Tonawanda News

Bob Confer

August 7, 2012

CONFER: Final thoughts on 'Obamacare'

Back in May of 2011, Democrat Kathy Hochul pulled off a major coup, besting Republican Jane Corwin in the race for the 26th Congressional District seat that had been vacated by the resignation of Chris Lee. This was a huge victory for the Democrats, as the Republicans had held control of the 26th since 1968.

Political wonks across the nation claimed that Hochul’s upset was a statement against Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whom the Democratic National Committee had painted as someone Corwin would vote lockstep with. At the time, Ryan’s 2012 federal budget proposal called for a major overhaul of Medicare which would have transformed the oldster care from a guaranteed benefit program into a system under which care was provided by private insurers yet was funded by government subsidies. The voters feared for the program’s future – and theirs – and thusly showed their displeasure at the polls.

The Republicans did little to steer away the criticisms during the special election, nor did they call out the Democrats at their own game. It’s the latter which will come back to haunt them -- and a majority of Americans when they come of retirement age in the future.

Had the GOP not been so overconfident in thinking that the Democratic acquisition of the seat was unattainable – and had they done their homework – they would have realized that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which had already been signed into law a year earlier, will have a deleterious effect on Medicare recipients. They could have easily countered the Democrats by identifying their hypocrisy.

Their arrogance aside, the national Republican leadership obviously didn’t study the bill in detail before it became law, and it took them many more months to uncover the intricacies of “Obamacare”. We still see this to this day as Republican Congressmen and talk show hosts continue to unearth portions of ACA that they should have known about some time ago. Among them is the Medicare portion. They have noticed a gutting of the program; I’m sure you’ve heard presidential candidate Mitt Romney say that President Obama is taking $500 billion from Medicare.

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Bob Confer