The Republican Party is, for all intents and purposes, a thing of the past — certainly not one for the future. Unfortunately, it is self-destroying slowly — so slowly that there’s little (read \virtually no) time for a viable alternative to arise, Phoenix-like, in time to have any serious impact in the 2016 elections.
What they need, at this point, is a party-destroying ‘suicide bomber’ — a person or event that will skewer the seditionists, scatter the unsure, destroy the demi gods who would, incrementally, tear the party apart over the next decade or so.
Failing that, the Republicans are setting themselves up to loose both houses of Congress, as they’ve already lost the confidence of a significant share of long-time loyal supporters and, along the way, made a laughing stock of themselves as a political ‘force’.
Let’s be realistic: This country is not destined to have a severely more conservative government — one that ignores the needs of the worst-off, continues to favor the already-well-favored, distains and has every interest in eliminating ‘Obamacare’ without proposing any viable alternative (other than letting the most-needy and those with moderate incomes flounder, with little or no ability to get necessary medical care, in a timely manner, or to pay for it if/when they do.
‘In a timely manner’ is the critical phrase there, because eventually, one way or another, most of the most-needy will get some kind of medical help, usually at a cost to the public that will be far higher than would have been the case if a reasonably-priced insurance plan had been made available to them.
Sadly, Obamacare doesn’t necessarily provide such insurance.
It’s been fairly widely noted that if one without other insurance fails to sign up for a health plan compatible with The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) they run the risk of paying a penalty for the ‘privilege’ of doing so. But there’s a significant exception to that aspect of the law, to the effect that a great many individuals and families have such low income that they are exempt — meaning, they don’t face a penalty that could, and most certainly would, be levied against any income tax return they might otherwise be entitled to.
And in the end — and even from the beginning of a medical ‘issue’ — those individuals and families are left with one choice: Go to the Emergency Room . . . then ignore the bills when they come in.
Someone observed recently how the term Emergency Room is rapidly being replaced with Emergency Department. There’s a simple reason for that: As more and more uninsurable people use ’emergency’ services as their primary care physicians (to the point where many come to be quite well-known to emergency services personnel), the services of what was once essentially a trauma center have expanded, and been extended, to include dramatic degrees of cost-intensive testing, space-intensive and nurse-exhausting still-in-the-’emergency’-area occupancy, and other demands of staff, territory and resources.
It has long and widely been reported that ’emergency’ care is, given its intensity, and its demands, way-out-of-proportion costly, compared to other levels of medical service. What’s worse, a sizable share of charges levied by emergency rooms or departments remain unpaid — for the same reason so many users of those services do so in the first place: They don[t have the financial wherewithal to do otherwise.
Republicans can wish — as they do — that health care cost issues of several types can be ‘dealt with’ by interrupting or ending a system that, though Republicans deny it, actually is working for a lot of people. No, it is not a perfect system, but the Afford Care Act has made it possible for a significant number of previously-uninsured individuals and families to have ‘affordable’ coverage. More, not less, needs to be done to help the ACA to do what it was created, with the help of Republicans, to do.