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 â and theyâre 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 canât say they oppose the reform law often called âObamacareâ because it boosts the Democratic Partyâs 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 wasÂ written with states in mind. Thatâs why states can build their own insurance exchanges. It doesnât erodeÂ individual liberty. The Supreme Court said so. And while it will be some time before we know about the lawâs full economic impact, the evidence so far suggests that it puts more money into the pockets of people who will spend it, according toÂ a reportÂ by the Congressional Budget Office.
Wasnât that the same report that said Obamaâs expansion of health insurance coverage is killing jobs? Indeed, many news outlets reported exactly that. But thatâs a misreading of the report.
The CBO found that some workers â mothers with small children, students, and those close to retirement â have voluntarily left the workplace, because they didnât 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. Theyâre now caring for their kids and grandchildren, focusing on their own education, simply opting to enjoy their golden years, or starting their own businesses.
Thatâs something to celebrate. The critique that the Affordable Care Act somehow reduces the incentive to work doesnât 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, Obamaâs expansion of health insurance is a job-killer. Thatâs just wrong.
Wages arenât 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 workersâ bargaining power.
Cross-posted fromÂ Other Words
Photo: ProgressOhio via Flickr