State, national columnists

Health-care plan is working despite the efforts by Obama haters

By From page A7 | April 03, 2014

For some time I’ve wondered just how successful the Affordable Care Act would have been – how many more uninsured people it would have helped already – if certain powerful politicians loved this country more than they hated its president.

I don’t use the word “hate” loosely or hyperbolically.

I honestly believe that the feelings certain Washington and state “leaders” have toward President Barack Obama go far beyond simply despising or resenting him. Hate, therefore, seems to be the appropriate word.

Yet, despite that barrage of opposition on practically everything the president attempts to do for the betterment of this country and its people, Obama continues to forge ahead, as he did on the economy and now with health care.

His detractors have tried everything they could to defeat what they disparaging labeled “Obamacare,” something I predict they will come to regret. They have rejoiced each time there was a snag in the implementation of the new law.

Many governors, like Rick Perry in Texas, where there are more uninsured people than anywhere else in the United States, were quick to announce they would not participate by setting up insurance exchanges. And even after the federal government stepped in to do what the state wouldn’t, Perry continued to throw up roadblocks for those trying to help people get insurance.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, was correct when she said during a visit to Texas last month that “government officials” were hindering the sign-up process by blocking navigators from getting information to people, and by putting out a “barrage of misinformation.”

It has been obvious for some time now that the great fear among these politicians and conservative pundits was not that Obamacare would fail, but that it would succeed.

I can only imagine how they must feel after watching people line up around the country Monday in an attempt to register for healthcare on the last day of enrollment, and to see the number of participants swell over the 7 million mark, which was thought unreachable just a few days ago.

While it is way too early to declare the ACA a success or suggest that there won’t be some problems with it in the future, it is clear that the Obama administration has made it possible for many more Americans to have health insurance.

And the president did it in spite of the relentless naysayers who constantly put their party before the people.

Support for the program does break down among party lines, but now there’s evidence that Americans overall are more accepting of it. A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 49 percent support the law while 48 percent oppose it, the first time in a long time that those for Obamacare outnumbered those against.

The poll indicates that 76 percent of Democrats (up 11 percent since January) support the law, while 79 percent of Republicans oppose it.

Republicans have been counting on negative feelings about the ACA to be the dominant issue in this year’s midterm elections. They have their sights set on capturing a majority in the Senate and significantly increasing their numbers in the House.

If that were to happen, they most certainly would be even more of a hindrance to this president and to what is in the best interest of the country.

So expect the “barrage of misinformation” to keep coming – from Washington and Austin – as it is about all the Obama haters have to offer, especially now that they see the healthcare plan they tried to sabotage is not about to go away.

Bob Ray Sanders is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers may write to him at: 400 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102, or via email at [email protected].

Bob Ray Sanders


Discussion | 22 comments

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 12:27 am

    Good to see a beacon of light coming out of Texas.

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  • TylerApril 03, 2014 - 6:32 am

    Right. I lost my plan. I pay more now for a lesser plan with the same high deductible I had before. I still will go bankrupt if I have a major problem that I choose to have treated. I have no feelings for Obama one way or the other. Supporters of Ocare seem to be either employees or new MediCal enrollees and are unaffected by the tremendous cost increases, and I do believe this legislation is a way of buying their votes.

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  • JBDragonApril 03, 2014 - 1:04 pm

    Here where I work, we had Heath insurance! Guess what, after they crunched the numbers and half could get subsidies, they decided to cancel Heath insurance! I sure can't afford to pay for it now. I may have to get a second job just to afford to pay for it. So a big middle finger to Obama! Not to mention this really is completely unconstitutional! Ya, we, those that actually have to PAY are slaves to the Government! Under threat from the IRS to have it or go to jail with a gun pointed at you. That's how it works. This is a huge stinking pile if crap. If you can kept your health insurance and doctor is another big freeken lie.

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 3:36 pm

    JBD: Let me get this straight. Your employer canceled the group plan you had and cast you all onto the open market. What did it cost you before, and what does comparable coverage cost you now, assuming no subsidy?

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  • Mr. PracticalApril 03, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    rlw, you still don't get that the dollar amount someone is or was paying is none of your business and is an inappropriate question. Focus on what he's trying to tell us. The law caused his employers plan to go up and the employer felt they could no longer keep the plan. For those that were able to get subsidies, they may or may not end up better off after dealing with the bureaucratic mess of the exchange. For JB and many others, they will pay more and might possibly no longer be able to afford insurance. And to add insult to injury, they'll pay a penalty.

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    BS. First of all, JBD is anonymous. Second, if you enter this forum asserting something is to expensive for you, you should expect to be asked for some figures, especially as many of these "horor stories" have been shown to be puffed up if not totally false.

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  • Mr. PracticalApril 03, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    No one is anonymous here. If he wants to offer the info, no problem. But for you to dismiss his comments because he doesn't, that's your loss. There are millions of these stories out there. Most have not been proven false. You're believing what you want to believe.

