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[Cancer, Politics]

[politics|cancer] The government shutdown and the ACA and me

When you get right down to it, I have never seen a rational basis for the conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act. After all, the core of the ACA was a proposal originating from the Heritage Foundation, a deeply conservative think tank. The template for the ACA was a highly successful state-level implementation led by then-Republican governor and later GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The basic mechanism of the ACA is to swell the customer rolls of for-profit insurance companies competing on policy price and features, relying on the free market.

Why is this such a threat to American freedom? In all but name, the ACA is a conservative program implemented from conservative proposals rooted in conservative ideals.

And now the government shutdown. Which doesn’t even defund the ACA itself, just pretty much everything else. Are the Republicans so infuriated at the success of their own ideas that they must punish the entire country and economy. How does this make sense?

As for me personally, without the ACA I would be bankrupt or dead by now. Likely both. One of the first provisions of the ACA to come into effect was a ban on the lifetime spending caps most health insurance policies historically enforced. As a long-term cancer patient, I’m now about 25% over the spending cap my own insurance policy used to have. Without the ACA, my last year and more of treatment would have been completely uncovered. This would have required me to spend about $250,000 out of pocket, or go without treatment.

So opposition to the ACA is quite literally saying to me, “Go ahead and die already.”

As [info]ericjamesstone said to me a while back, anecdote makes bad law. (That’s not a precise quote, but I believe that’s the sense of what he told me.) My death would just be an anecdote, not a policy point. But my life is kind of important to me.

And in all the angry conservative rhetoric about the ACA, I have never seen any proposals that would keep me personally alive.

So this furious, unprecedented opposition to a piece of settled law — passed by Congress, signed by the president, litigated to the Supreme Court — that will benefit both me personally as well as tens of millions of other Americans, makes no sense to me either as a matter of policy or as a matter of my individual situation.

Does it make sense to you? Have you seen anywhere a fact-based explanation of why the ACA should be so vigorously opposed?

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