As the number of Americans without health insurance drops quickly, Affordable Care Act opponents have a decision to make: how best to respond to good news.
The right could use the opportunity to reevaluate its odd hatred for the law. Or maybe it could argue that the drop in the uninsured rate is heartening, but they have broader concerns that remain unresolved. Or perhaps they could consider the ACA data and declare, “Benghazi!”
But this should not be among their options.
A Tennessee state senator thinks it’s unwise for the Obama administration to brag about how many Americans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, likening it to the Nazis touting how many Jews were shipped off to concentration camps.State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Tenn.) made the comment on his personal blog Monday morning in a post called, “Thought of the day”:“Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatiry [sic] sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s.”
Putting aside the fact that the individual mandate was a policy provision that Republicans supported for many years – right up until President Obama said he agreed with them – it takes a unique perspective to see a parallel between Americans having access to affordable medical care and Nazi concentration camps.
By this reasoning, signing up for private health insurance isn’t just disappointing to this Republican lawmaker; it’s actually evil.
In the larger context, meanwhile, the right’s knee-jerk Nazi comparisons really are a bit much.
The Affordable Care Act? It’s like the Nazi Holocaust.
Concerned about growing economic inequality? “If you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany.”
Pursue a foreign policy the right disapproves of? Expect Neville Chamberlain comparisons.
American society in general? It’s “very much like Nazi Germany.”
I’m not saying that Nazis can’t serve as occasional reference points for historical comparisons, but when it becomes reflexive, it’s really not healthy.