Sunday, May 27, 2018
Opinion

The horrors of Obamacare

We are nine months into the era of Obamacare, and so far, it looks like a success. Between the state exchanges, healthcare.gov, and the Medicaid expansion, an estimated 17.2 million people have received health insurance under the law. The percentage of Americans without health insurance has dipped to 13.4 percent, down 3.7 percentage points.

But for some people, Obamacare is still the worst thing to happen to the United States. Last year, Ben Carson — the famed neurosurgeon turned conservative celebrity — called the Affordable Care Act "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." He's not alone in that assessment. Across the country, conservatives have fallen over themselves to denounce Obamacare in the most extreme terms. Which raises a question: In the fight for most outlandish comparison, who wins? Carson is a strong contender, but he has a few able competitors.

Obamacare vs. the Fugitive Slave Act. Who wins? Obamacare. On two occasions, Republicans have denounced the Affordable Care Act as worse than the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which — among other provisions — punished anyone who aided a slave. New Hampshire state Rep. Bill O'Brien, during a rally last August, summed up Obamacare this way: "It is a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African-Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to ... slave states.''

Obamacare vs. Dred Scott. Who wins for evil? Obamacare. "Worse than slavery" seems to be the most popular right-wing description for a law that subsidizes health insurance for low- and middle-income Americans. Take Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who attacked the Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare as akin to Dred Scott v. Sandford. "The liberal blogosphere apparently thinks the constitutional debate is over," he wrote in an op-ed for USA Today. "I wonder whether they would have had that opinion the day after the Dred Scott decision."

Obamacare vs. the Holocaust. Who wins for misery? Obamacare. Take Idaho state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, who warned that Obama would eventually establish a socialized health care system: "The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange.''

Not to be outdone was Stacey Campfield, a Republican state senator in Tennessee. "Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare," she wrote, "is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for 'train rides' for Jews in the 40s."

Obamacare vs. all of the bad things. Who wins for depravity? Obamacare. In a grammatically challenged tweet, North Carolina state Sen. Bob Bucho dropped the mic on the legislation: "Justice Robert's pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined."

There you have it. Yeah, the Nazis and the Soviets murdered millions of people. But still, there's nothing worse than a universal health insurance law.

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