••• The International Writers Magazine:Reality Check USA
The Unsinkable ACA
James Campion + Readers Responses
After the Healthcare Repeal fails again - Bulletproof “Obamacare” Rolls On
It survived six grueling months in 2009 into early 2010 of hearings, debates, propaganda – both pro and con – and an unprecedented act of partisan solidarity to be passed. It survived waves of protests and court hearings, ending up in two Supreme Court decisions upholding it. It spawned and survived the TEA Party movement and stood strong against hundreds of elections by candidates deriding it and promising to repeal it, culminating in both the re-election of the president that bares its nickname and later a president that has acted like a political battering-ram to the system. It survived 50-plus votes by congress to wipe it out and three recent attempts by the opposition party that promised for seven years to bring about its demise. Through it all it went from a dismal 36-percent approval rating to now a rousing majority of support from the American people. The Affordable Care Act is the most hearty, defiant and impenetrable slice of legislation this nation has seen in a century or more. It may take a second Civil War to take it down.
The latest grandstand by this bull-tit Senate, which concocted the second of two bills that stands at a laughable 14-percent approval from the citizenry and could not even get a vote, is a prime example of the invincibility of “Obamacare”. The hue and cry from those who opposed it (I am one) that once it was enacted it would be nearly impossible to rip from the system has come to pass. This was always the point made by this space for lo these past seven years: Why would anyone believe Mitt Romney or Ted Cruz or John Boehner or Paul Ryan or the current buffoon inhabiting the White House when they said, “I shall repeal Obamacare the first day I am in office!”
Remember that crap, kids? “Just give us the House, just give us the Senate, just give us the White House; we’ll skunk this thing.” Right. This generation’s two-chickens-in-every-pot nonsense that we believe when we think we hate something as much as the ACA, when in reality we don’t. This law has gotten the sort of press accompanying Prohibition or the Missouri Compromise when it is nothing more than another flaccid and bloated half-assed attempt by our government to put a band-aid on a gaping wound. (Also a point made by this space for years). And as much as people love to joke about how our game-show host president knows less about national health care than your pet, how many of us comprehend the magnitude of this thing and why it is so unbeatable?
Firstly, although presidents Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton (well, Hillary, really) all proposed far more progressive versions of national health care dating back to the late 1940s, the framework of the ACA was actually devised by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing “think tank” filled with antiquated philosophy long since dismissed as madness by the rest of the planet, like the Freemasons without the fancy robes. It was cleverly titled, “Health Equity and Access Reform Today” or HEART, and it was the template for “Obamacare”, plain and simple.
In 1993, the then president thought it a nifty idea to have his unelected wife present what amounted to a single-payer, true socialist bill for universal health care to a congress that would be, it turned out, under siege from the opposition party. By ’94 the first Republican-controlled congress in three generations took the Hill to thwart this exercise with extreme prejudice, but not before the dullards at the Heritage Foundation put together what can now be deemed the infamous manifesto for what would become the Affordable Care Act. Penned by Republican Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island it included among many of the most popular portions of the ACA; creation of purchasing pools, standardized benefits, vouchers for the poor to buy insurance, and a ban on denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.
The Republicans more or less presented HEART as a centrist answer to a wildly over-reaching government-controlled health care system practiced by European countries, Canada, etc. And it was that construct that first inspired and then prompted what President Barrack Obama proposed to then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cobble into a bill that would become the law that cannot be felled even as its opposition party holds sway over all of Washington DC.
To be fair, the final version of the ACA did not include the expansion of Medicare and a federal government pool of money given to states to run it in order to off-set costs. And it is that portion of the law that has been upheld as constitutional in two Supreme Court challenges and gotten conservatives up in arms and its proponents a fulcrum in which to defend it. If the government can tax or force young men to go overseas to die, then it can certainly control the marketplace. It is that key segment of the ACA that allows the government (a tax) to mandate the purchase of something you might not feel you want or need, like state mandates for driver’s licenses or automobile insurance or the dozens of other things the federal and local governments deem you must possess to move about in our social contract.
