Your lives are being stalked, America, by an elephant wearing a red, white and blue waistcoat, carrying a gun supplied by the National Rifle Association, with a war chest supplied by fossil fuel millionaires like the Koch Brothers, and a hunting license granted by an ignorant and ill informed electorate that will be among the first to die when the gun barrels open up on their health care coverage.
The Republican House of Representatives will vote once again, this week, to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in the wake of the Supreme Court's validation of the law on constitutional grounds. It will be the 31st time since the 112th Congress was sworn 19 months ago, that they are debating and voting on this or similar legislation. "[W]e've voted over 30 times to repeal it, defund it, replace it," Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, "and we are resolved to have this law go away and we're gonna do everything we can to stop it."
"If you give us more elected representatives to fix this problem, we will fix this problem in 2013."There is no doubt that Paul Ryan, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (D-VA), and the rest of the uncompromising GOP caucus see this maneuver as a political winner. After all, it's the incredible amount of of lies and misinformation being screamed at Congressional town halls during the 2009 health care debate, and the frustration that the law got passed by the Democrats, that created the Tea Party movement which gave the Republicans their majority. They will probably get those votes again, and they will sadly fall in line with Medicare cuts larger than anything going on in Obamacare.
- Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-WI), in a CNBC interview, Tuesday.
By taking up the health care debate yet again, the GOP is saying, "See? We keep voting against Obamacare and for Paul Ryan's budget! This is what you voted for, isn't it?"
Maybe every vote for a Republican this year should come with a tracking system for your sick relatives and your empty wallets, because that is exactly what the Republicans are aiming for. By reelecting them, you get to help them push granny over that cliff, and you get to go broke trying to save your child when they're diagnosed with (God forbid) leukemia.
The health care law will save money. The health care law is already saving lives.
It's no surprise that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has decided his state will not participate in the health care exchange set up by the law. First, he never met a federal plan he liked, especially one that helps people. He famously called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, both in a book and during his brief boondoggle of a presidential campaign. Now, he holds that Medicaid, the state-run programs which would get free money for the first two years the ACA is implemented, is doomed, saying he won't add Texans who need health care coverage to Medicaid because, he told Fox News, it's "like adding a thousand people to the Titanic."
The erratic Republican governor of Maine, Paul LePage, also slammed the health care law, saying that the Supreme Court finding it constitutional "has made America less free." He went on to compare the I.R.S., who will handle collection of the modest penalty for not retaining the personal responsibility of health insurance, to the Nazis, calling the U.S. revenue agency "the new Gestapo."
Such inflammatory rhetoric is not the civil discourse required of serious policymakers to solve such an enormous problem in the world's wealthiest democracy. But in the world of federal government gridlock,we have drifted from a system of checks and balances to a default setting of just checks. Congress checks the president; the president checks Congress; the Supreme Court checks both; and except for the conscience of Chief Justice Roberts two weeks ago, nothing seems to have reached any kind of balance. Our founding fathers did not create a government where two sides were never to agree. They created a government where both sides were required to find a way to agree, in order for the Republic to survive.
The Affordable Care Act was a compromise, using a system that Republicans, only months before the debate, embraced, until the entire process was corrupted by Obama haters calling it socialism and a "government takeover of healthcare."
The truth is, what the Republicans in the House of Representatives are doing is the real government takeover. They are taking your right to health care away, "sending an unmistakable message to voters that Republicans want to cut benefits for middle class families and protect insurance companies instead," Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), wrote in a recent statement.
All this emphasis on repealing Obamacare may be great for Republican fundraisers, including the Romney campaign and the super PACs, but for middle class Americans, it's nothing but a waste of their time and our money. The only way to fix things is to turn Paul Ryan's advice around, and send more progressives to Congress , to fix the big money, perpetual campaigning problems endemic to an institution that at one time was respected for crafting policies that help our society, and don't take aim at the middle class, robbing us from behind handkerchief masks they pulled from their designer suit pockets, and kicking our powerless asses to the curb. Reclaim Congress. Restore reason.