Monday, March 26, 2012

The hypocritical GOP war on healthcare

Today I visited the GOP website and the front splash is "Repeal Obamacare," showing a lawsuit of the people of the United States versus The Obama Administration.  The petition message reads: As the Republican Attorneys General from the twenty-six states challenging the constitutionality of Barack Obama and the radical Democrats' disastrous "ObamaCare" healthcare takeover prepare to make our case for liberty before the United States Supreme Court, I am proud to offer my pledge of support to these principled men and women working to safeguard our precious American freedoms.

I am so amused when I sneak onto Facebook and blog conversations among staunch conservatives and read their parroted missives from the likes of Rush and Fox News about how the Liberal Conspiracies have ruined the fabric of America.  I feel a little more indignant when this comes straight from the official mouth of the Republican National Committee.

The Affordable Healthcare Act (e.g. ObamaCare) was enacted two years ago, which is why both parties are making a scene: Dems are celebrating its passage and the GOP are flagellating because it has contaminated our purity of essence. You can tell which side of the argument I am on.  Here are just some of my arguments against the GOP's crusade to convince Americans that healthcare is wrong.  
  1. First of all, grammar check for the GOP author: was the legislation radical, or were the Democrats who passed it? It was passed 219-212 in the House and 60-39 in the Senate.  Since 100% of the Senate Democrats and over 90% of House Democrats voted for it, the GOP has articulated that nearly all Democrats are Radicals.  Dear author of the petition: if you meant to say the legislation is radical, LEARN TO WRITE!!  Oh wait, educated people are liberal snobs.  My mistake...
  2. Is the healthcare act disastrous?  Let's first talk dollars.  A quick check of the non-partisan OMB says that over 10 years, the statute could lead to a deficit reduction over 1 trillion dollars, with a longer-term deficit reduction around 0.5% of the GDP.   A more recent estimate from the CBO also suggests 50 billion dollars in savings in insurance subsidies.  Even if all of these are overestimates by a factor of two, we are still talking about HUGE savings to taxpayers.   In other words, deficit reduction and less taxpayer burden is disastrous to our country and way of life.  
  3. Let's now talk impact to citizen health.  The CBO estimates that by 2019, there will be 32 million more Americans with healthcare.  By the end of 2011, the number of uninsured 19-25 year olds declined by almost 400,000. And just to ice the top of this cake, many small businesses started offering healthcare insurance for the first time.  Medicare medicine costs dropped by about 40% on average.  Again, more Americans with affordable healthcare coverage is going to destroy the fabric of our great country.
  4. There is no rational argument to be made that health insurance doesn't save money.   
  5. Do the statutes threaten our liberty and "precious American freedoms?"  The United States Consitution was enacted, in part, to "promote the general welfare."  How does one promote the welfare of citizens if they are unable to sustain an acceptable quality of life by maintaining reasonable access to medical care?  How does one enjoy life, liberty and pursuit of happiness if one must face financial ruin to cure treatable illnesses?  In short, how does keeping the population healthy diminish our freedom?  
  6. Do "precious American freedoms" refer to keeping the government out of our houses and our lives so that we can all do as we please?  If so, then this is the great conservative hypocrisy: I can pass radically-intrustive laws telling you how to run your life, but you can't do anything that even risks being intrusive to me.  It is not only acceptable, but the sacred duty of a conservative to actively invade or restrict my life if I'm doing things they don't like (i.e. abortion control, access to contraceptives, prayer and creationism in school, just to name a few) while vigorously crying foul if the government even suggests that they do something, whether or not they like it.  Simply put, why is it right for the GOP to shove a medically unecessary probe up a woman's uterus but wrong to give everyone medically necessary healthcare coverage?
  7. The litany of conservative hypocrisy does not stop there.  Imagine what would happen if Senator Reid stood up this morning on the Senate floor and announced a new task force to investigate ending unemployment insurance, social security, and food-assistance programs.  Would the GOP and all of its constituents be up in arms?  These are all socialized forms of federal assistance, where everyone pays in whether they like it or not.  Is the GOP vigorously fighting social security or unemployment insurance?  Every person who pays taxes on salary must pay into these through mandatory FICA contributions.  Are these programs "disastrous," created by unprincipled men and women, and threatening to destroy "our precious American freedoms?"  If these "entitlement" or "social-safety net" programs are good for America, then how exactly is a nationalized healthcare system dangerous?
What can we do to stop these ideological policies of "just say no" and "separate and unequal?"  It may really come down to a tit-for-tat series of laws like the REPRIMAND legislation that we are promoting.  Conservatives acting on their own, and the GOP in general, may not stop taking away our rights until it starts happening equivalently and in kind to them.  There have been a lot of arguments that "an eye for an eye makes the world go blind" through mutually-assured destruction but such a threat can also have a very strong deterrent effect.  Think of how well President Reagan's nuclear missile shield worked (whether or not you agree with what he did).  

If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired (to paraphrase Monty Python) please forward these ideas to your friends, and write your lawmakers urging them to consider what our REPRIMAND laws would accomplish.

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