Progressives, fueled by a myopic, news-cycle driven beltway press, are wrong about the Upton bill specifically and waving away problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act generally.
A meaningful number of (mostly) younger people are getting their junk insurance plans canceled on them. Many of them don’t know their insurance is junk insurance. Many of them didn’t know this was coming. Many of them can’t afford the cost difference in premiums in the “Obamacare” plans.
Millenials are suffering under worse employment prospects, heavier student loan debt, and lower wages than even Generation X before them. And exponentially worse than what older Americans experienced during their starting-out years.
If the cost gap between losing junk insurance and gaining real insurance is so far for some younger working Americans that it reduces their ability to make ends meet even further, then finding ways to bridge that gap is the progressive position.
It is not a betrayal of progressive values, or a running away from Obama, or a politically-motivated vote. The Upton bill has plenty of problems, the chief one being that the junk plans can be purchased indefinitely. But here in New Hampshire, Reps. Shea-Porter and Kuster were justified in voting for it, as well as for the better House Dem alternative, at least until such time that a sustainable fix can be put into place (at this time, it’s not clear the President’s proposal, which is good, is workable). Just as Senator Shaheen was justified to press for a longer enrollment period due to the early ACA website problems.
If FDR put forth a new policy to help Americans during the Great Depression, and it didn’t work, he moved to fix it or try something else. And something else after that. He did this again and again, in spite of an obstructionist Republican party working to block him all the way.
The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to insure the uninsured with affordable care. Finding ways to fix the ACA to maximize doing that, either in its implementation or its design, is the right thing to do.
Standing by and letting some lose their insurance and be forced to pay a fine, or take on less affordable insurance because the GOP are mean to Obama, or because it changes the game plan. or because Upton is obviously looking to damage the President politically is the wrong thing to do.
Remember, were it not for some lobbyist-addled Democrats and an obstructionist GOP, we’d have a public option right now. Health reform has always been a moving target for Democrats.
On a related note, think of how far the conversation has changed. Instead of Republicans holding the eleventy-thousandth “Obamacare” repeal vote, they are (disingenuously) complaining about some losing their insurance. This is a victory for Democrats and Democratic policy.
Rather than left or right, think of it in terms of punching up and punching down. Attempts to fix ACA implementation punch up. That is to say, they are made with the intent of helping out the little guy.
On the other hand, progressives and the beltway press have paid far less attention to Democrats engaging in anti-progressive punching down, such as in the recent House bill to weaken Dodd-Frank’s regulations on derivatives, the financial tool that reduced so many American’s retirement prospects. Where is the progressive outrage, where is the flurry of the news cycle, over the many Democrats, including Rep. Kuster, who voted for that?