Let me be clear (as our old friend, Bernie Sanders is wont to say): I am for a single-payer, universal, Medicare-for-all health care system paid for by higher taxes on corporations and the extremely, obscenely rich. I would have supported it when Harry Truman tried to get it passed, I was for it when the Clintons tried it once again, and I was for it when Barack Obama and the Democrats got at least something through Congress in the Affordable Care Act.
I am not naive to the fact that there are many problems with the A.C.A. but I am certain that, with all the energy and political capital now being used to “repeal and replace” it, we could “mend it, not end it” in a bipartisan manner and probably within one presidential term. But not, obviously, with this President.
Watching wonky Paul Ryan with his rolled-up shirt sleeves and outdated power-point presentation the other day, it was as though the unreal world in which we seem to be living these days was unfolding before me. He actually believes that the “free market” system and competition between health care providers and health care savings accounts would provide better coverage at a lower cost to consumers (I prefer the word “patients,” you know – sick people!).
Does anyone actually believe that a single mother of two, working a job and a half to keep food on the table would have the time and energy to run around to multiple doctors’ offices, get a price (a bid?) on what might turn out to be a much-needed, life-saving medical procedure, “comparison-shop” the market and then decide where she should take her suffering child for treatment? The absurdity of such an approach is only rivaled by its heartlessness.
And, in contrast to the Democrats’ principled opposition to this new proposal, the GOP opposition is mainly arguing for even worse approaches with Rand Paul’s (for whom I used to have at least some respect) being the most callous. And he is a physician. Maybe that explains it.
Except that the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the AARP all oppose this Trump-endorsed, Republican plan. They know that it will throw millions off of their health insurance and put in place a system which will actually cover fewer people at a higher cost.
Donald Trump’s fall-back position is reportedly to step back if the Republican plan fails, let Obamacare collapse under its own weight, and blame the Democrats! All this while thousands suffer and die because their previously relied upon health insurance has been cancelled. His narcissistic and vengeful personality has probably not even thought about those likely consequences. Only how sweet it would be to blame the hated Obama and his Party for the chaos which would most certainly occur in the face of this kind of neglect.
It has been hard for me even to sit down at the computer and compose a blog in recent days and weeks. I cannot believe that this country I love is spiraling out of control and to such depths. Except for fruitless opposition by the minority Democrats in Congress and noble protests at Republican town hall meetings and in various state capitals, nobody even seems to be doing much about it. I do not understand how so many people consistently vote against their own self-interests even when they are motivated by the scare tactics of the oligarchy which supports Donald Trump and his minions.
These are scary times, my friends. Join me in resisting these trends whenever and however you can. And please, please, please cast your votes in 2018 and 2020 for Democrats or progressive Independents who can actually win and begin to slow our increasingly rapid slide into tyranny.