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Saturday, October 21, 2017

But why do self-styled conservatives continue to hate health care reform with such ferocity? They may not care that it is truly “pro-life” and “pro-family,” with the clear promise of saving thousands of lives annually among families that were previously uninsured.  Yet they should surely appreciate a statute that promotes competition where there was none, improving services and reducing prices through freer enterprise.

Solving that conundrum exposes one of the ugly little secrets of the Republican right today – and one of many reasons why that movement no longer merits the honorable title of “conservative.” For what we can now observe in practice is that the Republicans perversely prefer a corporate marketplace without competition over a marketplace with competition overseen by government. While European conservatives have long accepted the need for strictly regulated markets, especially in health care, their American counterparts would rather allow corporate power to run unchecked at whatever cost.

It is an ideological preference that damages public health, ruins finances both public and private, and actually kills people every day, but it also swells corporate profits – which seems to be the primary value cherished by Obamacare’s partisan opponents. Such destructive irrationality is what passes for “conservatism” in our time.

So the congressional Republicans persistently attack and undermine reform, as they did by passing a resolution this week to delay the law’s individual mandate. Rather than do anything productive, they proceeded with that meaningless action. And they did so despite warnings from the insurance industry that a delay would only increase rates for everyone.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have long reassured each other that the law would gain popularity someday. But if present trends continue, the public may come to realize as early as next year that the benefits of Obamacare greatly outweigh the flaws – and that the law’s opponents offer nothing to most Americans except higher rates, less coverage, and a sicker, sadder, harder life.


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