^ The President argued thus for the ACA

Obama-care – the Affordable Health Care Act enacted into law in 2009 – is here to stay. It should be. It is going to be a huge benefit to the economy, not to mention to the 50,000,000 Americans for whom it will provide basic health insurance.

The 50 million who the ACA will insure will now enjoy better heath, fewer sick days out from work, and far less expensive medical care. Currently the 50 million have only one choice : use an emergency room at a hosp[ital, at which, thanks to legislation enacted 30 years ago, all care is fully paid for by the Federal government. That care is hugely expensive. Under the ACA, people who had only the emergency room option will now have insurance. That insurance will be purchased through exchanges, on which competition between insurance companies will drive down costs – indeed, is already driving them down.

New York State is only the first to announce, recently, that health care costs for its residents have dropped almost 50 per cent. The same will be true in every other state.


^ Governor Cuomo, announcing that the ACA has given NY an almost 50 % decrease in the state’s health care costs

Or, should we say, the same will be true IF the other states fully implement the ACA and its purchase exchanges. Many Republican-governed states are refusing to do so. Others are implementing the ACA only in part. In many such states, purchase costs are rising, not dropping. This seems to be policy in some Republican states. They want the law repealed, and by squeezing the law so as to make insurance more expensive they hope to turn public opinion against the ACA. It’s cynical, and it’s quite immoral.

Why would even Republicans not want every resident to have health insurance, when such insurance provides such palpable benefits to the economy ? Fewer sick days taken by workers, better health for workers generally, and lower insurance costs ? With lower insurance costs and fatter pay checks, more income available for consumer discretionary spending ? Remember that two-thirds of the ENTIRE economy is consumer spending. Any economy-conscious politician would want as much consumer spending as feasible.

It’s a fascinating question. Since voters all vote – assuming they aren’t kept from voting by various GOP “vote suppression” laws – one would think that the GOP would want to win these votes, not throw them away. Why are they doing this ?


 ^ 40 times, the GOP-controlled House has voted to repeal the ACA.

The GOP is well funded by huge corporations who view employees as a burden, not an asset; who don’t want to promote employee loyalty, or job satisfaction, and who don’t understand, or give a damn about, the economic impact of stress and poor health. These same companies are – or say they are – delaying to hire new workers because they can’t yet process the ACA’s impact on their health insurance contributions.

We at Here and Sphere do not believe it. What company would delay hiring workers needed to service expanded demand for product or service ? What company would deliberately retard its revenue that way ?

Other companies that fund the GOP are refusing the ACA because, so they claim, their religious values forbid them from insuring women’s reproductive health. This is outrageous. What right does an employer have to impose its religion on employees’ health ? Then there’s the employers that are hiring but only for part time work covering less hours than would require health insurance. Surely this is an unfair labor practice that the NLRB needs to challenge.

It is these corporations which, by huge donations directly to the GOP or by way of ALEC, the legislative drafting arm of America’s anti-ACA, anti-women, anti-civil rights interest groups, are buying the non-compliance of GOP office holders and thereby grievously impacting the course of ACA implementation. Grievous delay is, not, however, going to stand. It will not last long. The Act will be implemented, insurance costs will go down, and eventually the nation might even work its way toward the real health care solution: enrolling all Americans in Medicare.

That would be simple. Unhappily, in politics, simple is never liked by those who profit of complication.

— the Editors / Here and Sphere




^ New Hampshire State Senate leader Jeb Bradley (R), point man on blocking 58,000 NH residents from Medicaid insurance coverage.

It is one thing for a political party to disagree with the policies of the party opposite. It is another thing entirely for a political party to offer nothing to voters but obstacles.

News comes this morning that in New Hampshire, a state that borders on Here and Sphere’s home state of Massachusetts, the GOP majority in that state’s legislature is blocking New Hampshire from implementing the Affordable Health Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare.” Specifically, the GOP legislature is blocking 58,000 currently uninsured New Hampshire residents from joining the 137,000 already receiving Medicaid insurance coverage.

It stuns us that a political party in a democracy, whose prospects depend on the good opinion of voters, would think it had anything to gain by blocking 58,000 uninsured people from obtaining health insurance and thus improving their health. Never mind that to deny people access to proper health care is unconscionable, immoral; does it not make economic sense for people to live healthier lives and thus miss less days of work on account of illness ? Or perhaps become able to work at all ? What conceivable policy objective is gained by blocking this outcome ?

Unhappily, the New Hampshire GOP legislature’s refusal is no unique event. Since September 2008, when the GOP-controlled House tried to block President Bush’s TARP Program — which prevented the collapse of our entire economy — the national GOP, with few exceptions (Chris Christie, Jeb bush, and John McCain especially) has become merely an obstacle. “Block this, stop that.” Stop America from moving ahead. Every act, almost every speech, that the current GOP has made or said defies us : “We will stop you, people, from doing anything to improve your lives.”

NO to sensible gun control legislation. No to pursuong unibversal hrealth care insurance. No to ther food stamp program by which millions of us love. no to women’s pay equity. No to the Treaty on Disabilities. No to President Obama’s nominations to Federal Courts and Federal Agencies. No to immigration reform. No to reforming “stand your ground” laws. No to Voting Rights updates.

No, no, no.

The Federal government ? No to it, too.

Yes only to putting governement into your vagina and into your sex life.

As we said : this is not a policy agenda. This is an obstacle merely. This is contempt, for you and for us.

It has happened in America before, and every time a political party has retreated to obstacle status, it has meant pain and suffering to millions of Americans.

It happened in the 1840s and 1850s, when slavery was the obstacle. It took a Civil War and 750,000 deaths to unblock that one.

It happened in the 1920s, when business tycoons and their political mouths blocked anti-union legislation; and again in the 1930s when a reluctant Supreme Court blocked FDR’s New deal reforms.

It happened from 1880 to the 1960s, when Southern Democrats blocked all attempts to making lynching a Federal ctime and to accord Black Americans the voting rights and other civil rights that we thought that the grievous Civil War had won.

It took almost 85 years of injustice, torture, killing, and intimidation before finally that block was removed.

How long will it take America to remove the many blocks set up by the current GOP ? How many Americans will suffer and even die because ? Only time will tell. Hopefully it will not take almost a century to remove the block THIS time.

Meanwhile, 58,000 New Hampshire residents wait for health care insurance and the healthier, more fruitful life that we all want.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere