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Column - Republicans should put up or shut up

The U.S. House Republicans are like a colony of termites, voraciously nibbling away at the foundations of ObamaCare. Their latest dirty little tactic is to try to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.

They are angry about ObamaCare becoming the law of the land, and they are doubly bitter ever since the U.S. Supreme Court, to their dunderheaded disappointment, upheld the Act's key provision -- the mandate.

It's time for the Republicans to either put up or shut up. If they detest ObamaCare so much, it's time for them to come up with solutions of their own. But of course that will never happen, because these smug legislators, whose health-care packages are part of their many perks paid by taxpayers, have the selfish notion that the health-care system is not broken. Their smarmy attitude is that if nearly 50 million people have no insurance, it's their own fault. They are deadbeats and freeloaders who are not working hard enough. If they would get two or three minimum-wage jobs, surely they could then afford insurance.

And plenty of non-legislators have that same attitude of "I got mine, you get yours!" Someday, if those people lose their jobs, they or their loved ones might be high-and-dry, without the means to buy insurance. They'll be singing a different tune, maybe, when that sad day comes. Remember, there but for fortune go you and I.

So many people have said to me in the past few years, "ObamaCare is a disaster."

"Why? What don't you like about it?" I ask, genuinely open-minded as to their objections.

"Well, um . . . well . . . " they stammer. "It's run by the government; it's socialism. They'll take my insurance policy away. I won't be able to have my choice of doctors. It will be way too expensive. We'll have to wait in long lines. There's a death panel that will decide who gets treatment. Why should I pay for someone else's health care?"

It's so obvious they are parroting buzz phrases they heard from extremists like Gasbag Limbaugh.

Here is how I verbally slap back: "Listen, until you can do some research and learn some facts about ObamaCare, would you please stop spouting those lies?"

They don't like to hear that. Tough.

Obama himself was the first to say the Affordable Care Act will have to undergo plenty of tweaking in its first years. Every major program, such as Medicare, required adjustments. You would think Republicans would roll up their sleeves and brainstorm, along with Democrats, as to how to improve the law. But think again. Their sole purpose is to savagely sabotage ObamaCare at all costs. And why? It's very simple. It is Obama's law, and anything to do with Obama that might prove to be a success must be trashed, tossed out like baby with bathwater.

These Republicans are so deeply bitter about Obama's re-election that they would vote against a cancer cure if Obama came up with one.

For five years these do-nothings have been naysaying, pooh-poohing and rigidly obstructing any legislation that comes down the pike. And their rationale for their obstructionism is anything Obama proposes, they will oppose -- no matter what it is. Compromise is not a word in their vocabularies. Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of the worst obstructionists, vowed two years ago that his prime purpose as a senator was to do everything in his power to defeat Obama in a re-election bid. It was a nasty vendetta that backfired on him and other Obama-haters. And now, of course, they are more obstructionist than ever; utterly determined to sink the Affordable Care Act, which is Obama's signature legislation and the most important health act since Medicare.

We keep hearing, "Why doesn't Obama spend more time explaining how ObamaCare will work?" He has. Many times. There have also been many excellent media explanations. But the trouble is too many people aren't paying attention. The real question should be, "Why do so many people prefer lies over facts?"

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Dennis Dalman, a former reporter for the Echo Press, is a regular contributing columnist to the Opinion page. He is currently the editor of the St. Joseph Newsleader. He can be reached via e-mail at