Elliot: Reality clouded over


In the world of hard, cold reality — GOP style, Obamacare is, of course, a disaster on the scale of the Age of Enlightenment and the Battle of Vienna (not to steal a scene from Terry Gilliam or anything).

(Hard, cold reality — GOP style, by the way, is far, far better than that warm, fuzzy brand peddled by some other people whose vision of reality is always cloudy. That warm, fuzzy reality is cloudy even when hard, cold reality — GOP style is clearly limpid. Not to be redundant or anything. And no, Virginia, “limpid” has nothing to do with “limp.” Go to your corner and read a dictionary. And not a British one, unless you truly enjoy eating kidney.)

In that hard, cold reality, Obamacare is probably even worse than the Battle of Vienna. As Gail Collins of the New York Times points out, Republican Ben Carson apparently compared the Affordable Care Act to African-American slavery in the enlightened times preceding the American Civil War. He denied that, being a hard, cold realist.

So let’s look at what he said: “Obamacare is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery, and … it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government.”

Um, yeah.

The curious thing about hard, cold reality and Obamacare is that hard, cold reality apparently sees the health-care reform as some sort of Salvador Dali watch dripping off the table (or whatever it’s doing — Dali being Dali, the watch might be dripping up the table).

I mean, let’s look at some data that the Urban Institute has released, titled “Number of Uninsured Adults Continues to Fall under the ACA: Down by 8.0 Million in June 2014.” From the first quarter of 2013 to June of this year, the institute reports, the percentage of U.S. uninsured non-elderly adults has fallen from 17.5 percent to 13.9 percent.

In the states that have expanded Medicaid, mostly warm, fuzzy reality states, the percentage has dropped from 14.8 to 10.1. In the not-so warm, fuzzy states, the percentage-point drop is less, but it has still fallen: 20.8 to 18.3.

These data are backed up by the Commonwealth Fund. It reports that among Americans 19-64, the uninsured rate “declined from 20 percent in the July-to-September 2013 period to 15 percent in the April-to-June 2014 period.”

And then there’s Gallup: “The uninsured rate in the U.S. fell 2.2 percentage points to 13.4 percent in the second quarter of 2014. This is the lowest quarterly average recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the percentage of uninsured Americans in 2008.”

So Obamacare appears to be working, especially in the states with the warm, fuzzy, squishy reality. The hard, cold reality people might want to take notice.

But no.

The hard, cold realists still insist that Obamacare is doom, doom, DOOM. Worse than slavery. Worse than the Battle of Vienna (which began on Sept. 11, oddly enough. That would be Sept. 11, 1683, according to reports, but they might be warm, fuzzy, squishy reality reports).

Those hard, cold realists include Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for Senate in Iowa, running in a race that’s considered to be highly competitive. Ernst, of course, became famous for a campaign ad featuring her boasting about growing up castrating hogs, which is a prerequisite for becoming a senator. Among hard, cold realists, anyway.

The hog featured in the photo was in Denmark, by the way.

Whose vision of reality is cloudy?

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