On the Affordable Care Act – round 2.

Today the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”). The challenge to the law was based on 4 words. If you tried really hard, you might just have been able to understand that citizens were not entitled to subsidies in states that had chosen not to set up their own health exchanges. Had the Supreme Court ruled against the law, those (Republican-led) states would have deprived over 6 million citizens of the benefits of Obamacare – possibly as soon as the Supreme Court ruling was announced.

Republicans at every level of government are now publicly vowing to carry on the fight to abolish Obamacare, but I bet that privately many are relieved. Depriving your citizens of benefits they  already enjoy is not a recipe for success at the ballot-box.

Republican politicians have been trying to convince voters that Obamacare is a socialist plot. To which I would reply – so??? Socialism is a spectrum. It does not have to be all Big Brother, KGB spies and the gulag. Germany and France have had socialist governments and prospered. FDR introduced Social Security – a “socialist plot” if ever there was one – and we now cannot imagine living without it.

During his first presidential campaign, Obama was accused of wanting to “spread the wealth”. Again, once you get past the slogans, what do you see? I can guarantee that it’s not Robin Hood sneaking into the bank vaults of the very rich and dropping bags of coins on the doorsteps of serfs. Obamacare “spreads the wealth”. It ensures that, if your child has a pre-existing condition, you will not go bankrupt. It enables your college student to stay on your insurance policy until the age of 26. It creates a community where we pool our resources to help those in need. It has been shown, incidentally, that it actually benefits the economy, as emergency room visits are expected to drop sharply. If that is socialism, then sign me up. After all, we still stamp “E Pluribus Unum” on our currency, don’t we? Time to stand up to what it means. Today is a start.

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