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].