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  • The MisterApril 03, 2014 - 6:53 am

    Sounds like old Bobby Ray is all hat and no cattle!

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  • Teach5thApril 03, 2014 - 7:04 am

    Bobby Ray - Just a question or two - 1) how many more Americans have insurance now that didn't have it before (and I'm not talking about free Medicaid)? 2). If you were going to have to pay another tax (penalty fee) if you didn't sign up ($95 or 1% of your adjusted gross) in addition to all of the other taxes we have to pay, wouldn't you grudgingly sign up, too? --- As a Christian, I'm not a hater, but that doesn't mean I can't disagree with a president and his party doing everything they can to ruin this country. Also, am I a "hater" because I don't appreciate being lied to? There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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  • DanielApril 03, 2014 - 7:15 am

    This pig was sold that it was going to cover 40 million uninsured Americans only 2% of the population signed up and only 800k have even paid the premiums, we were told over and that we could keep our plans, doctors and that we would save $2,500 each, they were all lies. You have to be a delusional idiot to actually believe this catastrophe is working.

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  • Mr. SmithApril 03, 2014 - 7:59 am

    It is often said that, "Everything is bigger in Texas." I agree--if we are talking about nuts like Mr. Sanders (can't use the term I would like to use here). So let me get this straight: If one believes that Obamacare (he proudly owns the designation now) is a disasterous piece of legislation for the overall well-being of America, then by definition, that person must hate President Obama. GMAB!

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    Mr.S: Can't blame Obama and Democrats for abandoning "ObamaCare" when Republicans were spending so much time and money dragging it through the mud that people preferred ACA over ObamaCare, even though they are the same thing! Now that it doesn't matter so much, we can go back to calling it ObamaCare if we want. But this does illustrate how vacuous the Republican arguments are.

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  • Mr. PracticalApril 03, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    rlw, some people not knowing that ObamaCare and the ACA are the same thing has nothing to with Republicans efforts to stop a bad law. It has everything to do with those people not paying attention and educating themselves.

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 1:26 pm

    Mr.S: So what did Mr. Sanders say that was so nutty?

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  • Mr. SmithApril 03, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    Rlw: I gather from your question that you agree with Mr. Sanders' allegation. All I can say is, "Wow."

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    Mr.S: What, that some people hate Obama and that colors everything they see? Yes, I might take issue that there is a material difference between "despise" and "hate." But I don't question at all that the emotional anti-Obama feelings many people have cause them to be irrationally hypercritical of everything Obama does. As for the politicians, they may not "hate" Obama as much as they cynically exploit those feelings in others for political gain. Rick Perry really is hurting the people of his state. In contrast, I admire what Kentucky Republicans have done for their state with ObamaCare.

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  • rlw895April 03, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    But of course, Kentucky got much better treatment during the Civil War than Texas. Texas is probably still POed about that. Did you know that the last legal slaves in America were in Kentucky?

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  • DanielApril 03, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Obamacare is working? For who? Where's the 40,000 million that were supposed to be covered, how about the premium drops of $2,500 for everyone and keeping your own doctor and plan? Are you delusional also or just naive?

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  • Jason KnowlesApril 03, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Daniel, can 40 million people do anything overnight, other than sleep? This is a massive undertaking that will take time to come to fruition. Yes, the ACA has many provisions and holes that will need adjusting as it evolves, but it is, for the most part, helping the very people it was designed to. I'm not a blind cheerleader for this law as I know some people whose insurance providers dropped their previous plan and replaced it with a higher premium one, but the insurance companies CHOSE to do that. That is not the fault of the provisions of the ACA, that is the fault of greedy HMO's.

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  • Salty DogApril 03, 2014 - 9:16 am

    Jason get your head out of the sand this has been a law since 2010 and it is still not right how much time should we spend on this to as you say get it right. The President promised people would not loose their coverage and they did. He also promised that you could keep your doctor but you can't. You have to go on plans that offer much higher deductibles. You also say that it is the insurance companies that choose to put people on plans with the higher premiums. That is because the government makes them put people on the new plans. Maybe if Nancy Pelosi would have taken the time to read the bill we would not have these problems. Did it ever cross your mind that she did know what was in the bill because she and all the other liberal democrats want more government control of our lives.

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  • Jason KnowlesApril 03, 2014 - 11:58 am

    The Federal Highway Act was supposed to take 10 years, Dog. It meant with much resistance, too. It passed by a mere 41-39 vote in the Senate. How exactly does the ACA enact government control over our lives? By making us buy health insurance against our will? I have insurance on my car via government mandate (state). Is that controlling my life? You live in a very black and white world, Dog.

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  • Mr. PracticalApril 03, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Jason, the insurance carriers had two options. Either amend current plans to comply or cancel and offer already approved plans that are in compliance. Either way, the outcome is the same. The same higher rate, and/or the same higher out-of-pocket.

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