Friday, July 28, 2017

Obamacare Lives

The last ditch, post-midnight effort by Republicans ended in failure when Senator John McCain joined the only other Republican Senators with an ounce of courage: Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski in voting no on the last gasp version of a Republican unhealthcare bill.

The vote was viewed with triumph and optimism by Jonathan Chait, so since that's pretty rare these days I'm passing on excerpts:

"I remember where I was and how it felt when the House of Representatives held the deciding vote to establish the Affordable Care Act. It was a feeling of elation, but, sitting in my living room by myself, an oddly solitary one. I ran out into the street of my residential neighborhood, half-expecting jubilant V-J Day-style crowds. But it wasn’t just that my neighbors were at work. The months and months of legislative grinding had cast a pall of depression over even many enthusiastic Obama-voting liberals, who saw the health care law as hardly worth celebrating.

The death of Obamacare repeal, in the early morning hours of Friday, July 28, was a very different experience. “Nothing in life is so exhilarating,” as Churchill is reputed to have said, “as to be shot at without result.” Obamacare has gained not only positive approval in broad opinion polls but a genuine mass following. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rallied to its defense, making its repeal impossibly painful for the Republican government that had once assumed it would sweep the law away in a January lightning strike."

Republicans in power will weaken Obamacare, Chait cautions, but America will never go back to the way things were done before Obamacare became law of the land.

"The desire on the right to destroy Obamacare will probably never disappear. In 2005, 70 years after the establishment of Social Security, confident Republicans sought to privatize the hallowed program. That, too, was a painful failure. And there is a lesson in this. While elections swing back and forth between right and left, there is a reason that the United States is more humane place today than it was 25 or 50 years ago. Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare have survived. Legalized child labor, supply-side economics, and unlimited pollution have withered. Ideas that bring real improvement to peoples’ lives have more staying power than ideas that do not.

Obamacare has brought life-changing access to modern medical care to 20 million Americans. It will endure."

Yet there is that other reality to face, and it becomes starker every day.  Check out this remarkable opening to Eugene Robinson's Washington Post column this morning:

"The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive.

I wish that were hyperbole. The problem is not just that President Trump is selfish, insecure, egotistical, ignorant and unserious. It is that he neither fully grasps nor minimally respects the concept of honor, without which our governing system falls apart. He believes “honorable” means “obsequious in the service of Trump.” He believes everyone else’s motives are as base as his.

The Trump administration is, indeed, like the court of some accidental monarch who is tragically unsuited for the duties of his throne. However long it persists, we must never allow ourselves to think of the Trump White House as anything but aberrant. We must fight for the norms of American governance lest we forget them in their absence."

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