Aspen Times Weekly: GOP bombers flying low over ACA landscape
December 6, 2014
Now it's time to dive into the world of health insurance again, and I'm more than a little steamed over the topic.
Of course when I write "health insurance," that really is just shorthand for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or the ACA.
It also is known by that troublesome nickname coined by haters of President Barack Obama, "Obamacare," but that's a title I will not use, except inside quotation marks, as I consider it an underhanded, racist and demeaning effort by Republicans and their ilk to ridicule the law and the president.
That said, I should also note that I have not been happy with the law since it was passed in 2010, since in my view it is a weak attempt at shoring up a failed health-care system that favors the insurance industry, the legal profession and the wealthy, in that order.
As I have written before, Obama came out of the chute in 2007 as an advocate of a "single-payer" health-care system, which essentially would have meant extending the methodology of Medicare to everyone in the country rather than exclusively the elderly.
But somewhere along the line, I think it was in the spring of 2008, he stopped referring to a "single-payer" and "universal healthcare" kind of reform and switched to that insipid and blatantly misleading term, "universal health coverage," which basically left the outrageously corrupt insurance industry in charge of our health care.
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Oh, to be sure, Obama placed a few unprecedented controls on the insurers, which has pissed them off to the point where I think they are now taking it out on us, the insured, by making the ACA as difficult and expensive as they can within the confines of the law.
Case in point: I recently received notice from my ACA-qualified insurer, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, that my and my wife's joint monthly premiums will more than double next year unless we do something quick.
That's right, we've been paying about $380 a month for a health-insurance policy, with a $2,500 deductible for EACH of us, and now our monthly premiums are about to be jacked up to nearly $900 a month with no improvement in the benefits.
I've been fuming over this for the past couple of weeks and have not been able to achieve the state of calmness and deliberation that will be required for me to get back on the "health care exchange" and try to head off what I consider to be little short of a stagecoach holdup by my insurance company.
But now, to add insult to injury, comes the news that the newly ascendant Masters of Congress (a.k.a., the Republican Party) are suing the Obama administration in the party's never-ending quest to scuttle the ACA and put to the sword the 9 million or so people who now depend on it for health care.
What is it about the Republicans? They are rigidly locked into some kind of fantasy about the 1950s and how wonderful it all was when Ike was president, America was on the rise from the ashes of WWII, black people knew their place and stayed in it, young people were respectful of their elders, and God was on His (make no mistake about gender there, by cracky) throne in the Heaven described in the Christian bible.
Oh, and there was no problem with Muslims back then, because Western oil companies basically controlled the economies of the Middle East and all those "ragheads," as native Arabs and Muslims in general are known to bigots everywhere, were so backward and busy fighting among themselves they couldn't be bothered with us in the West.
Yeah, well, the myths and lies represented by that fantasy have been exposed and laid naked on the true table of history, for those who care to learn about it.
In any event, the Republicans continue to harken back to those "halcyon days" and believe the rest of us do, too.
They also believe the rest of us hate Obama as much as they do, along with the weak-kneed health-care "reform" that Obama managed to push through Congress in 2010. And unfortunately, they can misinterpret this year's Republican tidal wave of election victories as a mandate for their ideological hallucination and an endorsement for their roadmap to get us back to the 1950s and restore the insurance industry to its rightful place as arbiter of all things health care.
All I can say right now, with regard to the mess we've made of health care, is that perhaps we really can't expect any better and we should be prepared for the worst.
If the Republicans win their lawsuit, no one is sure what the effect will be, other than a general fear that the landscape of health insurance may begin to resemble a bombed-out city in Germany circa 1944.
If so, make for the nearest shelter, if you can find one, and keep your head down.
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