And here is where the doom of lies the Republicans have existed on regarding the ACA comes home to roost and has led to the farce that you have been enduring on this issue since Donald Trump stumbled into the presidency. You see, while Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is a feeble and useless government lackey, he is also very stupid. Speaker Paul Ryan, not so much, as he is a more a legislative intellectual stuck in a compromising position when he would much rather lift weights and jack off to photos of Ayn Rand. And…well…the aforementioned Donald Trump probably now wishes he was still on TV making fun of Rosie O’Donnell, judging beauty contests and wrestling Vince McMahon. All of these politicians and more have been comparing “Obamacare” to the Third Reich and bone cancer, when it is probably the most workable legislation on the concept of national health care possible in this day and age.
If it were proposed by a President John McCain or Mitt Romney (who took the Heritage Foundation model and enacted it in Massachusetts while governor between 2003 to 2007), it may look close to what the Republicans are now trying to mash-up just to look like they’re doing something. But since it was a Democratic president and congress that pushed it through it was wrongly considered some kind of socialist monstrosity. It’s a messy, mostly bureaucratic pile of shit, but it has its benefits and those are what cause this hamstrung congress to balk at “fixing” it, because fixing it means rubber-stamping its existence when they really want to just bag it.
There have been a series of congresses that have suckered the American people into thinking they had the power or fortitude to stop badly run wars (2006) or a law effecting one-sixth of the U.S. economy (2010, 2012, 2016). But there are still wars and the ACA rolls on and there is seemingly nothing that can be done about either with the current crop. Even a gutless vote (which will never pass) to just repeal the thing will be the culmination of another promises that cannot and will not be kept.
And thus the ACA is a winner; it cannot be stopped.
Rocky Marciano was an undefeated heavy weight champ, but even he only won 49 consecutive bouts, the ACA is something like 62-0.
Love it or hate it; that is one tough son of a bitch of a law.
© James Campion July 31st 2017
READERS RESPONSES August 7th 2017
And thus it begins, the final leg of this horrible joke of a presidency; the firing of James Comey, the Director of the FBI who Donald Trump jettisoned to protect his ass from further investigation on his obvious collusion with a foreign enemy to queer an election in his favor. (DONALD TRUMP: STUPID, GUILTY OR BOTH? – Issue: 5/17/17) And then of course there is the cover-up. But what kind of cover-up is it when this idiot goes on national television and admits all of it to a network anchor? The moron tells Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation?????
To answer your question, I am going to say both on this.
My god is Trump guilty. They are all guilty. This is a complete mess and all of it could have been avoided if someone had just paid attention to this asshole when he told us all he did not care about laws or decorum and everyone was sooooo excited to have a novice come in because everyone else is sooooo stupid except for him. Well, who is stupid now Trumpians? You voted for a criminal because you were mislead like suckers that his opponent was a criminal. Trump IS guilty and verrrrrry STUPID and so are those who voted for him. You get what you deserve. Enjoy this mockery of your precious country. Ha!
I wish I could be outraged, but I saw this coming. Remember when Trump begged the Russians to release missing Clinton emails in several of his bully rallies? This guy is obviously guilty, but I wonder if he is so stupid. I think he surrounded himself, like he did in business in and around New York, with nefarious types who advised this whole thing. Trump has always managed to breaks laws and keep himself relatively unscathed. His wives knew where bodies were buried and they were paid handsome sums to go away quietly. What is in those tax returns he hides so vehemently? They could tell us a lot. Get an independent counsel to work the way through those and you’ll see some fireworks. This president is already the most corrupt since Nixon.
Give it some time and it will all come out in the wash.
