GOP Snake Oil, Health Care and the Supremes

Despite a propaganda push, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld. But the war isn't over.

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 Romney, in particular, challenges the president’s leadership and never answers for the fact that he supported and signed into law a near replica of ACA when he was governor of Massachusetts. Indeed, his program provided the blueprint for Obama’s national vision; yet Republicans and their base voters seem so blinded by Obama’s brown skin that they can barely taste the snake oil of Romney’s lies.

In his staged televised reaction to the Supreme Court announcement, with the Capitol framed in the background, it was clear that Romney had come to Washington with hopes of giving a victory speech. Instead he displayed an impotent hubris: “As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision,” he quipped.

Barack Obama came into office intent on fulfilling a promise to expand health care coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and countless underinsured. The reform legislation was duly passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress with very little Republican support — this, despite the program’s origins as a GOP proposal by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

In an attempt to avoid anticipated opposition to a European-style single-payer system, Obama compromised to incorporate a capitalist model that exercised the now infamous individual mandate a way to keep profit-driven insurance companies at the center of the health care market and reaping financial rewards from both life and death.

That provision alone ensured that this legislation would never conflict with the dynamics of capitalism. Unlike truly socialist programs in European democracies like those in England and France, or New World universal systems in Canada and Australia, the Obama plan is not government-controlled but, rather, government-facilitated.

The key difference between that and true socialism — to the chagrin of the ignorant Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh — is that in socialism, the state controls, funds and provides services with little or no choice for the consumer. The American plan, which allows users to choose their own doctors and offers privatized options or the ability to opt out altogether (for a penalty), is anything but socialism. Under the GOP’s misguided logic, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and farm subsidies would be communist intrusions imported from Kenya, Indonesia or Massachusetts.

Sifting Truth From Lies: Who Benefits? Who Lives? Who Thrives?

Sadly, what has been lost in the endless debate over the legislation’s legitimacy is the fact that millions of American citizens are already experiencing broader coverage at lower costs. All this before the full law, and its mandate, become effective in 2014.

Approximately 54 million Americans have received free preventive services on their private plans. According to reports released from the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, millions of women will begin receiving free coverage for a package of comprehensive women’s preventive services, including breast-cancer screenings.

In 2011, 32.5 million senior citizens received at least one or two preventive services, and more than half that number have benefited from no-cost preventive services in the first few months of 2012 alone. One-third of the American population — 105 million people — no longer have lifetime limits on their coverage.