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Don Lesser: Obamacare still a law, whether conservatives like it or not

The writer’s statement that the act was rammed through Congress without a chance by Republicans to engage in advise and consent is incorrect. You will remember the many concessions that President Obama made, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went along with, to accommodate Olympia Snow and other supposedly moderate Republicans, all of whom subsequently voted against it.

The idea that there is no reason that Republicans as the opposition party should accept the legitimacy of this bill is deeply wrong. Does this mean that you only get to consider the laws you like as legitimate? There are too many laws that someone doesn’t like. Do we get to pick and choose?

Where does the rule of law come in? If you don’t like a law, you can repeal it. If you can’t get the votes to elect enough legislators to overturn it, perhaps this means that the people of the U.S., whom you are elected to represent, do not agree with your assessment? The employers that are switching to part-time employment to avoid paying health care are likely to be treating their employees badly in other ways.

When Wal-Mart pays so little that its employees have to use the emergency room for primary health care, the rest of us should understand that Wal-Mart is shifting its health care costs onto the American public. Why should we be forced to pay for Wal-Mart and Domino’s employees’ health care? Is it somehow better because it is a corporation that is doing it? Beginning any argument “regardless of the ruling of the Supreme Court that the individual mandate is constitutional” implies again that the rule of law is optional. Does this mean that the various desegregation decisions can be ignored because they violate someone’s deeply held beliefs? Is someone entitled to shoot an abortion doctor because he believes that abortion is murder and Roe v. Wade should be ignored? The name for someone who picks and chooses laws to obey is “criminal.”

The Massachusetts health care law has not thrown our state into chaos. Insurance costs have not skyrocketed due to it. Costs have come down. Even Mitt Romney was proud of the law before he was against it.

The current government shutdown, which is led by about 40 House members, is the logical result of Fleitman’s arguments: if you don’t like a law and don’t have the votes to repeal it, simply shut down the government. Or as we might put it on the playground: “Gimme that goal or I’m taking my ball and going home.”

Don Lesser lives in Amherst.


Jay Fleitman: Why Republicans hate Obamacare

Monday, September 30, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — There have been few national political issues during my lifetime that have caused such widespread and enduring bitterness as Obamacare. Perhaps only the controversy triggered by Roe v. Wade has had such persistence. Warfare over this program is continuing in Washington between Democrats and Republicans, the most current battles being fought over the federal budget and the debt …

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