Obamacare: The Worst Thing Ever?

Over the last five years, we have become accustomed to assertions from the GOP and the Tea Party Movement that President Obama and his policies are detrimental to our health, wealth, and anything else we treasure.  The current Exhibit A on the subject comes to us via social media.

This past Sunday morning (7:41 AM – 15 Dec 2013), North Carolina State Senator Robert Rucho, a former dentist who represents the state’s 39th Senate District, which includes Mecklenburg County, tweeted:

  • “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then (sic) the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined.”

There has been a fair amount of follow-up on this subject, including a campaign designed to promote shame, or otherwise persuade Senator Rucho to apologize.  Not surprisingly, he has resisted efforts to make him comply.  In fact, on Sunday afternoon (1:14 PM – 15 Dec 2013), Senator Rucho responded to his critics with a follow-up tweet making the following point”

“Those that tweeted, put your thinking caps back on: “The PEN is mightier than the SWORD.”  Edward Bulwar-Lytton (sic), 1839.  But surely you knew that.”

In the most basic parlance, the Senator framed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a way that likened it to the devastation promulgated by Hitler, Stalin, and al-Qaeda…except, in his assessment, it is worse.  Nazis and Stalinists perpetrated oppressive regimes and killed, or caused the death of millions of people across the Continent of Europe.  Closer to home, we learned that al-Qaeda was responsible for the atrocities of 9/11, when 2,996 died immediately during the attack, including citizens from more than 90 countries.  Authorities accounted for 6,294 people treated in area hospitals for injuries from the 9/11 attacks, just in New York City.

By contrast, the ACA, or Obamacare, as the law is known familiarly, would insure nearly 40 million Americans who currently do not have health insurance, extend pre-existing condition coverage, and lower premiums by as much as $2,500.  The relative power of Pens and swords notwithstanding, the Senator’s metaphor does not seem at all analogous in this instance.

Perhaps some of the most significant news associated with his pronouncement is that he expanded the list of culprits for this damaging scourge, to include not just the President, but also the acknowledged conservative Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts.

For a denizen of the Right to target this POTUS as the man responsible for desecration and disintegration of the fulcrum of the Free World is easy, almost axiomatic.  Painting the current Chief Justice with the same brush is more than a little surprising, but perhaps simply emblematic of the multitudinous desperate measures that Right Wing haters have taken to marginalize, defeat, and depose this president, since the day he took Office.

The recent attack on the ACA is neither the first, nor the only target upon which Senator Rucho has trained his sights.  He has also:

  • Sponsored a bill to restrict North Carolina from setting up Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges
  • Rejected Medicaid expansion, which blocked nearly 377,000 North Carolinians from Medicaid coverage
  • Referred to a bill to slash the State’s unemployment program a “re-employment bill”
  • Supported implementing a regressive sales tax
  • Opposed immigrants taking up slots in NC Community Colleges

Continuing to respond to negative feedback, Senator Rucho, on Monday, clarified that he was referring to the economic damage caused by the ACA, compared to the economic damage of other events.  By doing so, he narrowed the window of focus, but it is still a stretch to suggest that the combined deleterious economic impact of the Holocaust, Stalin’s purge, and 9/11, is less than that caused by Obamacare.  As we Southerners are fond of saying, “That dog don’t hunt.”

In the final analysis, there are many ways to look at this latest hyperbolic expression.  It may be par for the course, it may be the logical extension of previous outrageous partisan assertions, or it may be the most ridiculous statement you have heard lately.  I do not know what the Senator thinks, but it sounds as though he is suggesting Obamacare: The Worst Thing Ever?” 

I’m done; holla back!

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