A House of Reprehensibles

The so-called Republican members of the US House have moved forward with a plan to defund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They have done this without even a feint toward repairing its faults before or now, nor with a whiff of trying to replace it.

The resolution, H.J.RES. 59 (Library of Congress: Thomas: H.J.RES. 59 of the 113th Congress), is meant to fund the government for the next year. But it’s a bit like the gun from The Fifth Element, the ZF-1 (YouTube: (excerpted from The Fifth Element) little red button of the bottom).

The nation has a healthcare problem, well documented, and obvious to anyone willing to look. The ACA, imperfect as it is, will improve the number of covered individuals. Will lower costs, if only marginally. It should be replaced with something better (indeed, it came with a five year period to implement and several prominent extensions have been granted to select interests, a jarring clue that it isn’t the right course). But it is simply irresponsible, it is reprehensible, to simply try to strike the funding for it.

The majority has failed in their duties, repeatedly. Their broken-record activity of trying to simply elide from the books this attempt to improve healthcare is simply obtuse. It’s bad politics. The supporters of the effort, bless their hearts, should be lining up behind an alternative at the very least. Should be fighting for something.

That’s what the tombstone for the GOP will read: “Here lies a bunch of bones from those who forgot how to fight for anything, who died fighting against everything.” And that day cannot come too soon: we need a real conservative party to fight for ideas alongside a vibrant liberal party fighting for theirs. And together they can shape the country for the better.

Like the Syrian escape hatch, the Republicans need to exercise a quick pivot before they cross too far across a red line. But, instead they have repeated empty rhetoric.

We have learned lessons from the ACA passage, the most prominent which should be not to promise the status quo in the face of a corrupt status quo. Many opponents of the law have latched onto the claim that people would keep their insurance, which in fact did shape the law’s construction for the worse.

Any law that takes a half-decade to implement is either too much or not enough. The ACA is definitely both. And extensions for protected interests only fuels the divisiveness amongst our countrymen. The ACA should have been a unifying act, removing barriers between different groups of healthcare customers.

And so on. But again, none of these nuances, absolutely not one single idea of improvement or replacement, has been forwarded by the House Republicans. Their desperation is telling. Their constituents have been bombarded by rhetoric against the ACA from extremist media sources, who themselves offer no alternative ideas. The leadership, unable to push for ideas in a space devoid of them, is left with the choice to rally against the law, holding a basket full of air.

The White House has offered a small window between shutdown and full funding, quoting:

The Administration is willing to support a short-term continuing resolution to allow critical
Government functions to operate without interruption […]

Read: “if you guys are this dumb, we can pass something at the zero hour to avert true disaster, and then clean up your mess later.” Indeed, we will be cleaning up the dysfunctional mess of our governments and businesses for the foreseeable future, even as they explore strange new disasters, to seek out new botches and new catastrophes, to boldly fuck up what no one has fucked up before.