Who can forget the great (descriptor used with healthy dose of irony) health care reform debate of summer 2009? In a historic low point for American discourse, crazed Tea Party crackpots and others situated on the extreme right side of the political spectrum attempted to derail the eventual passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by any means they deemed necessary. These efforts included the sensational and oft-repeated claim that group of government drones would render service decisions that could theoretically result in the arbitrary deaths of American citizens. It is still hard to recall the death panel “conversation” without overt queasiness.
Having failed to gain traction for the propaganda outside the usual circle of tinfoil hat wearing paranoids, the right then sought to take the wind out of the act’s sails by senselessly voting for its repeal in the House no less than 37 times. These “symbolic” gestures have been an epic waste of taxpayer resources even as issues related to consistently high unemployment, infrastructure dissolution and climate change languish.
Then the GOP apparatus tried a new tactic, espousing the dire warning that Obamacare would bring the country to financial ruin, ruin I say! The folks who spread this disingenuous swill would have loved us to forget that Wall Street already tied its hand at that last decade. But instead of Republican howls for accountability at the time, we received cynical claims that further deregulation was the solution. That’s just what an alcoholic needs: increased access to spirits.
And then, oops! As Obamacare began to become the law of the land, we experienced a marked slowdown in health care costs. In even worse news for right wing agenda, the reversal may be permanent if the economy continues to grow. Better get back to that middle class job killing stat! I am certain GOP opposition to raising the Federal minimum wage is just a coincidence.
Having dispatched the more obvious objections to Obamacare with amazing speed in this era of legislative inertia, the right is launching a new scare tactic. Designed to divert attention away from the fact that health care reform is already working to relieve budgetary strain while increasing access to health insurance for Americans previously locked out, the conservative media apparatus would now have us believe that a doctor shortage is the next danger.
The Wall St. Cheat Sheet ran an article this week with a rhetorical question for a headline: Does Obamacare Mean Fewer Doctors and Less Accessible Healthcare? Note to right wing pundits: the inclusion of a question mark at the end of a provocative headline is a dead giveaway that what we are about to read is not solid analysis, but rather a rudimentary attempt to plant an idea. This is NOT journalism.
But I digress. Among the more flimsy evidence writer Meghan Foley offers is data from a “Physicians Foundation survey of 13,000 doctors [which] discovered that 60 percent of respondents would retire today if they could, an increase from 45 percent who gave the same answer before the legislation was passed.”
Here’s an idea. Perhaps those doctors who wish they could retire are among the throngs of Baby Boomers who, having lost savings, pensions, jobs and homes in the housing bubble burst and financial crash of 2008, can no longer afford to do so. How in the world is this survey direct evidence of Obamacare creating a doctor shortage? To suggest that other factors may be at play could be the understatement of my professional writing career.
I give the right’s media arm credit for Playskool Weeble-like resiliency, but the arguments and objections against implementing reform are becoming more pathetically desperate. If the Republican party and its voices are the “true patriots” they often claim to be, how about getting behind a law that was passed democratically and which is already demonstrating significant benefits with regard to the finances and security of the nation and its denizens. Give it up already.