Obamacare’s ID restrictions and liberal voting rights hypocrisy

Hughey Newsome Advisory Council, Project 21
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While the media thoroughly covers the federal government shutdown, much less attention is paid to problems with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare).

The media is paying a blind eye to the potential civil rights crisis it paves the way for.

Obamacare’s glitches and long waits for would-be applicants are well-documented, but there’s part of the rollout not catching the attention of many in the media.

As the Washington Examiner noted before the official enrollment even began, Obamacare applicants must provide some sort of identification verification. While that officially does not include a state-issued ID, it seems this exemption doesn’t protect America’s most vulnerable from having to jump through what have been described as far-reaching and insurmountable hoops.

Social Security cards, for example, are valid identification for Obamacare, but don’t forget that getting one requires proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. Per the Social Security Administration’s own website, one can only prove their identity with some form of state-issued identification.

It appears that, in order to receive Obamacare subsidies, enrollees may need state-issued identification.

It’s ironic, then, that Attorney General Eric Holder recently sued the state of North Carolina over its new voter ID law. The state law allows prospective voters three years — until the 2016 elections — to obtain a valid ID to vote. Obamacare, available for enrollment as of October 1, begins punishing those without identification in just three months through its individual mandate.

Seeing the hypocrisy here is unavoidable, but more important is what all this reveals about the voter ID debate.

Liberals fight relentlessly to protect minorities – particularly African-Americans – from alleged barriers to voting. On the surface, this seems commendable. But, considering it is nearly impossible to participate in today’s economy without valid identification, there is more to the ID issue than voting rights.

It is virtually impossible to open a checking account, travel by rail or air and apply for college or most jobs without proper identification. Subsidies offered through Obamacare are now also out of the reach to those lacking state-issued identification.

It is troubling these problems still haunt some African-Americans every day of every year, but the press and civil rights lobby only seem outraged during an election in which a liberal stands to benefit from the controversy an alleged voting rights crisis can produce.

It’s not like conservatives are completely insensitive to the issue of identification-deprived Americans. When it’s solely about voting, liberals ignore that states such as North Carolina offer free state-issued IDs — and usually a long compliance window — before ID requirements are enforced. They create a process to unlock opportunities for those currently lacking identification.

Obamacare makes the ID issue more pressing. And the left seems to have little interest in the concern that the exchanges and their subsidies – the backbone of the so-called right to healthcare – may not be available to the very people championed in last year’s voter suppression debate.

Ironically, if conservatives had their way and the Justice Department left North Carolina, Texas, and other states alone to implement voter ID laws without federal interference and offer free state-issued identification, that would not only help protect the integrity of the electoral process but could also help those same people seek the benefits of Obamacare.

Where are the special interest groups to fight for these people? Well, the NAACP is suing Texas over its voter ID law right now.

Then again, 2013 is not a national election year. Perhaps the “fact” that 25 percent of African-Americans allegedly lack valid identification is off the radar screen for now – in addition to all of the other ignored difficulties these African-Americans may be facing.