The House Republicans are going to vote today to repeal the ACA, and the message they're going to be sending to people who have cancer or diabetes or any number of other diseases but don't have insurance is simple, and forgive my bluntness in this non-family newspaper where such language, I'm given to understand, is occasionally permisslbe. The message is: Fuck off.
Matt Miller put the matter powerfully in his Post column yesterday:
Here’s what you should do, Mr. President. In the debates this fall, pull out a small laminated card you’ve had made as a prop for this purpose. Then remind Mitt Romney that the ranks of the uninsured today are equal to the combined populations of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Read that list slowly, Mr. President. Then ask your opponent: Would America turn its back on the citizens of these 25 states if everyone there lacked basic health coverage? That’s what we’ve been doing for decades. You knew it was right to act when you were governor of Massachusetts, Mitt. How can you pretend we don’t need to solve this for the nation? And how can you object with a straight face when your own pioneering plan was my model?
Can I get an amen to that? And then he might add something like, "As you said many times yourself, Governor, the point of requiring people to buy insurance is to instill a sense of personal responsibility. No free riders. No trips to the emergency room that the rest of us pay for. Why did you believe in personal responsibility then but are against it now?"
I swear, as I noted yesterday, this is starting to smell to me like an issue the Democrats can win votes on this fall. Believe me, if I thought the opposite, I'd say so. I did think the opposite just a few weeks ago. What changed?
John Roberts, basically. Politically, his signing on to the decision lends a bulletproofness to the Democratic position, changes the whole mentality of the debate. If it had been Kennedy with the liberals, meh. But Roberts' stamp of approval on the plan allows the Democrats some room to play offense. And that offense is built around one simple claim: Republicans would deny coverage to sick people and let them die.
Sprinkling a little personal responsibility sugar on top can't hurt. Use their blind extremism against them. Here is a position that was once theirs, that they came up with and that they've now abandoned, just because Obama took it up. It's a great marker of how radical and anti-thought they've become, that they're now willing to let people suffer and die in the hopes that they can defeat a political adversary.