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Saturday, April 30, 2016

‘ObamaCare’: NOT an ‘AffordableCare’ Act, It’s a ‘Don’tCare’ Act


~KEN ALPERN
WHO WANTED ACA TO FAIL?-One can't help but wonder if those who did, do, and still defend the "Affordable Care Act" believe that its opponents truly wanted it to fail, or if its opponents hated the principles of health care access and affordability. But the same question can be laid at the feet of those who opposed the Iraq Conflict--did they want that effort to fail, and did they oppose democracy in the Middle East ... or as with the ACA, was it doomed to fail all on its own? 
Arguably, this was NOT anything that should have been called "Obamacare" because the President knew very little of what was in it (kind of like former President G.W. Bush and Iraq--he didn't know what the substance and the problems of the Iraq challenge was, and had to keep patching it as he went along).   
To paraphrase House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we now know what's in it because it's passed, and as the bill gets higher and higher--with a surge in costs going up next year just as the President leaves office--there is also a surge of Americans who disapprove of the law, according to U.S. News and World Report
Which merely proves the point that this law--written by the same health plans who in part (but only in part...see below) got us into this mess--can only be supported either by those who are not affected, or by those who hate Republicans and other opponents of the President more than they love and care for the well-being of their fellow Americans. 
The ACA passing Supreme Court muster based on this law being the single biggest tax hike on the middle class in recent memory, despite it being billed as anything but a tax hike?  Don't care. 
The ACA requiring childless adults to pay for comprehensive plans that include pediatric psychiatry? Don't care. 
Requests from ACA insurers throughout the nation asking for premium hikes that average from 9.4% to 37.1% in 2017?  Don't care. 
Tens of millions of Americans ripped away from their health plans and their doctors, despite being promised that such a nightmare would never happen?  Don't care. 
California fighting for adult illegal immigrants to get ACA coverage after granting it to their children for free, despite promises that such an effort would neeeeeeeever happen, because illegal immigrants should pay for their own families' expenses?  Don't care. 
And it's funny--actually pretty sad, but funny in a grim sort of way--that the ACA plans and the patients with health care through their employment (and with traditional plans that were allowed to be grandfathered into the ACAD) remain the most profitable and the most affordable (and most appreciated by patients). 
Which meant that either a Bush or an Obama Administration that focused on JOBS--not crappy, lousy, part-time jobs without benefits that "officially" and artificially placed Americans off the unemployment rolls--but real JOBS with benefits could have obviated the need for most of the ACA, particularly since the push to eliminate pre-existing conditions was already a bipartisan effort. 
So it's NOT just the health plans, but a lack of focus on full-time, family-friendly, quality of life-enhancing JOBS WITH BENEFITS that made health care access and affordable so elusive. 
And the anemic U.S. Economy, which is expanding at 0.5%--the lowest and slowest pace in two years, could that at all be aggravated by the ACA hobbling businesses from hiring with traditional benefit plans, and expanding because profits are being slammed as we enter a global slowdown? 
I know, I know.  You don't care.  You just don't care. 
Because dammitall, we're going to stay the course with the ACA--just like we did in Iraq--and a surge of sorts will do us all a lot of good. 
And it was great to take a swing at "The Man", and all those screaming Republicans, wasn't it? 
But one question, after you got to take that giant swing: why is the taste in your mouth not one of true victory, but the taste of your own blood? 
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)-cw