The President has done what 7 presidents before him have not been able to do. He has passed the largest reform of the health care system since Medicare and we have a lot of reasons to celebrate!
• Pre-existing conditions... gone!
• Dependent care... extended until the age of 26!
• Lifetime caps on coverage... gone!
• Dropped from coverage because you got sick... over!
• 32 million people who don't have coverage... covered!
• Seniors who are impacted by the Medicare "donut hole"... donut hole closed!
However, despite this momentous occasion, you had better believe that those who oppose this legislation will begin a fear campaign of the likes that you have never seen. The worst thing that could have happened to the GOP was for President Obama to obtain this victory. Now, because they positioned themselves as obstructionists, and called the President every name in the book from socialist to communist, they eliminated the possibility from voting with the bill. Doing this left them with no other choice but to continue the strategy of scaring the hell out of the American people before the next political election seasons of 2010 and 2012 in order to obtain a political victory. By not participating in this historic moment the GOP has proven that they are more concerned with self-preservation than trying to improve the conditions of the country.
So here are some of the arguments and counterpoints that you can expect to hear:
• Fear Based Argument - "Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are moving this nation to a socialist state!"
• Response - Socialism is the theory advocating the state ownership of an industry or an economic system based on state ownership of capital. In fact, as far as health care is concerned the Government owns nothing. They only want to regulate it more to make sure that people don't die!
• Fear Based Argument - "Barack Obama and the Democrats rammed this bill down our throats."
• Response - We have been debating this bill for decades and the Republicans have never shown any interest in doing anything but keeping things the same. The same isn't working because costs keep rising and people keep dying. Just like a child who has a toy and hasn't played with it in weeks... let his friend have an interest in the toy and the child starts to cry, "Gimmie my toy!" GOP you had your turn to play with health care, you didn't want to play with it and you let costs continue to skyrocket while people died... it's the Democrats turn now!
• Fear Based Argument - "This will spell political destruction for the Democratic party if you push this through!"
• Response - The people voted Barack Obama into office to push this through. They only are upset with him because he took too long in pushing it through.
• Fear Based Argument - "The people are against this legislation!"
• Response - The people are highly in favor or health care reform. Barack Obama won on a campaign of promising a STRONGER health care legislation and that is the reason that they are against it. They want the public option which was taken out but promised in the campaign and they don't want mandates which Barack stated in his campaign he wasn't for. However, despite the fact that the people wanted a stronger bill, this bill as it stands is infinitely better than nothing at all because we now have a framework which we can build.
• Fear Based Argument - "Obama and the Democrats want to kill Grandma!"
• Response - End of life discussions with your doctor actually empower you to provide your doctor with information so that in case you are ever in a condition where you can't make these decisions for yourself (you are in a coma or vegetative state) your doctor will know exactly those wishes that YOU want to carry out pertaining to your life. Here is a previous blog that I wrote that elaborates on this fear based point.
• Fear Based Argument - "The Democrats want to spend, spend, and spend so our children are saddled with heavy mountains of debt!"
• Response - This bill is not only paid for, but it reduces the deficit according to the Congressional Budget Office by $140 billion in the first 10 years and by over $1.2 trillion in the following 10 years. For some reason you don't trust the CBO whenever they produce numbers that disprove your point and call them liars, but you cite them whenever they help to prove your point. Which is it? Are they reliable or liars?
Furthermore, let's just say that this legislation was not funded as the multiple legislations passed under a Republican legislation such as the Medicare prescription drug plan, the tax cuts, and the two wars... there is no dollar value on the value of the almost 50,000 lives that will be spared per year, and millions whose lives will be improved because they now have health care coverage.
• Fear Based Argument - "This is a Government takeover!"
• Response - I thought that a Government takeover required the Government to actually take something over?! The hospitals will still be private, the doctors will still be private, and the Government will not collect ANY funds. For this to be a Government takeover, they sure did a poor job of taking over the health insurance industry.
The GOP is the most effective marketing machine that you will ever come across. Their first priority is to get re-elected and they will stop at no cost to achieve that goal. Although the Democrats are enjoying this victory, we have to be aware of those on the right that will be giving an onslaught of rhetoric that can be very destructive to the party in November. They wake up with the same talking points and you can be sure that those talking points will be plastered on every news channel. Fake grass roots organizations like "Freedom Works", funded by Dick Armey, will continue to spread the message on a massive scale to hundreds of thousands across the country. We can't rest on our laurels thinking that we have done enough because policy is on our side. We have to combat this evil rhetoric not with evil, but with truth, facts, and a hell of a lot of noise! It is NOT ENOUGH to yell at the TV to create change. We have to arm ourselves with truth and become as active as they are. The political success of the left depends upon it.