I don’t think any of us will ever forgot Alan Grayson’s description of the then GOP health care plan in 2009-2010 while a majority of Democrats in Congress were in the throes of crafting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Of course the GOP fought its passage tooth and nail. We heard about so-called death panels in which a board comprised of ghouls from the medical and insurance industry would decide who gets to live and who would die. Actually, the GOP should know a lot about death panels. Because Republican Governors are known merchants of misery and suffering. For when there are state budget shortfalls the GOP will always make public school children, the poor and elderly pay the price. Some people will go without food and medical treatment.
After the ACA/Obamacare passed into law we witnessed a summer long display of Tea Party rallies that railed against Obamacare and Obama himself. Bigots depicted the duly elected POTUS as a Kenyan Muslim and/or Hitler. Fox “News” was only too please to cover and air them as often as possible. Fox actually staged some of these rallies themselves.
Meanwhile, Grayson had stood on the floor of the House armed with charts. He bluntly and boldly described the GOP’s healthcare plan.
Now that the GOP has the majority in the House, Senate as well as President “Elect” who has promised to kill “the disaster” called the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, its repeal is a reality. Trump promised to replace it with something “great.” House Speaker Paul Ryan said his plan is “almost ready.” Trump also told the Washington Post he had his own plan but he hasn’t said what it is.
Earlier in the week a Congressmen in Colorado ran out of his own meeting when hundreds of constituents showed up. On Tuesday a Congressman from a district north of Houston faced impatient constituents who wanted to know where are the plans for future healthcare coverage? Representative Brady had no policy proposals to discuss with his constituents. The Congressman irked several in the room when he lied about Planned Parenthood having used taxpayer funds for abortions. When a woman in the room shouted “don’t lie!” the Congressman asked the audience for respect. Dude. When you disrespect people by arrogantly lying to them you deserve no honor.
So now that Republicans are aware of the pervasive anger and angst that is brewing over the loss of affordable healthcare the spineless wimps have decided to hide from their constituents.
Meanwhile Americans who are covered by Obamacare have been trying to reach House Speaker Paul Ryan’s offices. His offices have been overwhelmed with calls and petitions, apparently, so what did Ryan do? He turned off the phones, disabled the fax machines and his office refuses to accept petitions delivered in person. So now folks are on Facebook and Twitter publicly posting his home address so Ryan can be reached by snail mail.
It’s easy to understand why Russian dictator Putin would chose Trump and authoritarian, democracy loathing Republicans as his puppets.
Is this how Republican lawmakers treat citizens who have every right to be concerned and know about the status of their future healthcare coverage? While repealing Obamacare might be a political exercise for the Republican goons in Washington DC the reality behind the stoppage is going to hurt people badly. What are those in the middle of chemotherapy going to do when their insurance company is no longer required to pay for their treatments? Die quickly?
People have every right to be terrified and infuriated.
So, why is it so hard for the Republicans to come up with an alternative to the ACA, Obamacare?
This is why Republicans can't find a replacement for Obamacare.
It’s a Republican plan and it has been for over 40 years.
The key reason the Republican Party is having such a hard time with the replacement part of “repeal and replace” is that Obamacare is virtually the same privatized mandate plan it pushed for since President Richard Nixon first proposed the National Health Strategy in 1971 then again in 1974. Then the GOP revived its privatized mandate plan again in 1993 with then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole helping to propose the Health Equity and Access Reform Today act or HEART as the alternative to the proposed single-payer plan Health Security Act of 1993 — commonly known as “Hillarycare“ — and then again when then-Gov. Mitt Romney proposed — and succeeded in implementing — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2006 in Massachusetts
The GOP is between a rock and a hard place. They have no alternative to their 40 year old plan. Of course the Party could revert to its former plan, as Alan Grayson aptly described above. Don’t get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly.
As a result, the GOP’s repeal and replace position backs it into a challenging corner. It has no real replacement plan because the ACA is essentially the privatized mandate it has pursued for so many years. The only possible alternative to a 40-year-old GOP plan would be reverting to the old system, leaving millions of people without full coverage or proper health care. Even those with coverage — perhaps through their employers — could then once again have a cap on lifesaving treatments, such as those for cancer, and thereby reinstating the privatized insurance “panels” deciding the profitability of patient treatment versus patient outcomes.
Or the Republicans could go with what we all would prefer. Single payer, universal care or Medicare for all.
Or, the GOP could go with the Democratic option — a single-payer system — the same plan that virtually every major western democracy has successfully implemented with significantly lower cost and higher life expectancy than America has, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund study, and with much better patient-centric results. (America ranks 37th in the world in patient health outcomes as reported by the World Health Organization.)
This option would obviously never fly with a Party that loathes big government and all social insurance programs which it demonizes as “entitlements.”
I just heard Congressman Brady (the same mentioned above) give an interview on Houston’s Public Radio. He said he is working on a plan to raise the retirement age to 67. This and there is a scheme in the works to gut Social Security in addition to Obamacare. Tragically, now that the Republicans hold the majority of both houses and the White House the Party can dismantle the programs it has despised for generations. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Civil Rights.
So. What do we do aside from throwing out every Republican bum we can in 2018?
We can do what frustrated constituents in Iowa did when their representative refused to meet with them.
What are citizens to do? What Rep. Rod Blum’s (R-IA) constituents did: hold a protest in front of his office and invite the local media. That way their stories get told to a much larger audience, and these cowardly Republicans are exposed for what they are.
The Republicans know that what they want to do is immensely unpopular. Most are also cowards and fear losing their seats more than anything else. Our job is to make them wish we were never born. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Call their offices frequently. When the phones are shut off, show up at their district offices. Take a group of family, friends and neighbors with you.
And as horribly cynical and grim as “don’t get sick,” if you do “die quickly” sounds, it is what the GOP has in mind. Republicans need to hear this 24/7.