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Insanity defined

Dear Editor:

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

The Republicans in the House must then be the most insane politicians ever. They have tried to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 43 times without success. The president has repeatedly said that he would veto any attempt to upset the ACA. And why wouldn’t he? This is his signature achievement as president, passed legally by Congress and upheld by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court. He would be insane to allow a few right wing nut cases to derail the effort. I truly believe that opposition to the ACA is not fueled by ideology, but rather by a fear that the program will work in the long run and give the president a positive legacy.

The Republicans are relying on outright lies in their attempts to stop the ACA. They have made the overblown claim that the law is a job-killer, but experts predict only a small impact on mainly low-wage jobs. ACA opponents say premiums will go up astronomically. Yet, employer plans won’t be affected significantly and any premiums for individuals seeking their own insurance will vary from person to person. Premiums have been going up for years and will continue to do so, with or without the ACA. Finally, critics continue to make scary claims about the government coming between the insured and his/her doctor, but the law doesn’t set up a government-run system. If anything, the law comes between the insured and his/her insurance company, forbidding companies from capping coverage or charging more based on health status, a positive action.

Beyond these reasonable topics, we’ve seen far-fetched messages about microchips implanted in patients and forced home inspections by the government, neither of which is true. The latter is a wild distortion that actually refers to grants for voluntary state home-visitation programs to help expectant and new parents. 46 states already had such programs in fiscal 2010, before the ACA. Finally, Michelle Bachman claimed recently on TV that ACA imposes a tax of 3.8 percent on all home sales. Not true! The tax only applies to high income people and then only on profits over $500,000. With such calculated garbage floating around, it is no wonder people are confused!

A majority of citizens now oppose defunding the program, particularly if it shuts down the government. In fact, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the GOP-Tea Party efforts to defund or delay the ACA has actually brought about a seven point increase in popularity of the law. Further, in some polls, about 11 percent of the people who oppose the ACA actually do so because it does not go far enough, since it does not include a public option or a single payer system. And the fact that so many people tried to sign up for coverage on the first day of eligibility that some computer systems crashed suggests that the ADA may not be so unpopular after all!

John Porco

This story was posted on October 17, 2013.