Traci Dippert, Chair, Culpeper County Democratic Committee

Myths have a place in life, they are just not a good explanation for life’s problems.  The local Culpeper Republican Committee recently called on state officials to not participate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) claiming it provides healthcare that is inferior to that provided by private insurance.

It is a myth that the ACA provides inferior health care to private insurance.  The ACA still relies totally on private insurers – it merely sets minimum standards and “exchanges” where customers can compare policies.  It also requires insurers to take people with preexisting conditions, to not abandon those who get seriously sick, and help low-income people afford coverage.

The Culpeper Republican Committee also added a call to fight Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse.  On fighting Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse, we couldn’t agree more.  Medicaid fraud is committed by insurance companies, nursing homes, doctors and scam artists; not people wanting an extra colonoscopy.  According to one media study, Medicaid fraud now totals about $60 billion a year and has become one of, if not the most profitable, crimes in America (check out:

The problem with the Republican approach to tackling waste, fraud, and abuse, is to call for government to do more with less.  But less police on the street doesn’t stop crime, and a smaller Medicaid inspector general staff can’t stop fraud.  The Republicans are over their own ideological barrel. To fight fraud and abuse, you need staff, but staff means big government.  With their fearful myth of big government and opposition to providing the resources to tackle fraud, the Republican Party does not fight fraud, it enables fraud.

It is also a myth that the health care previously provided by private insurance was top quality.  Our healthcare system is the only system in the world designed to avoid sick people.  For-profit insurers have earned billions while rejecting people with preexisting conditions or at high risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  They have routinely dropped coverage of policy holders who become seriously sick or disabled.  The U.S. has one of the worst health outcomes of all rich countries including highest rates of infant mortality, shortest life spans, largest portions of populations never seeing a doctor or receiving preventive care, and most expensive uses of emergency rooms.

In the end, the Republicans are denouncing their own program, whether it is the one in Massachusetts or ACA itself.  From Richard Nixon’s healthcare plan through the musings of the Heritage Foundation, Republicans for years urged that everything be kept in the hands of private insurers but the government set minimum standards, create state-based insurance exchanges, and require everyone to sign up.  Perhaps we should be asking why the Culpeper Republicans now stray from the Party’s traditional centrist positions.

But then what else would you expect from corporations seeking to maximize profits and Board Room compensation?  Forbes Magazine lists the CEO of United Health Group as the eighth best compensated CEO at $48.83 million in 2012 (see:  While corporate executives are expensive (see also:, profits adequate to satisfy shareholders also detract from resources available for healthcare.

While the Culpeper Republicans want to go back to the good old days of denying people insurance because they are sick, according to the Washington Post, the private insurance companies support the ACA and are outspending the Koch brothers (see:  While some cling to the myths of yesteryear, most of the rest of us have re-evaluated them and moved on.