Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction and as a rule saboteurs attempt to conceal their identities to avoid the consequences of their actions; unless they are Republicans. Since January 2009, Republicans have gone to great lengths to sabotage President Obama’s attempts to save the economy and they made no attempt to conceal their identities. In fact, Republicans reveled in the publicity they received for killing jobs and obstructing economic recovery, and their racist supporters cheered them on every step of the way regardless the damage they wrought to the economy and other Americans. Still, President Obama prevailed and saved the economy, created millions of jobs, cut spending to their lowest levels in over 60 years, and set reform in motion to give 30-million Americans access to basic affordable healthcare that Republicans are still attempting to sabotage.
There are several reasons why Republicans are escalating their attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, and none are more important to their survival as their inhumane supporters’ opposition to other Americans’ well-being. It is not to say that Republicans would love nothing more than to deny 30 million Americans basic health insurance for the sole purpose of seeing them infirm and suffering, because that is, in and of itself, a primary Republican goal in sabotaging the ACA. In fact, they were brutally frank that, by their libertarian standards, healthcare was a divine privilege reserved for Americans who could afford astronomical premiums just to stay healthy, but there is more driving their machinations to derail the ACA than simple conservative inhumanity.
Regardless the ACA will give the insurance industry about 30-million new policy holders, there are provisions in the law that Republicans despise because their industry donors lost free-rein to gouge policy holders and rake in obscene profits. In fact, there is a direct correlation between the renewed frenzy to sabotage the health law and industry profits that drives Republican opposition. The secret trigger in the ACA that pushed early Republican opposition was the so-called 80/20 rule that required insurance carriers to spend 80% of premiums on real healthcare or write rebate checks to policy holders for amounts they did not spend. Republicans rushed to defend the industry that railed at the idea of only reaping 20% profits. The second trigger is that competition inherent in healthcare exchanges in states that embraced the health law has reduced premiums substantially. For example, in New York, premiums are set to fall by roughly 50%, and in California, this author’s premiums fell by about 40% after 17 years of perpetual increases and that does not include rebate checks that began rolling in last year according to the 80/20 rule. It is the health law’s success stories like these that have Republicans in a panic and it is the third reason they are going all in to sabotage the ACA; it is successful.
Republicans hoped beyond hope that the law would fail giving them the opportunity to portray President Obama as a failure, but between ending pre-existing conditions, keeping children on their parents’ policies until age 26, the 80/20 rule, and free-market competition resulting in lower rates, the law is a success. That it reduces the nation’s deficit and creates jobs is just too much for Republicans to bear and has elicited a multi-faceted, last ditch effort to sabotage the law that a long-time conservative stalwart considers “unprecedented and contemptible.” Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative belief tank, recently assailed Republican leadership for going to extreme measures to “damage the possibility of a smooth rollout of the health reform plan.” Ornstein railed at Republicans’ “guerrilla efforts to cut off funding, dozens of votes to repeal, abusive comments by leaders, attempts to discourage states from participating in Medicaid expansion or crafting exchanges, threatening letters to associations that might publicize the availability of insurance on exchanges, and now a new set of threats—to have a government shutdown, or to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, unless the president agrees to stop all funding for implementation of the plan, to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate takes one’s breath away.” It is noteworthy that Ornstein joined Thomas Mann last year to assail Republicans for creating Washington’s dysfunction and inability to govern, but to directly criticize the GOP leadership is remarkable and too long in coming.
Much of the blame has been leveled at teabaggers in the House and Senate for threatening that, regardless the cost to the nation and its credit rating, if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded they intend to shut down the government and refuse to raise the debt limit (that pays the bills Republicans already put on the nation’s credit card), but Republican leadership is culpable as well. Speaker John Boehner sends out Tweets decrying the increase in premiums “due to Obamacare,” but it is in states refusing to implement exchanges and fails to take into account the world of subsidies inherent in the health law that makes “access to affordable healthcare” possible for 30-million Americans. It is the possibility of 30 million uninsured Americans gaining access to healthcare that drives Republicans and their cruel and inhumane supporters to demand the law’s defunding or shutdown the government and cause a credit default.
It has been reported that Republicans holding town halls in their home districts are being beset with angry constituents demanding they vote to defund the ACA or shutdown the government and refuse to raise the debt limit. There are also angry constituents railing on them for even considering defunding the law, but it is likely they will bow to the demands of their teabagger supporters to stay in office. Although the GOP has several reasons to kill the healthcare reform law, it appears their primary impetus is denying 30 million Americans access to healthcare coverage and little else, and threats to shut down the government and cause a credit default is proof they are serious because the extremist wing of the party is clearly in charge in both the House and Senate.
There have been calls to shut down government to get control of spending that coincides with teabagger threats to refuse a debt limit increase regardless the debt and deficit is falling faster than is healthy for economic recovery. The same cruel mindset that cheers cuts to food stamps, Medicare, Meals on Wheels, and WIC is lusting to see 30 million Americans lose access to healthcare and millions of current policy-holders’ premiums increase to enrich the insurance industry. That teabagger extremists in Congress are cheered on by their supporters informs that there is a level of inhumanity inherent in some Americans that belies their claims they are “followers of Christ” or decent human beings.
President Obama warned Republicans he is not going to negotiate with terrorists over the debt limit increase, and he certainly will not defund the ACA, so Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. They have to either admit the health law is a success and slap down the extremist teabaggers, or follow the path their inhumane cohort demand and shutdown the government and cause a credit default and take the blame for creating their second worldwide economic crisis within a five-year timespan. President Obama has only one clear choice; give Republicans nothing in budget talks or a debt limit increase deal and let them suck air because if they shut down the government, or cause a credit default they are finished as a viable political party in America. One hopes Republicans will not take the nation to the financial brink because they know their severe austerity cuts are harming the economy and that the deficit is falling rapidly. However, their intrinsic cruelty and inhumane desire to deny essential healthcare to 30 million of their fellow Americans and jeopardize the financial security of tens-of-millions more informs shutting down the government and creating a credit default may be worth political annihilation.