John Young
Special to the Daily

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November 12, 2013
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Young: Suddenly, Republicans care about uninsiured Americans

Excuse me, free-market conservatives, but why the sudden concern over millions set to lose their health insurance?

Did such a problem concern you before President Obama and the Democrats set out to insure more Americans?

Did it? I may have to review my notes.

I’m pretty sure those notes say you said that people who didn’t have insurance just needed to trust the free market, raise their sights, and get down to some heavy bootstrap lifting (like you did, right?).

And if all failed, they were to head to the nearest emergency room and dump their expenses on someone else.

Based on the righteous uproar, one would think people never lost their insurance before the Affordable Care Act screwed everything up.

But of course, millions lost coverage every year, the free-market way.

Again, I may have to review my notes to see how many people on the right were doubled over with angst over that free-market problem. I’m thinking: not one.

This is not an attempt to dodge, bob and weave away from the present problem. That’s not so. We are about to see, however, if the old bob and weave on this matter will be the response from the Plastic Outrage Band (not to be confused with any move by Yoko Ono to return to the studio).

A bill supported by the president would amend the ACA to allow those people to keep their coverage. It simply would require insurers to tell them which parts of their coverage don’t meet ACA requirements.

Presto. Problem solved.

Will it happen? Or will Republicans who say they care about those people find a way to “go fishing,” and leave the problem to fester so they can continue to use it against the president?

That Congress swiftly can amend the matter puts the lie to the right’s narrative about the Affordable Care Act: that it was rammed down Americans’ throats; that it was a dictator’s power play: Obamacare.

Nope. It was an act of Congress. It can be tweaked by Congress. Surely this won’t be the only adjustment needed — not unless Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all came out of the chute mint perfect.

(As for problems with healthcare.gov: Republicans had to ask the public for patience themselves when launching the Medicare Part D website in 2006.)

The question, again, is if the GOP will even allow for a necessary change to the ACA, or partisans in Congress don’t want to give up the propaganda value of, “Millions to lose health coverage.”

Plastic outrage being politically desirous, we’ve seen this kind of behavior before.

Back in the ‘90s the anti-abortion movement came up with the smartly contrived rallying cry: “partial-birth abortion.” A term unknown to obstetricians, it portrayed a rare and graphic procedure generally performed when an infant could not survive outside the womb.

“Barbaric.” “Unconscionable.” So said those in Congress who said they cared.

However, when Democrats proposed simply to prohibit extreme late-term abortions except when a woman’s health or life were in danger, Republicans blocked it.

The fact is, they were getting too much mileage out of “partial-birth abortion” to support something that took the issue off the table.

So, will this be the case with a rapid fix that can end the crisis for all those Americans about to get the slip from their insurers? Or is the political mileage to be had from this problem too profitable to surrender?

One thing: If obstructionists do block a revision to help the millions about to lose their health insurance, the Affordable Care Act still will be there to cover them anyway.

That’s what it does.

That’s what the free market doesn’t.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.


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The Summit Daily Updated Nov 13, 2013 04:58PM Published Nov 12, 2013 03:22PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.