Obamacare’s Glorious Launch

October 2, 2013 3:57 PM31 comments

nfbentonpicOctober 1, 2013 was a glorious day. Although some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, went into effect when it was signed into law in March 2010 – passing both houses of Congress and subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – on Oct. 1 came its biggest component. Everyone now has the ability to obtain health insurance, coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014, by signing up, comparing prices and levels of coverage, and obtaining an affordable policy, including the benefit of a government subsidy for lower income persons.

October 1 was a day that will be long remembered, like August 14, 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act, propelled by the first-ever woman member of a presidential cabinet, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and like July 30, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the act creating Medicare and Medicaid.

As of this Oct. 1, every American now has access to health care, a truly revolutionary development and something that no one thought possible, given the ferocity of the push-back by the nation’s wealthiest, Wall Street-based radical free market types, including the health provider industry. Similar ferocious opposition erupted when the Social Security and Medicare laws were signed, and even an old fashioned military coup was organized, but quashed, during FDR’s first year when he took the first steps to redress the impact of the Great Depression.

The current push-back rages, now taking the form of the shutdown of the federal government and some really ugly consequences if extended to a default on the national debt later this month. It has a “coup d’etat” quality to it.

There’s no doubt that the Tea Party component in the Congress, responsible for this shutdown and the threatened default, is the brainchild of anti-regulation, radical free market, powerful uber-wealthy interests.

The Tea Party was called into being in the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 in opposition to his stimulus measures to recover from the Great Recession. Its founding Wall Street backers created and financed, playing for popular support upon a combination of race-based sentiments against Obama and the economic impact of the Great Recession, a “grass tops” movement orchestrated by right-winger Dick Armey’s “Freedom Works” operation.

By acting as a radical phalanx within the Republican Party, though a minority it seized control of the GOP by carefully-orchestrated campaigns to unseat mainstream Republican lawmakers in key races across the land. They used those “lessons” to intimidate and bring the entire GOP leadership under its sway.

Frightened and teary-eyed House Majority Leader John Boehner is now shaking in his boots, afraid to bring the Senate’s “clean” vote to fund the government to a floor vote in the House. If he did, there would be enough non-Tea Party Republican votes to pass it.

So, it ultimately comes down to this: bullies like the Tea Party thugs in the House require for their success that fear and cowardice prevail in their wake. Thus far, it has.

Despite the disingenuous claims that they don’t want this government shutdown, the Tea Partiers in the Congress have been fully documented eagerly promising such a shutdown during their campaigns in 2010, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow exhibited in a news segment in the wee hours after major portions of the government, in fact, ground to a halt this week.

They’ve wanted this result, all along, used to force the president and Congressional Democrats to cave in on the implementation of the Affordable Health Care law. Only a complete capitulation by Obama and the Democrats could have prevented the shutdown, and given the zealous nature of the Tea Party and the resolve of its uber-rich backers, there is no reason to believe they won’t march ahead to trigger a U.S. default on Oct. 17. They take joy from torching Washington, wider impacts be damned.

It is important to recognize why the Tea Party faction refuses to compromise on any of these matters: Ultimately, they and their backers perceive themselves orchestrating a “coup d’etat,” a takeover of government by a violent trashing of American democratic institutions. It can happen here.




  • Nicholas F. Benton is a Fifth Column Journ-O-List of the First Order. Tingles has nothing on this GUSH’er!

  • What an incredible non bias, in depth look at the issues surrounding Obamacare. Now, the only problem is that no one has read the thing.

    • In truth, a great many people have read the bill in it’s entirety. In fact, I know one such person. He’s a doctor who also teaches classes about the finances of our medical system at UCLA School of Medicine. Knowing this about him, I asked him what he thought about it a couple years ago. He said it had flaws and probably should have been done better, but that it seemed to him like it would be an improvement. Now you can call me a liar. Or you can say that he’s biased, and truth be told I know him as an aquaintence who always seemed genuine, but for all I know he could stand to gain something nefarious through the ACA and that’s why he supports it, but that seems very unlikely to me.

      I believe that he was correct based on what else I’ve read. I know people who will be adversely effected (only one, and frankly they can afford to have to pay a little more without any repercussion), and I know people who are grateful for it’s promise, and people who’ve benefitted from the parts that have been already been enacted (again only one). At the very least, it does not seem to be such a grave threat to the fabric of american society that all this is necessary.

      You’re correct, the article is clearly biased, but that doesn’t make all of it’s facts wrong. The Tea Party has been pining for this fight and threatening shut down, it’s no accident and there’s no way they can blame anybody else. They may not like the law, but what they are doing is way over the line for minority of legislators, who represent an even smaller minority of the American people. Bias or no, the facts are these. The bill passed a filibuster happy Senate and the House. It was signed into law by the President. It was upheld by a conservative Supreme Court. Most polls I’ve seen say clear majority of Americans don’t want the government shut down over the ACA, much less a default on our debt. Many polls show support for the law is slightly less than those against, this is true, but a closer look reveals something interesting. I’ve only seen two polls that ask *why* people don’t support the law, and both of them showed about 10-15% of the ~50% against, are against it because it doesn’t *go far enough*. There’s only around 35-40% who are against it because it’s too liberal. I found it interesting that a Fox poll showed that 10% more people favor the ACA over Obamacare. If that made you scratch your head, good. If it made sense, then I have surely wasted my time. Which is likely the case anyway…

    • Darrel Henschell

      The claim no one has read it, is again, right-wing nonsense.

