ACA could be Tipton’s Achilles’ heel
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Never was an aphorism more apt than Emerson’s is for the 50th House Republican vote to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act, just cast by our own “little statesman,” Rep. Scott Tipton, and his hobgoblin-haunted House colleagues.
Twenty, 30, 40 and up to 49 votes were not enough, so they went for a round 50. To think that would be enough to make the point would be naïve. Not surprisingly, there is already talk of another vote as soon as possible.
But who is watching? Who is listening? And, most importantly, who cares anymore? Even the most dogmatic tea partiers must want to hear something new for a change.
The Republicans know this, but their strategy isn’t to make new converts to the cause. It is to keep the base stirred up and distracted, so vulnerable GOP candidates can avoid talking about such issues as blocking immigration reform, shutting down the government and endangering our international credit rating, reducing food stamps and fighting against a popular plan to raise the minimum wage, denying fundamental rights and protections to women ... and the list goes on.
Better for Tipton and his like to create a ruckus over affordable health care than to answer for the demolition derby politics Republicans in the House have adopted in lieu of a coherent agenda.
But while the Republican war against Obamacare degenerates into farce, the identical Affordable Care Act is bringing millions of uninsured Americans into the commercial health care market.
At many community meetings, conservatives who came to scoff were observed picking up the ACA/CHC literature on their way out of the meeting.
Despite a rocky start and a barrage of negative Republican propaganda, “between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 1, 2014, 220,000 Coloradans have signed up or been approved for health coverage, according to new data from Connect for Health Colorado and Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing,” an agency press release announced.
Patty Fontneau, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, reports its website has had more than 1 million hits since Oct. 1, 2013. Of those, 85,000 purchased new health insurance from the private market through CHC. Among these, more than 47,000 people were awarded subsidized premiums averaging over $275 to make coverage affordable.
Another 135,400 people qualified for Medicaid under the provisions of the CHC, and were added to the rolls of insured Colorado residents.
Once in the system, if not before, most clients discover the advantages of joining rather than fighting Connect for Health. Except those who speak on Fox News, most enrollees, even after enduring the frustration and inconvenience getting signed up, value the coverage.
As new enrollees tell their friends, neighbors, and co-workers, dogmatic principle begins to crumble as self-interest becomes obvious. In the end, it is neither political party that will make or break the Affordable Care Act, but the people themselves.
This scenario is the Republicans’ worst nightmare.
Meantime, insurance companies are lowering their premiums to be more competitive in the new health care marketplace, millions of Americans are able for the first time to seek medical attention when they need it, “prior condition” exclusions are a relic of the past, lifetime limits on benefits will be lifted, and you can no longer be left on your bottom on the sidewalk because the insurance company decided your care is too hard on their bottom line.
And, no death panels!
If the Republicans are determined to continue their war on the Affordable Care Act and its state prodigies, they will find that it isn’t 2010 anymore.
No longer a hobgoblin, Connect for Health Colorado is a real program, serving real people by bringing health insurance to thousands of families and individuals who had inadequate policies or none before they obtained coverage under Colorado’s version of Obamacare.
Let Tipton begin his war against health insurance by confronting those in his district who have finally found affordable health insurance that he intends to take it all back.
That would be the next foolishly consistent thing to do.