The GOP war on the health of Americans rages on while Republican rhetoric glosses over the realities. The latest case in point comes from 4th District Congressman Tom Cole, who wrote recently of President Trump’s commitment to “protecting and providing quality healthcare.”
Rep. Cole was referencing the litany of lies in Trump’s Feb. 4 State of the Union speech, noting, “Of urgent concern and as we monitor the spread of the coronavirus, I was glad the president affirmed his commitment to defending public health.”
Talk is cheap; actions speak louder.
On Feb. 11, Nicole Westman reported for The Verge: “As the US health care system watches the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in China and braces for a potential local outbreak, President Trump is looking to cut funding for public health preparedness programs.
“The administration’s proposed 2021 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cuts $25 million from the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and $18 million from the Hospital Preparedness Program. The administration also asked for over $85 million in cuts to the Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases program.”
Esquire sub-headlined its story: ”Cutting the CDC in the middle of a pandemic is not viable in a functioning republic.”
The Washington Post account detailed: “The budget would cut Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and also wring savings from Medicare despite Trump’s repeated promises to safeguard Medicare and Social Security. It takes aim at domestic spending with cuts that are sure to be rejected by Congress, including…cutting the budget of the Health and Human Services department by 9 percent. HHS includes the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce noted, that while Trump’s wish-list of decimating public health was being disseminated, “people were lined up in the chill rain to attend his rally tonight, at which he will lie barefaced about everything in that budget.”
And they lapped up those lies that night and at rallies since because fellow-racist Trump opposes expanded medical care as a legacy of President Barak Obama. It is a poisonous brew.
Assessing the situation as presented by Jonathan M. Metzl’s “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland,” Ian Reifowitz of Daily Kos summarized the support among our racist neighbors for Trump’s actual anti-health agenda:
“The result, backed by the data Metzl carefully lays out, was quite clear: More people died, and more people’s overall health suffered significantly, among both lower- and middle-class whites as well as the people of color toward whom many of them aimed their resentments.
“In other words, those economically vulnerable whites who support policies that end up directly harming them are ‘literally dying of whiteness.’ They are voting not just against their economic self-interest, but also ‘against their own biological self-interests.’”
The fun folks at Northern Sun offer a t-shirt emblazoned, “STUPIDITY KILLS but not fast enough.” Maybe misplaced priorities are deadlier than the quipsters think.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)