  • Social Security…not sure that is the best comparison….working so far but kinda like a Ponzi scheme about to explode. SS initially non taxable until 1984.

    • Darrel Henschell

      SS is not a ponzi scheme. That’s a rightwing smear. Note:


      “There is no unsustainable progression driving the mechanism of a pay-as-you-go pension system, and so it is not a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.
      If the demographics of the population were stable, then a pay-as-you-go system would not have demographically-driven financing ups and downs, and no thoughtful person would be tempted to compare it to a Ponzi
      arrangement. However, since population demographics tend to rise and fall, the balance in pay-as-you-go systems tends to rise and fall as well. This
      vulnerability to demographic ups and downs is one of the problems with
      pay-as-you-go financing. But this problem has nothing to do with Ponzi schemes or any other fraudulent form of financing; it is simply the nature of
      pay-as-you-go systems.”

      • relax there Darrel…..where did you find that article?

        • You should really read the content and decide if it makes sense or not for yourself, and not write it off as false just because it’s explained by the government body who knows more about social security than anybody… social security. At any rate, here’s an article that explains what the social security site is saying more clearly. I hope you’ll read it.


          • my apologies, should not of used the word Ponzi.

          • I read the article and the last two sentences:
            “The American Social Security system has been in continuous successful operation since 1935. Charles Ponzi’s scheme lasted barely 200 days.”
            But the Social Security system is being funded by tax dollars. I am not saying it is a Ponzi scheme. I am just worried what is going to happen.

          • Darrel Henschell

            “‘Social Security system is being funded by tax dollars.”>>

            SS is self-funded and trillions in surplus. Without changes it can full fund for decades and then at 75% after that. It’s easy to fix, just stop letting the rich get a free ride on their income above $110k. Then it’s solvent for 75 years, which is as far as the eye can see.
            The problem is grotesque spending on the military, and profound waste on healthcare. We spend twice what our peer nations do and we get crappy results while leaving 48 million uncovered. All this to feed an enormous private greed machine that is sucking our precious healthcare dollars for no good reason.

          • trillions is surplus.?

          • Darrel Henschell

            “Social Security Has “A Large and Growing Surplus”
            “Today’s report from the Social Security Trustees
            shows that our Social Security system has a large and growing surplus. Unlike the banks, which nearly brought the economy to ruin, Social Security didn’t need a bailout. Its surplus has grown year after year, even during the Great
            Recession. The result of decades of foresight and planning, its cumulative surplus is projected to be $2.8 trillion in 2013, growing to $2.9 trillion by 2020. Social Security does not and cannot contribute to the deficit. Social Security will take in more money than it pays out, roughly $28 billion more in 2013. Social Security has a large surplus in 2013 because it has more than enough income from its three sources of revenue to cover its expenses — payroll contributions, interest payments on the $2.8 trillion invested in U.S. Treasury bonds and taxation of benefits.”

          • Darrel Henschell

            Your worries are not based in reality.

          • This is such a typical non apology. You used a word that means something completely different and much more nefarious Then you apologize for using the wrong word, instead of apologizing for just being wrong, as you should.

        • Darrel Henschell

          That article was originally posted here: http://www.ssa.gov/history/ponzi.htm
          But is no longer. I provided a link to a web archived version.
          The old “ponzi scheme” claim was a whopper started by Friedman. It’s not true and I respond to that when I see it.

          • Darrel Henschell

            This from the person that says; “stop linking to articles.”
            Insolvency just means more going out than going in. It doesn’t mean they can’t pay out almost all benefits and it doesn’t mean it can’t easily be fixed by slight tweaks (such as stopping the free ride on incomes above $110k). Medicare is a bigger problem, hence the need for the reforms of the ACA which add decades to it’s “solvency.”

          • Nicely done, he’s prolly off telling his conservative buddies how misinformed we are because we “read links and stuff”.

          • not really, most of my buddies are more left…at least socially but more fiscally conservative. Anyway, again I apologize for being so ignorant.

    • LOL. He complains about comparing apples to oranges, then goes on to compare the median 19 plans in the detailed exchange predictions to the five cheapest plans that he can find advertised on a website that sells insurance.

      Yes some people are going to pay more. Some people who were paying nothing are going to have to pay something. As stated in the forbes article (one of many hit pieces they’ve published about the ACA), the reason the rates are going up is “regulations”. I like how they use that word without explaining, making it seem as if it’s just a bunch pesky Big Government bureaucratic paperwork. The truth is that these people’s rates will go up because those regulations call for *increased coverage*. Yes, that steps on the toes of unregulated free market types, but the healthcare system is not just a regular part of the economy, or at least it shouldn’t be in a civilized society. Would you rather have some rates go up for people who can afford it (yes I’m one of them, and so are many of my peers and yet I only know one person adversely affected). It’s not perfect, anybody who claims it is is either disingenuous or uninformed. It’s a step up. Many more people will get affordable healthcare. That’s good in my book. I’d prefer single payer, but we’re just not there yet. We’ve begun to cling to defending the free market over defending personal freedoms. They are interlaced, but they are not the same, and I will always favor systems that favor the latter.

  • I think this might be the last stand of the majority of the Tea Party They are destroying a lot of lives and creating a huge divide in American politics.

  • Welcome to Socialism Comrades! Our Glorious Leader knows what’s best!

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