Hollow words and campaign lies do not a health care plan comprise.
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, a tepid attempt to make health care affordable to most people in the most costly health care country in the developed world. This was not Medicare for All or Single-Payer or one of the more progressive options designed to bring us in line with our cousins back in Europe.
The Affordable Care Act is a slightly revised version of the Massachusetts plan devised by then Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican then – and now as he serves as a junior senator from Utah. The ACA could legitimately be referred to as Romneycare.
But such a designation does not serve the healthcare-for-the-rich agenda of the GOP. Besides, calling the ACA “Obamacare” helps Republican bigots tie the program to a Black man, and we know how that gives their very base base someone to fear and hate.
So, for the past ten years, Republicans have been running against the evils of Obamacare that provided 20 million Americans with health insurance by the end of last year, according to CNBC. Even with no chance of success, those allegedly compassionate conservatives introduced bills to abolish Obamacare.
The closest they came was in July of 2017 when Sen. John McCain arrived from his sick bed to cast the deciding vote against killing the program, which he did not like. His reasoning was concise.
“While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations,” McCain said, “it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens.”
Yes, after seven years of opposition – which has now stretched to a full decade – Republican officials had not (and have not) offered a competing healthcare plan. That’s because they don’t care if you live or die.
And President Trump continues to lie to the American people about COVID-19 to reinforce that basic Republican tenet of profits before people.
The Woodward tapes make it clear. He lied; people died. Our death toll pushes past 200,000 and Trump keeps lying, telling a crowd of unmasked cultists last week, “It affects virtually nobody.”
Ignoring cases and deaths among the rest of the population, he told Ohioans, “It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects, that’s it.” As Common Dreams points out that statement flatly contradicts his private admission that ‘plenty of young people’ have been impacted by Covid-19.”
It’s not just a contradiction. It’s a deliberate lie. He doesn’t care if you live or die. Remember, when asked about his shoulder-to-shoulder, unmasked crowds, Trump’s reply was that he was far enough away from his huddling masses to not be threatened with infection. And the Herman Cains of the world? He’ll stay safe; to hell with them.
And those other old people? Common Dreams reports the reaction of Social Security Works: “Trump thinks that the lives of seniors (or in his words, ‘elderly people’) are disposable.”
I’m not feeling that disposable myself – despite having to shop among maskless cultists who proudly demonstrate their disdain for my well-being. (The masks most benefit others, not ourselves, good Christians.)
And, while Europe braces for a second wave of the coronavirus, the United States remains waist deep in its first wave – since there has been no national leadership to slow it down.
Want another lie? At mid-month he was telling his loyalists that he would “be doing a health care plan very strongly, and protect people with preexisting conditions.” He has had three-and-a-half years to come up with a replacement plan and has produced diddly-squat except anti-Obama rhetoric.
Recently Trump reiterated another promise against the health and welfare of Americans (and, again, mainly against the elderly).
On Aug. 8, he signed an executive order for a payroll tax “holiday,” which, as Common Dreams points out, effectively cuts the funding for Medicare and Social Security, using the same “economic relief” excuse he has used to gut long-standing environmental standards in order to put fossil fuel wealth above our health.
Such “holiday” relief would have to be paid back, but Trump said, “if he won in November that such a cut would become permanent….a move that would inherently bankrupt the Social Security System.”
Again, Social Security Works was “quick to point out the implication of what the president said and condemned Trump for threatening the program that has kept countless millions of people out of poverty—during retirement years or due to disability—since it was created over 75 years ago.”
Yes, just as Trump threatens to “defund” police in cities where his hooligans are creating chaos, he plans to defund our safety nets as well.
After his vote saved health care for millions of Americans, Sen. McCain urged his colleagues to “return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people.”
But, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observed last week, “Republican leaders are clear: They don’t believe access to affordable health care is a fundamental right. But they can’t say that, because polls show most Americans disagree. ‘Repeal and replace’ was the GOP mantra for years, although what Republicans really meant was repeal and go home. The party has never offered a viable replacement. Nor has Trump, even after winning office in part on his promise that he would.”
The evidence speaks for itself. Senior citizens who for Trump and his boot-licking lackeys will be voting against their own best interests, their own health and well-being. Do so knowing what you’re doing.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)