GOP plan leaves out 681,437 Alabamians

In Morgan County, according to a Census report released Wednesday, 19,086 people — 19 percent of those under 65 — have no health insurance.
Across the state, 681,437 — 17 percent of those under age 65 — have no insurance.
We routinely brag about having the best health care system in the world, but for the uninsured it is one of the worst among developed nations.
The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. It is an awkward compromise between interest groups and partisan advocates. But it is a serious effort to solve an enormous national problem.
In Tampa, Republicans are chanting their hatred of the law. They promise to repeal it before the 681,437 Alabamians can enjoy its benefits. The GOP is embracing a status quo that forces people to cling to Medicaid or Social Security Disability, because they cannot afford to accept a job without health insurance benefits.
The party that claims to promote equal opportunity over equal outcome is rejecting a law that has nothing to do with controlling outcomes but everything to do with opportunity.
The 19,086 uninsured people in Morgan County will not get rich under Obamacare. Nor will the 5,562 uninsured in Lawrence County or the 11,663 in Limestone County.
They will, however, be able to afford individual insurance while working at a job that does not offer insurance. They will have the option of working several part-time jobs, even though none of those jobs offer insurance.
Workers can take the risk of switching to a job that offers them more opportunity, without worrying about losing coverage for pre-existing conditions. They can even pursue entrepreneurial dreams, an option now out of reach for most who cannot risk a gap in access to health care.
The Affordable Care Act helps the poor, a characteristic that apparently makes it unacceptable to the tough-love conventioneers in Tampa. It has its roots, though, in a conservative recognition that the existing health-care system is mucking up our economy.
Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation did not embrace versions of the Affordable Care Act out of pity. Rather, they understood that our economy functions best when all have the opportunity to participate.
The fact that 681,437 Alabamians are deprived of adequate health care is not just a problem for them, it is a problem for all of us.
The Affordable Care Act is not about equality of outcome. It is, rather, about providing the opportunity necessary for both individuals and our nation to maximize their potential.


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Filed under Election 2012, Health care, Obamacare

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