Look it up. The symptoms of hyperventilation are dizziness, tingling in the lips and extremities, fainting, and in the most extreme circumstances, full or partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
We are seeing hyperventilation’s fruits in the Republican Party’s frantic bid to talk away the Affordable Care Act.
The duly authorized, duly appropriated, already-law Affordable Care Act.
And to think that this could be addressed simply by having the stricken party breathe into a brown paper bag.
The most do-nothing Congress in American history has done so very little, but the quest to defund this law is the do-nothing-est.
Though carrying no hint of hope in the Senate, the House has voted 40-plus times to do it. It would have been vetoed at the speed of electronic transfer. Yet the tea party-driven House persisted, and persists.
The reason for opponents’ urgency was clear, of course. As more and more people use the new law to address their medical needs, the “do nothing” barkers will sound more and more like the clanging cymbals they are.
The clang gang knows that every time an uninsured American has his or her health care covered at reasonable cost, their rollback fantasy becomes more fantastic.
Considering that just about everything Americans have heard about the new law for these many months has been based on hearsay, guesses and politically driven falsehoods, there’s no wonder that public opinion is weighted “agin'” it.
But let’s consider: We are told that this measure is wrecking the U.S. economy. Show us one indicator, from the stock market, to job figures, to housing, to the federal deficit.
True, some companies are limiting, and will limit, employees’ hours to evade the requirement of covering them as full-time employees. That’s a shame, but it’s no different from what employers did when the minimum wage became law. They cut hours. They laid off. We aren’t going back to the bad old pre-minimum wage days, though the right wing may lust for it.
Meanwhile, a few other developments that are considered strikes against the new law are not so.
Much alarm has been raised about the companies like Home Depot and Trader Joe’s discontinuing part-time employees’ health insurance, moving them to coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A disaster? It’s just the opposite.
The Employee Benefits Research Institute reports that in virtually all cases, these employees will get more comprehensive coverage at a considerable discount under the government plan. Indeed, the director of the institute, Paul Fronstin, pointed to the miserly limits on some of these private “mini-med” plans and said, “You have to question whether that’s really insurance.”
As for individual plans, a study by HealthPocket.com, reported in Parade magazine, points out that the plans available on health exchanges “provide better benefits than 98 percent of the individual health plans sold today.”
Confusion? It’s a guarantee. Glitches and foul-ups in the online marketplace? Count on them. Some people will emerge dissatisfied. But a lot of people are going to have exactly what was promised: low-cost health insurance geared toward prevention.
The tea party isn’t about to stop venting its high-pitched squeal. But John McCain was stating simple fact when he said, “We lost,” and derided the obstruction-fest being staged by certain members of his party. He said the GOP should work with the president to improve any deficiencies the law might have rather than holding its collective breath hoping it would go away.
Barack Obama ran for office promising to do something about the nation’s horrific gap in health coverage. He and allies in Congress did that. Obama stood before voters in 2012 and won re-election.
So is this, as the tea party claims, a disaster in the making? If it is, the American voters know from where the impetus for it all came: their ballots.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.