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Republicans need to let Obamacare work — or not work: Brown

Updated: November 3, 2013 6:33AM



We get it. Republicans in Congress are opposed to Obamacare. Now could they just get out of the way and stop trying to save us from ourselves.

It’s time to see Obamacare in action — good, bad or indifferent.

If the Affordable Care Act is as bad as Republican leaders believe, then surely it will become so obvious after it takes full effect that Americans will never elect another Democrat to Congress, let alone the presidency.

In that case, why not let the country see the effect of Obamacare as soon as possible to maximize its impact on the 2014 mid-term Congressional elections? No sense delaying it a year.

If Republicans can milk public backlash over Obamacare to elect a majority in the Senate next year, while keeping their hold on the House, more power to them.

Then they can finally realize their dreams of repealing Obamacare, and we can all return to that great American health care system known as survival of the financially fittest.

That should also give Republican presidential contenders a running start on the 2016 election, so they can concentrate on other core GOP issues, like keeping gays in their place and Mexicans south of the border.

But back here on planet Earth where the public with which I am more familiar elected Obama not once but twice and worries about how it will afford its doctor visits in the event of a job loss, it’s laughably transparent the Republicans think they can leverage the party’s majority in the House of Representatives to hold the federal government hostage until Democrats cry uncle.

No matter how they spin it, it’s the Republicans who have shut down the government. Remember that Republicans, Tea Party Republicans in particular, like shutting down the government. It makes them feel tingly. It’s something to crow about on talk radio.

Democrats don’t like shutting down the government. Too many of their friends and family end up out of work and ask for loans.

Something Tea Party Republicans hate is compromise. They consider it immoral, which is why nobody should be fooled by this argument that the real problem behind the shutdown is that Democrats won’t compromise on Obamacare. The Tea Party is looking for surrender, not compromise.

Now, I would be the first to tell you that it would have been better for all of us if there had been some sort of compromise between Democrats and Republicans on the front end of health care reform before Obamacare was approved in the first place.

But I distinctly recall that these very same forces were dug in to keep any sort of health care reform from being enacted.

The Republican Party seems to only want affordable health care for the people who can afford it.

Democrats realize it would be too much to ask Republicans to actually help the Affordable Care Act succeed. Our political system doesn’t seem to work that way any more.

We either do things the Democrats’ way or the Republicans’ way, and right now, it’s still the Democrats’ turn, and House Speaker John Boehner knows it, even as he puts up a brave front to hold his caucus together.

Republicans say they are worried about the effects of Obamacare on our still struggling economy. Do they really not understand the effect on the economy of throwing 800,000 federal workers out of their jobs?

As a Democrat, it’s fair to ask me whether I have confidence Obamacare will succeed.

Not really.

I expect it be messy at best. Just because we’re Democrats doesn’t mean we have faith in government. Obamacare still strikes me as something of a Rube Goldberg contraption. Too many moving parts. Too much emphasis on changing people’s behavior.

But I’m pretty sure we could work out the bugs if we pulled together, and I think it will work better than what we have now even if this remains a totally Democratic show.

I stopped over at Gov. Pat Quinn’s press conference to mark the first day of uninsured Illinois residents being able to enroll in the state’s health insurance marketplace, one of the key elements of Obamacare.

I ran into folks from the American Cancer Society and asked them if this is going to work. They told me the Affordable Care Act has already made life better for cancer patients: capping out of pocket costs, preventing denial of coverage to individuals with a pre-existing condition, allowing kids to stay on their parents insurance through age 26, assuring access to free cancer screenings.

Last time I checked, cancer doesn’t differentiate between Democrats and Republicans.

Email: markbrown@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkBrownCST



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