The reason Republicans hate Obamacare boils down to racism, as Republican positions so often do. They hate it because they think health care is a privilege, not a right. If you can’t afford healthcare, it’s because you don’t work hard enough, or you would have enough money for insurance. That being so, the government shouldn’t be giving it to you.
They hate it because it’s “socialist”, a charge that every person living in one of the many democratic countries more advanced than we are, who enjoys superior health care at half what we pay, would find utterly mysterious. What makes it “socialist”? The fact that everyone can get health care when they need it?
The idea that anyone who can’t afford our expensive private for-profit insurance should be denied health care altogether is simply more Republican dog-whistle racism. Who is naturally lazy and inferior and unwilling to work hard? Why, African-Americans, of course. Maybe Latinos too. Everyone knows that. So why should we be paying for their health care insurance? Don’t think there aren’t Republicans who would make that claim. There are. Out loud. For the public record.
The idea that anyone
who can’t afford insurance
should be denied health care at all
is dog-whistle racism.
The argument is bogus on several counts. First, there is no evidence that African-Americans (or Latinos, or anyone else) are lazy and inferior. None. In fact, around the world, poverty itself is related to long working hours.
There is no question that blacks, and other people of color, have been the victims of hundreds of years of ill treatment by European-Americans, starting with slavery, and continuing today with frequent shooting deaths of unarmed, non-threatening black men, and far too much lack of employment opportunity in anything but minimum-wage jobs.
There is deep prejudice against blacks in every part of the country. The recent federal report on Ferguson, Missouri documents that city policies and police actions victimized blacks, essentially requiring them to subsidize the city budget, and particularly victimizing the poorest.
We also forget our sordid history of murders and lynchings of Mexicans (my nomination for the hardest working people on the planet) driven off the ranches they had managed for centuries when the US absorbed the present Southwest states, as well as the ongoing ill-treatment of Spanish-speaking immigrants.
Republicans cannot claim that all the many millions of American workers who cannot afford our expensive private health care insurance are lazy, and at the same time claim that the $7.25/hour minimum wage that so many of the poor earn is a living wage. Yet they do. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker flat-out states that a minimum wage is a living wage.
Republicans cannot claim that those
who can’t afford insurance are lazy
and also claim that minimum wage
is a living wage.
One would like to remind the governor that the present minimum wage has a third of the value it did when it became law, lo those many years ago, and it wasn’t particularly generous even then. I suppose it’s overkill to also remind him that his punitive and dogmatic economic policies have dragged Wisconsin’s fiscal condition down to its most dismal level in at least half a century.
The average minimum-wage worker is someone in her thirties, not a 16-year-old high school kid. The full time earnings of someone making minimum wage is $15,080. The average cost of insurance outside of the ACA is about $15,000 annually per family. That’s why the working poor didn’t have health insurance before the ACA. Most of the companies paying minimum wage will not allow their employees to work full time anyway. Laziness never enters the picture.
The conclusion is inescapable: the Republican hatred of the Affordable Care Act is pure hypocrisy, based on bogus beliefs about its beneficiaries that are belied by the facts every step of the way. It is this kind of thinking that keeps the working poor at subsistence level, and one step away from an illness that can easily end in bankruptcy and death, ruining the family’s finances and opportunities for generations.