Friday, November 8, 2013

The Health of the State

If nothing else, the press is having a field day, or a month anyway, with the government shutdown and now the contretemps over the health care website and law. I'm sure you've read the articles and have seen the overblown videos from from both sides of the political divide. There aren't more for me to add.

What's been lost in the tree-to-tree debate is the forest of actual health care and the health of United States citizens. Yes, President Obama should have said that those people whose insurance policies do not meet the minimum standards set by the ACA would indeed need to upgrade them. That inattention to detail is exactly what can derail a noble point, especially given the rabid opposition he faces in Congress. But the larger point is that more people will have better health plans, and, presumably, better health.

The other issue that's been buried is the relative success of the exchanges in states that have functioning representative democracies and not one-party GOP monopolies who don't seem to care whether their poorest residents get Medicaid relief or, in the case of New Jersey, a governor who aspires to national office. In states such as New York, Oregon, Kentucky and California, people are signing up for health care and, for the most part, are finding it both easy and cost-effective to do so (OK,'s a link).

Which proves that the law is working and that it's here to stay and that ultimately it will do what it set out to do and the GOP knows it. That's why they only have the political issue to focus on. By next October, the ACA will be a net plus for the Democrats. The website will be fixed and more people will be demanding that all states fully cover their Medicaid populations.

There will be no place to hide for those who believe that it's an American right to be sick and have other people pay for it, or for those who perversely call it freedom when people are denied access to a government entitlement like Medicaid, or who say it's un-American for the government to provide access to checkups, physicals, reproductive health or to have insurance companies cover people with preexisting conditions.

I've always believed that if you do the right thing, eventually the people in your orbit will notice and reward you for it, even if at times you are punished for your good deeds. The health care law and the sentiment behind it is worthy, moral, ethical and in the best sense of the word, healthy. This, in the end, is what will ensure its success.

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