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Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Republicans give lots of reasons for their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Only two really matter.

One is politics. The other is money. More precisely, big-business money.

Like Social Security and Medicare, the expansion of health insurance coverage is making voters more predisposed to support the politicians that championed the law — and they’re all Democrats.

Meanwhile, the more Americans benefit from this new law, the more Republicans are being forced to modify and mellow their rejection of it.

Within a few years, it may become as politically suicidal to openly attack the Affordable Care Act as it would be to call for abolishing Medicare.

Of course, Republicans can’t say they oppose the reform law often called “Obamacare” because it boosts the Democratic Party’s prospects. So they say it violates states’ rights. They say it infringes on individual liberty. They say it hurts small businesses. They say it will cost Americans their jobs.

None of these charges is withstanding scrutiny.

The law was written with states in mind. That’s why states can build their own insurance exchanges. It doesn’t erode individual liberty. The Supreme Court said so. And while it will be some time before we know about the law’s full economic impact, the evidence so far suggests that it puts more money into the pockets of people who will spend it, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Wasn’t that the same report that said Obama’s expansion of health insurance coverage is killing jobs? Indeed, many news outlets reported exactly that. But that’s a misreading of the report.

The CBO found that some workers — mothers with small children, students, and those close to retirement — have voluntarily left the workplace, because they didn’t need a job to maintain access to quality health care anymore.

Once the Affordable Care Act began to take effect, these workers exercised their newfound economic freedom by choosing to quit. They’re now caring for their kids and grandchildren, focusing on their own education, simply opting to enjoy their golden years, or starting their own businesses.

That’s something to celebrate. The critique that the Affordable Care Act somehow reduces the incentive to work doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The voluntary exit of more than 2 million workers from the American labor force will benefit many people. These workers are free to follow their dreams. If they are providing care, they will ease our caregiving deficit. And other Americans seeking work may finally find a job.

At the same time, money saved on health care can be spent on things that small businesses sell. Yes, I know. Republicans claim higher wages are bad for small businesses, and because small businesses are the engine of the economy, Obama’s expansion of health insurance is a job-killer. That’s just wrong.

Wages aren’t the top concern of small businesses. Taxes and poor sales are. So with more money in more pockets, sales receipts should climb.

When you strip away the rhetoric and take a good hard look at what the Affordable Care Act actually does, it sure looks like the new law raises wages and increases workers’ bargaining power.

John Stoehr is managing editor of The Washington Spectator. Follow him on Twitter and Medium.

Cross-posted from Other Words

Photo: ProgressOhio via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Dominick Vila

    Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act is below expectations, not because insurance companies are boycotting it, but as a result of the administration not being able to reach the folks that would benefit from ACA the most, and because of the effectiveness of red state governments to do everything they can to ensure ACA does not succeed.

    • idamag

      The United States is the only industrialized country, in the world, that cares about money more than people’s health.

  • lemstoll

    There is nothing below expectations. The administration is reaching people, and they are signing up….give it time.

  • idamag

    Before some fringe lunatics does it, I need to get the jump and say, “What about Benghazi?” “More winter weather coming.” “What about Benghazi?” “Green Bay Packers 7, Chicago Bears 5.” “What about Benghazi?” “Man bites dog.” “What about Benghazi?”

  • idamag

    The real reason they blocked the ACA is President Obama wanted it. Remember Mitch McConnell’s famous words, “The Republicans number one goal is to make Obama a one-term president.” President Obama cannot be allowed to succeed in anything.

    • Redsfanx

      You are correct. That’s what it all comes down to. The Repubs just can’t give any credit at all to President Obama.

  • elw

    The GOP and the Right-wing media will continue spin facts and make up stories to make Obamacare look bad, no matter how many people benefit from it. The “we are going to take back the Senate” game they are playing now is not that much different than the “Romney is going to win” game they played in the 2012 election and look what happen there. The bottom line is the election is the Democrat’s to lose. You have to remember that while it is true that the Presidents approval numbers are low, they are still much higher than the oppositions and there are still more registered Democrats than Republicans. If we all vote they cannot win – so vote yourself and give some time to you local Democratic Chapter to help them get out the vote.

    • Sand_Cat

      Unfortunately, the Dems have proved very adept at throwing away advantages and losing elections lately.

      • elw

        What elections have they lost?

    • Redsfanx

      But the Democratic faithful have to stand up for the ACA in order to keep the Senate and hopefully take the House in 2014.

      • elw

        Of course they do and they will. The ACA will more than prove itself, do you really think anyone in Washington has the to take health coverage away from the 13 million people who are benefiting in one way or another from new coverage under the ACA. The ACA is here to stay and the GOP knows it.

  • plc97477

    I think the author found the reason for the gotp being against the law. It gives workers more bargaining power something repugs are dead set against.

  • Coffee Fiend

    Since our minds cannot predict their own advance, civilization’s progress depends upon making the most of the circumstances we face.