floydcountytimes.com

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Elaine Washburn Shiber

October 30, 2013

Although the majority varies slightly from party to party each election year, the numbers of American voters supporting or leaning toward the Republican and Democratic parties are very close. Because of this, the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (aka: “Obama Care”) may very well not meet with success, since the Congressional representatives of one of those parties have been dead set against it from the get-go, and they have a lot of wealthy, influential people backing them. Hence its obstructionist behavior since the law’s passing.


Hardworking, low-income or laidoff, unemployed people aren’t important. It’s a rich man’s game.


It is doubtful that all Republican voters, however, are against the bill or believe all that scary, negative hype about it, but voting strictly along party lines has become a matter of course for most Americans, no matter how questionable their party’s performance is. “Party loyalty” it’s called. Instead of understanding that providing preventive and ongoing health care for all people is a great advantage for a country and that we, as citizens of the wealthiest and most powerful one in the world, deserve to have some sort of universal health plan … like all other wealthy, developed (and many developing) countries in the world do! … we remain party-steadfast and, thus, unwittingly biting off our nose to spite our face.


The Affordable Healthcare Plan’s biggest snafu was to leave it up to the states to determine whether or not they would opt in and create their own health plan websites and accept the excellent federal financial assistance that went along with doing so. Furthermore, the government has offered states enough money to cover the expense of expanding Medicare for their more impoverished or disabled citizens for 3 years, with a guarantee of picking up 90 percent of the tab in state Medicaid costs thereinafter. In these difficult economic times, it would seem to be a no-brainer for all states to welcome this plan, especially those with high percentages of people below the poverty line. That was an unfortunate miscalculation by healthcare plan developers.


What we have instead is a near split down the virtual middle in the numbers of states opting in and those opting out. A September Washington Post article cites that 22 states have refused the deal entirely and another 3 are still debating the issue. Among those refusing is Texas, with the 2nd highest GSP in the country, in which 25 percent of its citizens are without health insurance. That’s the highest percentage of all states. A little more than 20 percent of people in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida and just under 20 percent of those in Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana and Arizona are uninsured.


We should be proud of Kentucky, a historically “Red” state, for opting in. And, our system is up and running better than most other participating states. Bravo to those who designed the website!


Republican leaders and their wealthy supporters have spent millions of dollars on smear campaigns about the Affordable Care Act, and TV/Radio talk shows have spent thousands of hours on negative propaganda trying to dissuade the American public about it. How can a law succeed when these people are so bent on its failure? The Health Care Plan will not necessarily fail because it’s a bad plan, as they predict, but because they have succeeded in convincing us that it is. They, therefore, will have fulfilled their own prophecy by being those responsible for its demise.


Despite the glitches temporarily plaguing the federal website (due in part to millions more from non-participating states trying to access it), however, and the efforts of Republican leaders and their corporate backers to sabotage the Act, there is still a good chance it will succeed … if Americans show they want it by taking the time and patience to sign up for it.


Heaven knows that, no matter what our party affiliation, we all need it.