The lengths to which the Republican Party is trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act is nothing short of bizarre. Some might say, evil. But this resistance to providing every American with affordable health care isn’t really about health care. It’s really a declaration of war over who deserves the benefits of being a citizen in a nation-state; who deserves the fruits of being an American.
If health reform is allowed to succeed, reactionary arguments against the government’s obligation to provide for the people’s welfare suddenly fall flat. Why - the public would then ask - is the government so awful if it is guaranteeing me the means to keep myself and my family healthy (and therefore, alive)? Hey, maybe the government isn’t so bad after all, and we should have more of it.
Meanwhile, as attacks on the ACA continue and mainstream news outlets act as if the law is headed for failure, the fearful cries against single payer grow ever more shrill in the conservative media. Anti-health reform zealots are the most frightened of a government expansion of Medicare to all Americans because they know the idea would be extremely popular and would help many Americans benefit economically. Calling the ACA - or Obamacare, as it’s come to be known - “socialist” or “Communist” is merely a distraction, when these zealots know full well that the ACA is based on the free-market theories of a conservative think tank. The distraction is meant to keep the public from even considering a better alternative to Obamacare.
But what is so insidious about attacks on efforts to get the United States toward universal health care is that the reactionaries seem to believe that some people aren’t deserving of health care at all. And so, neither are they deserving of a good education, a good job at a living wage, affordable housing, a decent pension in old age, or even food. This means there ought to be two societies in America: one for those who are entitled to all the resources and wealth in the country, and the other for those who can labor in it, but should expect little or nothing in return. In another age, the former class of people would have been called an aristocracy. If an aristocracy is what the reactionaries want for the United States, then they should just come out and say so.