The President recently stated during a speech on October 1, 2013, that the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare” or “ACA”) was “settled”, and “here to stay”. Since then, I have seen a number of posts deriding others for saying the shutdown (which I call the “Governocalypse”) was a clear sign that the President and the Democrats don’t want to negotiate.
This in contrast to the many times, 17 in fact since 1976, the US Government has shut down and there have been efforts to work out the difficulties between the aggrieved parties. Eight of these shutdowns occurred when the Democrat Party controlled both House and Senate, and five of which where the Democrats controlled the entire government, including the President. (Contrast this with the TWO where the Republicans controlled both House and Senate, but not the Presidency, and the remaining eight where the Democrats controlled only part of the legislature, whether they controlled the Presidency or not.)
This is the first such shutdown EVER in which the President and the Senate refused FLATLY to negotiate at all with the House. The bone of contention? ObamaCare. The opposing party finds it objectionable and wishes to repeal it, defund it, or, at the very least, delay it, depending on who is speaking. But the opposition is told to “sit down!” and “shut up!” and “forget it!”. They are called “terrorists” and are said to be “holding the country hostage”, and why? Because this law is “settled and here to stay.”
Excuse me, Mr. President…
But just because something gets enacted as law, and even when it has been challenged unsuccessfully in SCOTUS, this does not mean a law is “settled” and is “here to stay”. ANY law can be repealed by passing a new law that negates it — that is part of the “checks and balances” nature of our legislative process. It is entirely reasonable, logical, and practical for those in Congress who do not agree with a given law, or believe it does not serve the needs or interests of their constituents (should be the same thing, but frequently isn’t) to work to repeal it or negate it in whole or in part. That is their JOB. If they feel something does not adequately represent the wishes of their constituents, they have a responsibility to work against it. That’s called a “representative republic”, which we are.
It is the height of statist arrogance to say “we won, get over yourselves, we got it, shut up.” The Democrats have NEVER sat still for something enacted they did not like, not once. They ALWAYS continue to fight, even when SCOTUS has either upheld something they disagree with, or declared something they like unconstitutional. Case in point, look at gun ownership — it is in the US Constitution, it is in most State constitutions, there are many laws that protect and secure the rights of people to lawfully own and carry firearms, and there have been plenty of SCOTUS cases that support the individual right to keep and bear arms. But the Democrats continue to scream and lather about restricting the rights of Americans, and trying to either pass restrictive laws or negate laws allowing them. Why aren’t these laws “settled” and “here to stay” as Obama said about ObamaCare? Why are they still considered malleable? Because the Democrats don’t agree with them, or believe they don’t serve the needs and interests of their constituents…and it’s their JOB to oppose such things.
Do I agree with that position? Not in the slightest. I want to keep my rights, and not have them infringed upon by any government action. And I want the efforts of these Democrats to fail…but that doesn’t mean that I think they are wrong to try. They are doing the job they believe is correct, and it is MY right to contact them, or their opponents, and express my wishes. This is how a republic works, and ostensibly protects the rights of the minority position. If we didn’t have this, it would simply be two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.
The Democrats and the President do not wish to compromise, meet in the middle, or negotiate ANYTHING with regards to the ACA. They want it exactly as it is, undisturbed, unrestricted, and complete, and will not budge. They have said so publicly.
That same public has overwhelmingly said, time and time again, that they do not want this law. SOME do…and it’s their right to tell their legislators this…but it is utterly disingenuous of Democrats to demand that the Republicans always negotiate, compromise, and meet them in the middle whenever there’s something they want to gain, but now clam up tight. They always say that the Republicans are the “Party of No”…but if you look at the shutdowns as I did above, the Democrats are more intractable, because if they can’t get 100% of something, they will wheedle, coerce, and attack until they get at least part of it, or the government shuts down.
Admittedly, so do the Republicans. If they can’t get 100%, they will do the same to get at least part of what they want, they just have done it less of the time to this degree. And this is exactly, precisely, and completely what they are both supposed to do. They are groups IN OPPOSITION. They are not buddies that always agree with one another, they are opponents. Every single shutdown has been because of a fundamental disagreement between one part of Congress or the other, or between a part of Congress and the President. NO shutdown has lasted longer than 21 days, the vast majority lasting only 3 days or so, frequently over weekends.
Another complaint was that there should be no negotiation, no compromise, because the ACA was necessary for the country. As for whether the ACA is “necessary”, every country that has something similar has had no end of troubles with it, and the people there hate it. Socialized, national-level medicine is dangerous, overly complex, and MORE expensive, not less.
Remember, the reason they said they were enacting this was to give “access” (translation: free) to “health care”. To quote Inigo Montoya, I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Access does not mean automatic receipt of something for free, it simply means that it is available. Health care is available. Expecting to get valuable services from people and institutions without paying for them is criminally stupid. A thief expects to get things for free, because he is simply taking them from people who have them. This is no different. The money to pay for this “free” healthcare comes from the people who HAVE money, and get it taxed away from them. It isn’t being altruistically given to them at no cost, it ISN’T free (they still have to pay for it), and it isn’t “affordable”, as the government-run exchanges are more expensive than similar coverage used to be privately.
In his October 1 speech, the President claimed that “tens of thousands of people die each year due to a lack of health insurance”. Not…precisely. A Harvard study determined that “approximately 44,789 deaths among Americans [are]. . . associated with lack of health insurance.” Associated. That’s the operative word here. There’s a truism in statistical analysis — correlation (association) does not imply causation. Most of the comments I’ve seen about this statement since have simply assumed that the President was stating it baldly and correctly, that lack of insurance caused these people to die. Nonsense. If you’re eating a cheeseburger and are bitten by a snake and die, the cheeseburger was associated with your death, but did not cause it, the snakebite did. Notwithstanding the one case I know of where a hospital emergency room refused patients who could not pay (violating the law), one where ironically Michelle Obama, David Axelrod, and Valerie Jarrett were contracted to implement an “Urban Health Initiative” by moving Medicare/Medicaid patients to different facilities, it is not difficult to get “health care” if you are unable to pay. It IS the law of the land as much as the ACA that an emergency room MUST treat you and get you stable, regardless of your financial state.
All of this legislative foofooraw was enacted to give coverage to some 30 million people who didn’t have health insurance for one reason or another. Rather than give those people some subsidized health care plan, thus solving the problem, the Democrats chose to completely change how EVERYBODY gets their health care coverage, even those who didn’t need it changed! Why change it for 400 million people when it’s only 30 million with a problem — 30 million who, after all the dust has settled, still don’t have coverage! Since the President is wont to refer to our nation’s difficulties using an automotive metaphor, I will too — this is as if, upon discovering that the ash trays in your car are full, you rebuilt the car from the ground up, replacing every single part, and added two extra alternators, four batteries, three superchargers, a spoiler, four banks of fog lights, and gold-plated cup holders, buying everything from the most expensive source, and paying for overnight delivery…instead of simply emptying the ash trays.
Why do that? Because it isn’t about providing affordable health care. It isn’t about keeping people from dying. It especially isn’t about saving people money.
It’s about controlling peoples’ lives, choices, and destinies. It is about POWER. That’s all, just POWER.
(Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_shutdown_in_the_United_States, http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/360157/fact-checking-obama-health-care-patrick-brennan, http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/23/video-did-michelle-obama-start-a-patient-dumping-program/)