Americans are willing to pay more to get less, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office. This follows the results of the mid-term elections that adhered closely to historical precedent, as a majority of voting Americans proclaimed themselves the voice of the entire citizenry and declared that they were fed up with politics as usual, preferring instead to send members of the other of two parties that have defined American politics for the last two centuries back to Washington. Unusual politics, indeed.
The will of the people was defined not by their poor understanding of economic and social policy, nor by racism or xenophobia, but by their belief in the eternal wisdom that when things aren’t going well, one ought always to vote for the other of two parties. And that they did, which is how, as of Wednesday, the country now has a Republican majority in the House, and a Speaker by the name of Boehner.
The new majority wasted no time in pursuing its agenda, introducing legislation to repeal the comprehensive health reform legislation that Democrats worked for well over a year–and in some sense, decades–to pass. The title of the Republicans’ legislation is the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which is quite notable according to a group of Norwegian social scientists at the Nojoke Institute in Oslo, who explain that marketing is very important, especially in politics. “Words mean things to people,” they say, “even if the people don’t understand what the words mean.”
According to Dr. Olaf Thatrufunnutjeenbutdajtruf, the leading expert on the semantics of semantics, the title of the new legislation is of great importance. “It would not make sense to have called the Republican bill the Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Thatrufunnutjeenbutdajtruf says. “After all, who would be in favor of repealing patient protections and making care unaffordable, as such a name suggests?”
Instead, the Republicans refer to the Democrats’ legislation as simply the “Health Care Law.” According to Terrance “T” Bagger, who dropped out of college to protest the unconstitutional role played by those whose political views differ from his own, the thing Americans are supposed to understand about the “Health Care Law”, is that it–and not reckless spending habits and poor economic policy from prior administrations–is to blame for the economic slump we’re in currently. “This Obamacare is destroying our country,” he says. “I used to have a nice house and a job, before I got fired. Six months later, Obama passed his Health Care Law. Coincidence? I don’t think so.”
Somehow, despite the fact that the beginning of the recession preceded the passage of the “Health Care Law” by years, not months, it is the “Health Care Law” that is responsible for the high unemployment rates facing the nation. And, Mr. Bagger says, it didn’t do this unintentionally. “They know the people needed jobs, but they went out and done this health care thing that nobody wanted, and ended up taking away even more jobs.” As he sees it, the law purposefully set out to kill jobs. He has a point. How else can it rightfully deserve the title of “Job-Killing?”
It sounds like a terrible thing, this “Health Care Law” that kills things. Of course, Congress must repeal it. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. And that’s just what the Republicans hope to do, but they face more than a few obstacles. Chief among them, the Affordable Care Act was deemed to reduce the deficit substantially over the next decade at the same time as it extended coverage to tens of millions of Americans. Chief analyst at the CBO, Count Alda Mooney, expects that the repeal act, by contrast, will raise the deficit by a similar amount, while ensuring that these tens of millions continue to go without health insurance. Says Mooney, “If that’s not paying a whole lot more for a whole lot less, I don’t know what is.” But apparently, the American people want it that way.
(All jokes aside, the preliminary CBO analysis that repealing ACA will jack up the deficit and fail to cover the uninsured can be read here.)