But the importance of this program should not be lost in the Administration’s failure to implement it. This is not health care for deadbeats, as many Republicans assume. It is a highly moral piece of legislation: the people most affected will be the working poor and lower middle class, people who have jobs, often at small businesses, but don’t have health care. (The unemployed and unemployable poor already have health care via Medicaid.) It is a matter of simple fairness that if we, as a society, provide health insurance to those who don’t work, we also provide it to those who do.
This has been part of my mystification with the Republican opposition to this program: They supposedly want to encourage people to work. The ACA, if well-implemented, will do that. Another part of my mystification: this is not socialized medicine, as the Republicans charge, but health care via a regulated market system–the health care exchanges, if they’re ever straightened out, will be online health care superstores (Think Orbitz or Hotels.Com). Various private insurers will compete for customers…with new, more humane ground rules. They’ll have to take all comers, including those with pre-existing conditions. This, too, is a very Republican idea–the idea of health care exchanges was born in the very same Heritage Foundation whose Heritage Action Fund is now trying to kill the plan.