The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, is working in spite of GOP obstruction. 152,335 Missourians, 29% more than projected, signed up for insurance via Healthcare.gov. 300,000 more low income uninsured Missourians would have insurance today if Missouri’s GOP lawmakers weren’t still relying on the ACA shuck and jive job they’ve been pulling for the last several years to pay off.
The fact that Obamacare’s proving itself out there in the real world means that some GOPers are struggling to find another con-job they can pull come election time this year. Which explains this little opus from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4):
It has been almost 20 months since four Americans were killed during a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. But the White House has deliberately and consistently obstructed efforts by Congress and the media to learn the truth about the Obama Administration’s reaction to this attack, and recently disclosed White House emails indicate the facts might have been intentionally altered to create a false narrative of the tragic events. As a co-sponsor of legislation calling for an investigative Select Committee, I applaud this action. The families of those brutally killed in Benghazi and all Americans demand accountability. The stonewalling must end; the truth must be heard.
Yep. Benghazi. Stale, but our Vicky’s not the swiftest pony in the stable, and beggars can’t be choosers – even when the latest Benghazi “smoking gun” seems to have misfired. In the words of a former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, “dude, this was two years ago,” and there’s no more there there than there was then. I don’t want to be too hard on Vicky though; she’s not the only GOPer who thinks Benghazi is the perfect fallback – today Speaker Boehner announced the formation a select committee to investigate the issue yet again, based on “new” evidence that tells us nothing we didn’t already know.
Of course, some folks don’t seem to have gotten the message about a possible election strategy pivot. Take Senator Roy Blunt. I got this email message from our man in Washington today:
President Obama’s so-called “victory lap” on ObamaCare may have been a bit premature. According to a recent survey, only 38% of Americans think the president’s health care law is working.
Maybe that’s because so many people have experienced skyrocketing premiums and job losses as a result of this flawed law. On top of that, we recently learned that the disastrous ObamaCare website is far from finished, and is estimated to cost taxpayers $121 million before the second round of enrollments – $30 million more than the Obama Administration estimated a few months ago. The president’s own approval rating has dropped to 37%. To make matters worse for President Obama, early results show that only two-thirds of individuals that signed up for the ObamaCare exchanges actually paid their enrollment premiums.
Every day, I receive stories from Missourians who are concerned about the president’s health care overhaul. And almost every week, I go to the Senate floor to share those experiences.
As tired as I get of trying to
correct straighten out all Roy’s errors, somebody’s got to keep pointing out that he’s got it all wrong:
* Could some well-meaning soul out there tell Roy that the ACA poll numbers he cites include negative ratings from those of us on the left who want a real “socialist” health care system, single payer or Medicare for all, something along those lines. But most of us wouldn’t want to get rid of the ACA if its all we’re going to get right now – and it is. And as for those who bought into the GOP line on Obamacare, they aren’t to blame. It’s hard to resist the flood of misrepresentation and outright lies with which GOPers have been flooding a compliant news media. But never fear, the dupes are going to figure out soon enough that they’ve been had.
* Health care spending is rising because more uninsured people are getting care at last. But sorry, Roy, healthcare costs aren’t “skyrocketing.” Insurance premiums are lower than expected and many insurance companies are predicting stable or even lower costs next year thanks to the success of the exchanges. The success of the ACA could even lower automobile insurance rates!
* To date the only documented job losses I know about that are related to the ACA are taking place in states like Missouri that are refusing to expand Medicaid under the provisions of the law. As a result, hospitals and clinics are being forced to close and numerous new jobs that would have been created are also forfeit.
* Only two-thirds of the people who signed up for Obamacare have paid their premiums? Really, Roy? You ought to know better than to parrot the House Energy and Commerce Committee report that produced that figure unless you want to get called out with the GOP fools on the Committee who thought we wouldn’t notice how they were cooking the books. If you’re not more careful, you’ll have to choke down your share of the crow they’re now eating.
* As for the stories about Missourians who’re suffering from the ravages of Obamacare, I’ve heard some of these whines – most of us have – and all I can say is that I hope that even a small percentage of the stories you manage to dredge up hold up better than most have done so far. As the Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik observes, “virtually every yarn promoted by Republicans or conservatives about people hurt by the Affordable Care Act has deflated like a pricked balloon on the merest examination.”
Do you sometimes think that Senator Blunt just isn’t even trying anymore? Of course, if the alternative is more Benghazi, à la Vicky Hartzler, perhaps he’s better off to keep on with the same ol’, same ol’ ACA drivel. After all, even if it’s probably true that you really can confuse some of the people all of the time – and, to judge by our congressional delegation, lots of those people seem to live in Missouri – the lame Benghazi narrative by itself won’t reverse the tide of diminishing returns.
* Last paragraph edited for clarity.