One mystery of the government shutdown is why Republicans are so apoplectic about the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation that aims to make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans.
One theory is that the Republican leadership is scared that Obamacare actually won’t be as bad as they have been saying it will be — that, in fact, Americans (including Republican constituents) will quite like it.
If Americans like Obamacare, the theory goes, this will be a big blow to the Republicans’ big sales pitch over the past 30 years, which is that more government is always bad. (This despite the popularity of Medicare, Social Security, and other programs that even many Republicans support.) And this, in turn, the theory goes, will be a big blow to the Republican Party.
Well, it seems at least one Republican is pleasantly surprised by the reality of Obamacare.
Sy Mukherjee of ThinkProgress caught up with Butch Matthews, a 61-year old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas. Matthews, a diehard Republican, was sceptical of Obamacare. But the new law has already allowed him to buy insurance that is both much better, and much cheaper, than the astronomically expensive pre-Obamacare plan he was clinging to from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Matthews’ old Blue Cross plan cost $US1,069 a month and had a $US10,000 deductible.
The plan he just bought on the Arkansas state exchange has a $US0 premium (after the government subsidy he gets because of his low income level) and only a $US750 deductible. It’s also a “Silver” plan, which has much better benefits than the vastly more expensive “Bronze” plan he ditched.
Mukherjee asked Matthews whether he had any advice for fellow Republicans now that he has learned that Obamacare actually isn’t that bad.
Here’s what he had to say:
“I would tell them to learn more about it before they start talking bad about it,” he noted. “Be more informed, get more information, take your time and study and not just go by just what you hear on one side or the other. Actually check the facts on it.”
“I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along,” he continued. “Our home is paid for, vehicle’s paid for, this is our expense that we have. We have more expense on medical care than everything else put together, so this is going to be a great help for us.”
So maybe Republicans can learn to love Obamacare? Maybe sooner rather than later? So we can get our government open again?
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