Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Naked Truth

There are times where being in the media is both exciting and terrifying, as we must keep our attention on an incredibly broad range of rapidly changing - and sometimes shocking - stories in the short term, while we continue to keep our collective focus on stories that take months or even years to see through.

For example, over the last twenty four hours, the big headlines included both the NBA and NHL finals. They also included more discussion about the NSA's spying, and writer Glenn Greenwald. The great majority of that chatter still hasn't focused on the truly important debate on security and privacy - though there have been notable exceptions like the piece in the Washington Post on Tuesday from Katrina Vanden Heuvel. The headlines have also included more wrangling on the immigration reform bill currently working it's way through the U.S. House, including some amazingly good news about the immigration reform bill from the CBO.

There was even a ridiculous story centering on Republican Congressman Michael Burgess from Texas, who appears to have some seriously warped ideas about fetuses. The U.S. House also passed a pointless attempt to limit abortion to twenty weeks or less. We suppose we should be grateful that the Republican-led House didn't generate yet another pointless story by tossing in their 38th ultimately pointless vote to try and retroactively kill President Obama's health care reform law.

Obamacare has been one of those stories that's taken years to see through, and it's still not a finished product yet.

Like a new suit that doesn't quite fit yet, the President's signature legislation of his first term still needs to have a few alterations - though not quite the fantasy redesigns some Republicans would like to see.

For all the promises to unveil a GOP alternative to Obamacare, and the internal party battles over the law,  Republicans still have yet to put together any replacement plan for health care. Most have begun to accept it's not going anywhere. As Ezra Klein's Wonktalk with Avik Roy showed on Tuesday, even some of Obamacare's greatest critics have now effectively accepted most of the main points of the law.

Whether or not anyone has truly accepted the reality that the Affordable Care Act is now etched in legal stone, you'll likely begin to see and hear a lot more about it soon. Groups like Enroll America, alongside many private insurance companies, are beginning to step up their grassroots campaigns, It's in the best interest of both the insurance companies and Americans to make sure everyone is registered for and able to take advantage of the new health care benefits available to all next year.

In states like California and Oregon, where Obamacare has been implemented as fully as possible at this stage, premiums and rates are not only dropping. Insurers are competing to drop their rates lower and faster than either the insurance companies or many health care experts expected.

Obamacare will also get another chance to become a campaign issue in 2014, though likely a very positive one. Dr. Donald Berwick, a Democrat, former Obama administration official,  and a key figure in the roll out of Obamacare announced on Tuesday the start of his 2014 campaign to become the Governor of Massachusetts.

For a government program that's been in the process of rolling out for more than two years, it may seem a little counterintuitive when we note that the naked truth about Obamacare is that its actually pretty simple to understand.

Obamacare may not fit perfectly at first for you and your family - and there are adjustments that will need to be made, both to individual plans and the system as a whole. That said, when states work WITH the Federal government, Obamacare appears to be better than the tattered old health care system Americans have been using, if and when they could afford to.

Obamacare, as it stands isn't a bad plan - And it's certainly better than the GOP's non-existent plan.

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