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Let’s keep hating on health care through November

Submitted by on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 No Comment

A couple of salient points in the hoo-ha coming today from those who lost the health care fight:

Not all Americans hate the new law. More people think it will help than think it will hurt. Republicans excepted, of course.

Not all Americans hate the president. By the thinnest of margins, most of the country actually thinks he’s doing a good job. And while a 51 percent approval rating isn’t stellar,  it’s still double what Barack Obama’s predecessor could manage in the waning months of his administration.

Not all Americans hate the Democrats. The margin here – 47 percent to 45 percent – is razor thin, too, but it’s hardly the kind of animus that leads to vile name-calling under the guise of “passionate about an  issue.”

Yet, none of that’s stopping a dozen or so states from getting their briefs in a wad and suing to stop the bill – all states with Republican attorneys general, and don’t think that’s a coincidence.

The suits try to make health-care reform a state’s rights issue, and why not? Republicans tried to make it anything but a human rights’ issue quite a while back, long before they started saying that God, not the government, should decide what rights people should have.

And for the Republicans health care needs to remain an issue for another eight months, lest voters forget about this atrocity before November’s elections. Filing the suits ensures that the issue keeps popping up, long after everyone forgets that even Sarah Palin once went to Canada for health care.

Few issues illustrate the deep chasms in this country as well as the health-care debate – and that’s probably too civilized a term when one member of Congress calls another a “baby killer” on the House floor.

On one side: The “haves” who wanted to preserve the status quo. It’s baffling that anyone would want to hold on to a system where premium increases have been steep and inversely proportional to changes in coverage, but mythology such as the “death panel” and other Loch Ness monster-like specters fueled some of the resistance to change.

On the other side: The “have nots” who struggle to pay premiums or, failing that, to pay bills in the event of illness or accident. Their supporters include anyone who understands that guaranteeing access to health care is the humane and, in the long run, financially smart thing to do.

The odd thing is, most nonpartisan polling data indicates that these two sides are about evenly split. That’s why it makes no sense for Republicans to keep their teeth sunk into health care as a wedge issue. They’re simply not going to add much support for their side. They’ll hold on to what they have, but the Democrats already have slightly more. Where’s the gain, other than in continuing to rake in donations from insurance companies and drug makers by continuing to fight the good fight for them?

If the Republicans want an issue with resonance and staying power, the economy would be a much better choice. Americans’ negativity on that front has been increasingly steadily for months.

But, then, it’s hard to find well-heeled lobbyists to support that issue. Besides, “it’s the economy, stupid” has already been used.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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