Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaking at the NAACP convention in Orlando Wednesday, compared the opponents of the Affordable Care Act to the segregationist opponents of civil rights.
“The Affordable Care Act is the most powerful law for reducing health disparities since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, the same year the Voting Rights Act was also enacted,” she opined. As recently as March, Medicare trustees predicted that the program will run out of funds in 2026.
Sebelius went on to compare the opponents of the Voting Rights Act–then Southern Democrats–to today’s Obamacare opponents, urging the audience to fight for the new law with the same arguments as civil rights demonstrators.
The same arguments against change, the same fear and misinformation that opponents used then are the same ones opponents are spreading now. “This won’t work,” ‘Slow down,” “Let’s wait,” they say. But history shows that upholding our founding principles demands continuous work toward a more perfect union… And it requires the kind of work that the NAACP has done for more than a century to move us forward. You showed it in the fight against lynching and the fight for desegregation. You showed it by ensuring inalienable rights are secured in the courtroom and at the ballot box. And you showed it by supporting a health law 100 years in the making. With each step forward, you said to forces of the status quo, “This will work,” “We can’t slow down,” “We can’t wait,” “We won’t turn back.”
The House of Representatives voted to delay several key portions of the law Wednesday evening, including the “employer mandate” which the White House chose not to implement by the date specified in the legislation.