July 6, 2012

Milwaukee Courier

Obamacare (and Walker)

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

This past week, President Obama’s health care law was finally ruled constitutional.  This is fantastic news.  At least, it is for any American who has struggled to pay heavy insurance or medical fees.  After fifty years of failed attempts by his predecessors, the President created an incredible and historic legislation.

Although it was based on similar plan championed by one Republican governor Mitt Romney (sound familiar?), the conservative right has cynically opposed this common-sense law. I laugh every time some fat cat radio talk host calls Obamacare a “government takeover of health care”.  2 years after PolitiFact called that sound bite “lie of the year”, and they’re still using it.

The conservative electoral machine would do just about anything to ruin the President’s reputation, including attack their own guy’s most popular achievement.  For months now, Fox News has been chomping at the bit in the hope that they would have an unconstitutional law on their hands. I cannot tell you the number of times my more conservative colleagues have hinted at hopes that Obama’s law would fail in court. 

They have shared these frankly unpatriotic desires, despite the fact that it is a practical, center-right solution.  It is the best hope for a better and more secure health care system.  Of course, there doesn’t seem to be much room for either centrism or practicality in the modern Republican party.

Luckily, there still seems to be a little room for both on the Supreme Court.  ObamaCare was upheld in a decision written by one of the most conservative justices in history, George W. Bush’s appointee Chief Justice John Roberts.  He was responsible for Citizens United, probably the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court.  He gave corporations the right to spend unlimited campaign donations by twisting logic and making money equal free speech.

Next year, he is expected to overturn the University of Texas’ affirmative action admissions program.  These are just a few examples.  Over and over, he has not been an ally of the vulnerable.  Last Thursday, Chief Justice Roberts tempered his more regressive instincts.  He did what was right for the nation.

The uphold of Obamacare is a cause for celebration.  The new law has allowed children to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they are 26,and it will forbid insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 

The law will reduce insurance costs for people who already own private insurance by broadening the base and spreading around the risks.  Unsurprisingly, Governor Walker had already made a statement refusing to cooperate with Obama’s Medicaid-boosting parts. 

Walker has once again shown zero compassion for the sick and vulnerable.  Without the more funding in Medicaid, the people of Milwaukee will suffer.  Governor Walker won’t tell you that over 90% of the new spending will be paid by the federal government. Walker’s refusal to implement increased low-income aid is nothing more than cynical political point scoring, at the expense of real lives.

Will Governor Walker really go through with his denial of affordable health to the people who need it the most?  Delaying Obamacare is going to sting anyone who cannot afford health insurance.  A lot of people are barely scraping by as it is, but I really don’t think Walker gets it.  I have never had any confidence whatsoever in Walker being anything but callous and unreasonable.  Unfortunately, we may have to take Governor Walker at his word.