Despite our reasoning skills, development of complex languages and cross-cultural ability to learn the Electric Slide, humans are basically animals, and all animals share fundamental traits. Take dogs, for instance: I have an enormous, bumbling, spoiled brat of a Great Dane named Omar. When Omar was a small puppy, he would bounce to his food bowl when it was time to eat and devour the dry kibble like it was a juicy, medium-rare filet mignon.
One day, just for a treat, I mixed half a can of wet, beef-and-gravy dog food in with his regular food. He loved it so much that he refused to eat anything else. My human reasoning told me that if I gave him a bowl filled with the regular old dog food, he would eventually eat it rather than starve himself, but he refused. No matter what I tried, he would check out the contents of the bowl, turn around—his head slightly askew—and give me a look I roughly translated to mean, “Come on, bruh. I’m not eating that shit.”
America is a lot like Omar.
On Monday the Congressional Budget Office issued its cost estimate (pdf) for the piece of legislative sewage Republicans named “The American Health Care Act.” The report states that by next year, 14 million fewer people would have health care, and the number of insured would decrease by 24 million in nine years. The good news is that the estimate also shows that the AHCA would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion. The bad news is that it actually reduces the federal budget by $1.2 trillion, but—because it gives back $883 million in tax breaks to the wealthy—the poor and the elderly are the ones who will pay for Trumpcare.
Even data-averse Republicans, whose idea of showing their work in a math problem is just writing “Jesus told me,” cringed at the prospect of stripping away health care from 24 million people. After the entire country gasped at the numbers, the Grand Old Party admitted that it will have to fix many of the troubling aspects of the AHCA before it goes to the Senate because right now it is like a Donald Trump toupee:
It’s too expensive, it does nothing and it doesn’t offer much coverage.
Before we start wringing our hands in anxiety about losing access to health care, we must remember that before Obamacare, conservatives derided “health care for all” as a socialist plot. They screamed how government-subsidized health care would bankrupt the country, make future physicians decide to drive Uber instead and create lines at doctors’ offices like Beyoncé concerts. Now every Republican politician reluctantly admits that all Americans deserve access to cheap, good medical care.
Barack Obama did that.
Obama wasn’t the first politician to come up with the brilliant idea to move the country toward the standard of every other industrialized, first world nation by making health care a right for all citizens. He was just the first one to do it. Hillary Clinton tried to do it almost 25 years ago, to no avail. Obama was the right person, with the right plan, who came along at the right time to push America forward.
The only reason Eddie Munster’s big cousin Paul Ryan is in the gym training like he’s with the Cobra Kai dojo getting ready for the All-Valley Health Insurance Tournament is that Obama used damn near every ounce of political capital he ever had to set a standard from which this country can never retreat. Die-hard Trump supporters wholeheartedly believe that Obama is the demon-seed spawn of Satan and a secret Muslim order who can fake birth certificates and tap phones, but they love their health insurance. They’ll never give Obama the credit, but he doesn’t really need it.
Because all health care is Obamacare.
The rural, redneck, Confederate-flag wavers who hate everything black except the bottoms of their crusty feet and the tops of their flip-flops benefit from the expansion of Medicaid because of Obamacare.
The young, 22-year-old young libertarian driving the Benz, who just graduated with honors from that Ivy League school and will make up the next generation of conservative douchebags, can stay on his parents’ insurance until after law school because of Obamacare.
The conservative middle-class newlyweds who were taught to “pay their own way” have employer-covered insurance because of Obamacare.
Obamacare has helped thousands of women discover breast cancer and cervical cancer in the early stages, while they can do something about it. It helps the inpatient, out-of-pocket payers who don’t have to shell out $36 for a Tylenol in the hospital because medical institutions pass along the costs of people who don’t pay to the people who can. It helps underserved and rural communities that didn’t have access to physicians because doctors don’t put practices near patients who can’t afford the fees.
Every single person who receives medical care benefits from having more people insured. That’s how insurance works. Twenty million more Americans now have health insurance than did before Obamacare. It worked for everyone.
And whatever the fucked-up-Frankenstein bill the GOP patches together to appease the Republican base is, it will be a version of Obamacare. You can be sure that Republicans don’t want millions of poor, white people coughing up phlegm, blood and doctors’ bills inside of voting booths during the midterm elections. The GOP will eventually concoct, piecemeal, a health care recipe worse than white people’s potato salad, and it will happen only because the previous president forever removed the prospect of uninsured Americans from the table.
Like I said, humans are like dogs.
And just like any animal, we do not evolve backward (Trump voters aside). Gorillas will never decide that they have no use for thumbs, fish won’t suddenly start drowning and Americans will never go back to the days when health care was a privilege afforded only to those who could afford it. Barack Obama showed this country it was better than that, and if the Republican Party tries to make us eat a dry, raggedy, patchwork quilt of a Trumpcare proposal, America will slowly turn its head and wrath toward our new president, Lord Bald-emort, look him in his eyes and tell him:
“Come on, bruh. We’re not eating that shit.”