Oh my goodness, if only you were this vigilant when Madame Shoo-In was dealing with the Russians selling our uranium to them. If only you were this vigilant when B-Rock was selling weapons to the Mexican drug cartels only to have one of those said weapons end up being used to kill a U.S federal agent. If only you were this vigilant when the Attorney General of the United States was meeting with Bubba on the tarmac at the very moment his wife was under an impending indictment. If only you were this vigilant when B-Rock and his SoS, Hillz were sitting on their hands as Chris Stevens and his staff were killed in Benghazi. If only you were this vigilant when B-Rock would throw the race card in an effort to “pop smoke” and change the focus. If only you were this vigilant when B-Rock walked into the office and fired every Bush appointee in order to staff his Justice Department with acolytes and flunkees.
Why aren’t you and Chucky Cheese Schumer happy that Comey is gone? I mean it was only last summer that every Democrat in Washington wanted Comey fired for his “gross negligence” and “gross incompetence”. Why the long faces now? You guys got what you wanted, Comey is gone. Shouldn’t we be popping champagne as bi-partisanship has been achieved?
Nope, hate is the word and revenge is the goal…right, JC?
I bought into the Trump message and I am not sure what that message is anymore aside from “Save my own ass and keep telling people stuff is getting done in record numbers when nothing actually is”. I did not want Hillary and I was willing to give Trump a shot, but holy shit this is bad. How is this guy making it another calendar year, much less four? This could be the end of the Republican Party. It certainly is the end of it as we know it. Again, I supported Trump, especially over the Clintons, but if I had any inkling this was going to be this disastrous, this underhanded and illegal and embarrassing, I may have voted independent to save my soul. I have helped plunge this nation into a moral quagmire and I only pray this despot does not engage us in a deadly war with that nut in North Korea.
Fred C. Adams
Holy crap the Pepper piece is fantastic. (LOVE…TO…TURN…YOU…ON – Issue: 5/31/17) Putting some perspective on Sergeant Pepper at 50 must be like what putting some perspective on the Sistine Chapel at 50 was like. Ask me about Sergeant Pepper in another 400 years.
Of all the pieces I read on the 50th anniversary of the great Beatles classic, this is the finest. Well written, funny, incredibly researched with just the right amount of personal philosophy. This is why I return to this column week after week. Congrats.
I was one of the contrary voices that disliked the Beatles. I'm also the one Jersey shithead in the room who hates Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it's my family heritage of spitefulness, not sure. The lone exception for me was "A Day in the Life". Like you, I was stunned by it, the epic ending piano strike still vibrates in my soul like the first time I heard it. I suppose it took a few decades of listening to the pap on the radio to soften my opinion of the Beatles. Thanks for the reminder of the very large shadow they still throw across the landscape.
While driving up to Vermont this past weekend I had the Beatles playing in the car. My boys had their faces in the phones, I thought ignoring me. This is how the conversation went;
Nico- what are we listening to?
Me- The Beatles
Nico- Oh cool.
Nico- Were they like a boy band?
Me- Umm, well no, they didn’t have ‘boy bands' back then, not like nowadays
Nico- They were boys in a band, mom.
Me- Yup, still not the same thing.
Nico- Okay, if you say so.
If nothing else he enjoyed the music. So Jim, I ask you, The Beatles, a boy band or not?!
All the best,
Great article and "Ringo continues to be Ringo". Well done, I enjoyed it.
What can be said about Sgt. Pepper’s that hasn’t already been driven into the ground? Well, you managed it. Well done. I must admit I was never a huge fan of that album. Overrated! That was my take. But after much of the hoopla surrounding this anniversary I was intrigued to read your take. I think although I enjoy more of the early less-pretentious Beatles your passion and points are accepted here. That is a true critique and celebration and I thank you for forcing me to listen again to this long-standing “classic” with new ears.
Citizens of New Jersey Unite Against Government Suppression!
Before heading to Europe to kiss Vladimir Putin’s ass and after spending a week getting into Twitter wars with cable TV hosts, President Trump unleashed his completely unnecessary paranoid-central, daddy-didn’t-love-me-so-even-though-I-won-the-election commission cleverly titled Election Integrity.
Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.