The site uses cookies that you may not want. Continued use means acceptance. For more information see our privacy policy.

Alternate Reality: If Obama Signed the Obamacare Repeal

Some thoughts about how badly it would hurt the GOP if Obama actually signed their Obamacare repeal.

The Republicans have again voted to repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), but this time they did so through a reconciliation measure that allowed the Senate to avoid a filibuster.

It wouldn’t actually repeal the ACA word for word, but it would merely defund it. Things like a bar against discrimination for pre-existing conditions would remain, but healthcare subsidies for everyone from the working poor to the middle-class would evaporate. The mandate would remain, but would become toothless.

What if Obama signed the bill (leaving aside the part of it that would eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood)?

According to the bill, some provisions are repealed effective immediately, while others like the subsidies and tax credits are only effective as of 2018. So, at least there wouldn’t be outright chaos as millions of people tried to figure out if they still could afford coverage in 2016.

But there would be a major campaign against the GOP from the medical establishment, including doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. If the repeal went through, it would be perhaps the best medicine (other than laughter) for the GOP: finding out what happens, Larry, when they fuck millions of strangers in the ass.

Of the many times the GOP has tried to repeal Obamacare, they have not once had any chance of success. But now, all it takes is a single signature by the president to show them all how ridiculous, how idiotic they really are.

Of course Obama will not sign the bill. And for good reason. But if he did, it would poison the GOP. They would be driving the porcelain schoolbus for the rest of the year, into 2017 and beyond. Their stump speeches would be accompanied by puke breaks with little elephant-emblazoned barf bags.

The thing is, nobody in the GOP really wants the ACA repealed. Not the GOP, who love the thing. They think it’s a key issue to voters. They think it has legs. The only thing the GOP is doing through its continuous, bizarre crusade is to force the democrats to act as though the ACA is anything more than a mediocre attempt at healthcare reform.

The ACA isn’t horrible, but it’s a far cry from what the American people deserve in reform. It’s a step in the right direction, but the race is a marathon. And the GOP is calling for America to call it quits, sit on the couch, and watch a rerun of Andy Griffith.

Public Perception’s Role

Our problems are all the same, risk balancing. But emotion and profit cloud our judgments, and we suffer for it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finalized their latest report on climate change. It’s a very complex issue, involving a very complex system of input energy from the sun, water in various forms, air and water currents, reflectivity and absorption of electromagnetic radiation, and biological lifecycles. Farming techniques. Transportation and energy generation. Fossil fuel extraction and use. Market economics.

Recently ProPublica ran a series of articles on Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, or Tylenol™) (ProPublica: Series: 20 September 2013: Overdose), regarding the dangers surrounding one of the most commonly consumed medications in the world.

The Affordable Care Act’s exchanges and open enrollment period will begin on Tuesday 1 October 2013. But will it mean the end of the republic? Or a great new day for the health of the people?

Nicotine-containing liquids and cartridges of vaporizers will likely soon be deemed as tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In preparation for the release, 40 attorneys general and a bevy of supposed public health organizations have rallied their mouthpieces to call for tough regulations.

People with guns keep killing people, stoking more and more debate over the role of guns and gun owners in society.

These things have in common one key factor: public perception, or at least the appearance of public perception.

At least in the case of Tylenol™, most people believe it’s safe. They believe it is safer than it is, at least in some instances. So, the argument goes, oughtn’t people be made aware of the exact dangers?

Ah, but the debate counters, it might stop people from using it out of fear, and that could indeed lead to harm, too. For example, someone might forgo a regiment of an analgesic like Tylenol™ when they have a high fever, and that could make matters worse.

And there we have the gist of these issues: risk balancing. Public perception deems some risks unacceptable, others acceptable.

But that’s not the nature of these debates, unfortunately. If these debates were predicated on finding our best tolerance for risks, we would be successful. But these debates are muddied by non-risk issues, such as profits for certain industries, or emotional appeals by people who have been victims or lost loved ones to particular diseases or behaviors.

The result is further muddiment: the side believing that the risk is too high or too low, faced with opposition using emotion or profit motives, slings back. Escalation.

But one of the keys is the tendency to equate property with self, and to equate company or incorporation with family or nation. That is, people will defend land as though it is an extension of the self, and will defend their employer as though it were their kin. To the extent that they put these things above the common good.

This is all seen as rather normal and in some cases laudable.

But the real measure of truth is putting the data forward in as clear a way as possible. Letting people decide their own risk tolerance, where possible. We don’t see that happening as much as it could. We see the opposite: companies trying to thwart the scientific evaluation of climate change. No improved information on the potential dangers of over-the-counter pain relievers. Sad attempts to demonize health insurance reform efforts, rather than the facts about the options for future reforms, including tradeoffs. Efforts to portray nicotine vaporizers as just as bad as smoking, undermining public health. And gun debates that focus on everything except the underlying problems that lead to violence: economics and mental health.

We seem to avoid real solutions in favor of addressing our unhappiness that our problems exist.