting an offensive amount of hours holding over 40 votes to repeal.  Their actions, ironically (in light of their concerns about government waste), result in a profound waste of government time and money.

The tragedy is that the ACA is a good law that corrects a number of big problems in the USA healthcare system.  Every measure that has been implemented had positive impacts on patients and the business of healthcare.  Each measure ends up being quite popular and the opponents of the ACA continuously are surprised at the positive impacts.  Essentially, blind partisan hatred is so high that people are opposing something that they actually like.

Please contact your representative and tell them to stop fighting the ACA.  The ACA is good for the USA.