If the badly acted commercials lambasting the Affordable Care Act were even half-honest, we'd have every right to be terrified.
Death panels? Uncle Sam as a proctologist?
At its essence, the law requires that all Americans carry some form of health care insurance, which can be purchased through exchanges if you don't already have it. Despite all the yelling and spinning, that's really it.
Mandated health insurance has been on the wish list of American presidents since Theodore Roosevelt first proposed it in 1912, followed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, Harry Truman in 1945, John Kennedy's call for Medicare in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1993. One of the biggest problems is this current administration's utter inability to communicate — about anything — but particularly about what the law will and won't do.
While the new law bears some resemblance to a 1980s market-based mandate touted by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank not only denies paternity but also is calling for ACA's defunding. Like most seismic changes, the Affordable Care Act likely will follow the path of Social Security, which has been tweaked at least 300 times since its passage in 1935.
Few Americans have read the whole unwieldy, complicated bill. Maybe Texas Sen. Ted Cruz should have done so instead becoming "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave," and reading "Green Eggs and Ham" during his fake filibuster.
We do know that the ACA requires insurance companies to cover services for women, such as mammograms, prenatal care and contraceptives, which has not sat well with some faith-based groups. Young adults may remain on their parents' coverage until 26, the assumption being that they'll have their careers established by then. But it totally discounts the tsunami of student loan debt looming over the lives of many 26-year-olds.
However, the law doesn't cover every malady:
• Presidential Derangement Syndrome: People who suffer from this highly contagious disease become convinced that the occupant of the Oval Office is a bum, a charlatan and the "worst ever."
PDS caused liberals to believe the country wouldn't survive George W. Bush's administration, and in a recent poll of Louisiana Republicans, PDS sufferers blamed President Barack Obama for the government's poor response to Hurricane Katrina — which would make him a time traveler. At least now we know who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.
Advanced stages of PDS include chronic unhappiness, an addiction to punditry and an inability to give credit where it's due, as in the case of Bush's AIDS policy in Africa and Obama's dispatching of Osama bin Laden. Other signs include such nonsensical babbling as, "He's not my president!" There is no known cure. Well, apart from thinking.
• Sportus Parentitis: This malady doesn't make itself known until the child of an impacted parent expresses interest in a sport. Symptoms can trigger clashes with other sufferers, and a persecution complex that convinces the patient that his or her child has NFL potential and that everyone else is just jealous. This disease has been known to result in its sufferers resorting to fistfights at home plate in front of crying first-graders. It strikes men and women, as seen on YouTube.
Page 2 of 2 - • Couch Potatoism: Causes sufferers to believe that reality TV is better than real life. One of the residual effects of this widespread illness is that people who have no business being celebrities become rich and famous.
• Black Friday Blackout: This disease is seasonal, particularly as retailers crank up their Christmas advertising. Victims have been known to lose control of their faculties. Symptoms include calling off work to sleep in parking lots and assaulting others over $5 waffle irons.
•Overeating: This is America. No one wants a cure.