I’ve been so pissed off about the shutdown I forgot on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the Insurance Exchange and the first day people who are uninsured can buy medical coverage. Sure, the first day was an online fiasco but you know what?-- it’ll get straightened out and the system’s in place to serve the uninsured. For those of us who have friends and family members with preexisting conditions, employed or not, we no longer will worry whether we can get medical insurance. Sure, it will cost money— nothing’s for free — but it will be there for everyone.
That’s not a small thing that went into place on October 1. If I’d had my way, we would have in place a much simpler system of universal health coverage, we'd reign in runaway medical costs, and we'd improve efficiency and effectiveness of medical treatment. But what we got on October 1 is a step forward, a big step forward--- especially considering where we were four years ago.
And most important, we’re not going backwards. How fast we go forward in making our medical care system work for people depends on how important it is to us and to those we elect to lead us. But after October 1 we are not going back.
Which makes the Tea Bagger cum spineless-GOP-follower shutdown of the government (and what’s next for the debt-ceiling deadline) look nakedly cynical. What is there to negotiate about the Affordable Care Act when we are not going backward?
Maybe the next hostage-taking and act of domestic terror to threaten economic chaos will be to force us to build the Keystone pipeline. Dismantle the EPA? Rescind pollution controls on fracking and burning coal? Drill in the Arctic and off our shores?
The list can be endless and will go on and on until the real Republican leadership stands up to work to govern.
In the meantime, I’ll stop being pissed off for a while and happily celebrate what was achieved October 1. Then move on.