Friday, April 25, 2014

From #7millionandcounting To #8millionandcounting and More

Well, #7millionandcounting is now #8millionandcounting. 35% of those 8 million who have signed up for private health insurance under the ACA are 35 or younger, so the age spread is looking good for the future well-being of the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office has reported that the law could cost as much as $100 billion less than originally estimated and will considerably shrink the deficit over the next ten years.

It’s not only ordinary Americans who are benefitting from Obamacare. In 2010 Congress appropriated $5 billion for the temporary reinsurance program (under the ACA) which provided subsidies to employers for workers who retired before they’re eligible for Medicare. 

According to Huffpost, companies, the bulk of whose political donations go to Republicans, but who received subsidies are UPS ($37m), Union Pacific Railroad, ($9.7m), Altria Client Services Inc. (nearly $11m), AT&T ($213m), Pfizer Inc. ($23m), GlaxoSmithKline ($14 m), Southern Company Services ($7m) Lockheed Martin Corp. ($4 m), CSX Corp. ($2.2m), KPMG LLP ($1.4m), Deloitte LLP, ($1.2m). 

Koch Industries received $1.4 m. Ironic, given that Charles and David Koch fund AFP, which has sunk over $30 million into ads against the ACA or Democratic politicians who have backed it.
More ironic is that FreedomPartners, also funded by the Koch brothers, is spending more than $1m on ads against politicians in Senate races. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa are being targeted for receiving campaign donations from health companies that benefit from the ACA. They aren’t the only ones, though. The US has been flooded with these ads and it’s been estimated that somewhere in the region of $500m has been spent so far. 

But it’s a losing battle and always has been, and once again Republicans have gambled their all on something and lost. They didn’t have much to gamble with in the first place. The Congressional Budget Office, in a letter to the Honorable John Boehner providing an estimate for H.R. 6079, the “Repeal of Obamacare Act” estimated that “H.R. 6079 would reduce direct spending by $890 billion and reduce revenues by $1 trillion between 2013 and 2022, thus adding $109 billion to federal budget deficits over that period.”

That was the 31st attempt to either limit or repeal the ACA. It was opposed by US Representative Mike Doyle, who said “House Republicans are holding their 31st vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the full knowledge that repeal won’t become law – and without offering up a plan to replace it. We’ve wasted this week on a political stunt when we could – and should – have been spending it working on legislation to create jobs. 

“I hope that now, after 31 votes, House Republicans have gotten this out of their system and we can finally put it behind us, give the new law a chance to work, and move on to the challenge of creating more new jobs.”

Nothing daunted, the GOP carried on the war, certain they could win. The House has tried and failed to limit or repeal the ACA 51 times. You have to hand it to them. They’re not long on wisdom and intelligent strategy, but they sure are persistent in their foolishness. For all the money they’ve spent, they’ve achieved little success though, and now GOP candidates for the House are pinning everything on repealing the law. But as time passes, the law’s success increases so they’re swimming upstream against a current that just keeps getting stronger and stronger.

A New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation Poll conducted in four Southern States of Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina found that although there was a lot of disapproval of President Obama and the ACA, the majority didn’t want the law repealed. 

Most of us believe that money talks in politics and if it’s spent with intelligent strategy then it does.  Given how much resistance there is to Obama, especially in the Southern States, which many argue have never shed their racial prejudice, it should have been easy for Republicans and their backers to turn the majority against the ACA. But when money is spent on untruths that can easily be exposed, and on destroying something that really does benefit everybody, it’s a mission impossible.

One of the side effects of the Republican ads, has been to make Democrat candidates afraid of openly backing the ACA and Obama. But even that is changing. 

As Obama said, “this thing works.” And it’s working beautifully in spite of a troubled roll-out, in spite of all the money thrown at trying to destroy it. At some point Republicans are going to have to acknowledge that they backed the wrong horse. Again. That moment might not be so far away.