National Voices

Wednesday, Aug 28 2013 11:01 PM

OTHER VIEWS: Don't defund Obamacare, repeal it all

This month, at one of his rare news conferences, President Barack Obama mocked House Republicans for repeatedly trying to eliminate funding for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

"That's hard to understand as an agenda that is going to strengthen our middle class," the president said. What's happened in the six days since then? Lots.

* NBC News reported that "from Maine to California," employers are reducing full-time workers so they won't have to provide them with health insurance that is going to be far more expensive under Obamacare.

A stunning statistic from the Labor Department: 97 percent of the jobs created in the U.S. over the last six months were for part-time work.

* Leaders of several large labor unions stepped up pleas to Congress for big changes in Obamacare. The president of the United Food and Commercial Workers and other labor bosses wrote that the financial incentive for employers to switch to part-time workers could "destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the middle class." Teamsters officials warned that Obamacare provisions governing nonprofit health insurance plans will make the cost of coverage soar for hundreds of thousands of their members.

* The New York Times reported that a little-noticed one-year delay in the $6,350 annual cap on total out-of-pocket expenses that an individual must pay could bankrupt chronically ill people who have expensive medicines for sicknesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

A shocked American Cancer Society official warned that many very ill patients faced "enormous financial exposure."

* Reuters detailed Obamacare sticker shock at public school systems in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Nebraska as already-stretched districts dealt with the rising cost of employee health care.

* With more and more reports showing Obamacare programs lacking basic safeguards for patient information, 13 state attorneys general sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday warning of "a privacy disaster waiting to happen."

And this is just some of the vast wave of bad news about the Affordable Care Act in recent days.

No wonder polls show support plummeting; just 13 percent of Americans think the ACA will be good for them. No wonder Democrats in re-election fights continue to edge away from Obamacare. First-term Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, was one of 35 House Democrats who last month joined GOP members in voting to delay the individual insurance mandate for a year.

Here's the wonder: that the president can survey this wreckage and argue with a straight face that he's the one advancing "an agenda that is going to strengthen our middle class." That's not what it looks like to the middle class -- to small-business owners, union members, restaurant managers, school administrators and many more.

Obamacare shouldn't just be defunded. The stinking mess should be repealed.

— San Diego Union-Tribune

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