Our Hypocrisy is not like Theirs, Parts 12 & 13.

After posting rather furiously in the months leading up to the November election, I’ve only posted twice in December. Really, I don’t know what to say anymore.

Every once in a while I stop and think about the fact that I live in a nation that elected Donald Trump President of the United States.

Unfathomable. President Kumquat.

So, I’ve been waiting for the Republican Congress to begin their next session, for Donald Trump to be sworn in. This week, the Congress began its 115th session. And the first thing they did, the very first thing, before anything else, is try to neuter the Office of Congressional Ethics. Apparently, in a House Republican conference prior to the beginning of the session, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., wrote into the rules provisions that would have prevented the OCE staff from making public statements independent of the House Ethics Committee and prevented them from investigating anonymous tips, among other things. The Office would still have existed, but without any balls.

The very first thing the new Congress did. Before they were even sworn in.

Let me repeat that, because maybe you think you didn’t read that right.

The very first thing the new Congress did. Before they were even sworn in.

Oh yeah, they got so much blow-back, including from that paragon of virtue, Donald Trump, that they eventually backed down and didn’t schedule a vote on that part of the package.

Hypocrites.

Now the next thing that the House Republicans are taking up is, of course, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare.)  In the past I’ve written extensively about the Affordable Care Act, and it’s parallels with the Massachusetts experience. I’m not going to regurgitate all of that here. I’ll just note the salient points:

  1. The “individual mandate,” which is at the core of Obamacare, was a Republican idea. It came out of the Heritage institution in response to the failed health care initiative of the Bill Clinton administration. The one that Hillary had spearheaded.
  2. The reason the “individual mandate” was incorporated into Obamacare was to defray the adamant opposition of the insurance industry, whose “Harry and Louise” ad campaign had sunk the Clinton health care initiative.
  3. Because they did not want to allow Obama to have any victories at all – regardless of how that would have helped the American people – the Republicans refused to work with him on improving or adjusting the Affordable Care Act, resulting in its passing with only Democratic votes.
  4. The constitutionality of the act was tested twice before the Supreme Court, and each time it passed muster.
  5. The Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act something like 60 times over the eight years that Obama has been in office.
  6. The Republicans have had six years to come up with a better or improved plan, yet they have not managed to come up with anything. They’ve trotted out a few “frameworks,” but nothing specific enough to qualify as an actual plan.
  7. There are approximately 16.4 million people who received insurance through Obamacare, who did not have insurance before. Most if not all of those people would lose their health insurance if Obamacare really is repealed.

Now, let’s be honest, the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect legislation. I’m not wild about the individual mandate[1], which was first enacted on the state level right here in Massachusetts, through the law the eventually became known as “Romneycare” – and which Romney threw under bus during his 2012 Presidential run.

The Republicans, if they were actually interested in making the law better and insuring that millions of mostly middle-class Americans would have access to health care, could have been working with Obama for the last six years. We know why that didn’t happen.

One of the main Republican talking points on Obamacare is that they want to bring back “patient centered” health care.

First of all, what does that even mean?

Second of all, there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that restricts a person’s ability to make their own medical decisions with their doctor. The only thing the Affordable Care Act restricts is a person’s ability not to have health insurance.

And again, that was a Republican idea.

Personally, I’d rather see single payer system. And it shouldn’t be funded through our employers, but through our taxes, as it is in most western democracies around the world.

That’s never going to happen here, of course.

The Republicans are also blaming the increases in health insurance on Obamacare. But that’s not why health care insurance is increasing. The reasons health care insurance is increasing is that the costs of health care – with the incredible advances in medical technology that we have these days – is outstripping our ability to pay for it.

We can now keep the elderly alive for many additional years – often with a very poor quality of life – but at a remarkably high cost. That’s why insurance premiums are going up. And it’s a problem for everyone.

But there is one thing we can be sure of: the Republicans are never going to talk to us honestly about health care or the Affordable Care Act. The actual facts are all against them.

Hypocrites.

The Democrats at least tweaked Trump’s famous slogan to argue that by repealing Obamacare the Republicans want to “make America sick again.”[2]

Drain the swamp? They are the swamp, my friends. They are the swamp.


[1] I wasn’t that wild about the idea when it was first introduced in Massachusetts. You’re going to force private individuals to buy and pay for health care? But that’s what the insurance industry wanted and needed. In order to defray their opposition they needed young and healthy people to buy into the health insurance system to act as ballast for the old and infirm. That’s what they needed to make the system work.

[2] Before Obamacare there were millions of Americans filing for bankruptcy because they could not afford to pay for emergency medical treatment that they had received. And it wasn’t like someone wasn’t paying for it. Hospitals, who under federal law cannot refuse patients coming to emergency rooms, had “pools” to which they contributed financially to pay for “free care” and “bad debt.” In fact, in Massachusetts the “Uncompensated Care Pool” used to be known more informally as the “Free Care/Bad Debt” pool.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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One Response to Our Hypocrisy is not like Theirs, Parts 12 & 13.

  1. Mary Lou says:

    A very intelligent, rational post! Until the partisan BS ends and intelligent, rational discussion begins I don’t see much hope of progress. I’m with you. Watching all this nonsense and trying to understand how so many could vote for Trump is beyond comprehension. Maybe you might start an A (for One) Skeptic club. 😉

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