While T-Money sat on the sidelines during the ‘skinny repeal’ Tweeting ‘Go White, Angry Guys, GO!’ (I may be paraphrasing his Tweet slightly) my mother, 75, and her older sister, 82, had spent weeks ‘worrying themselves sick’ about what would happen to their health care. Being of a generation where a grade school education was considered adequate, they have very limited options on purchasing quality care.
They are not really in a position to alter that either, but like the Preble County man, a conservative, I quoted in the headline stated — Trump isn’t concerned about the issue.
Based on his Tweets since the failed vote — for 45* health care repeal is about the political win.
The Blame Game
Once the legislation was defeated by Trump’s on-again, off-again hero John McCain, the crying and finger-pointing began.
Freedom Caucus member Warren Davidson, who represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, was one of the GOP politicians to start whining, Tweeting his favorite tagline, ‘It is not compassionate to bankrupt America.’
Besides the obvious, that Senator Mazie Hirono was not issuing an insult instead she was actually asking a legitimate question of a Party that a decade or two ago branded itself as Compassionate, what I found even more interesting about Davidson’s Tweet is the lack of interaction. I captured the image two days after it was written and it still only had 3 ReTweets and 16 Likes. There were 17 comments and none of the comments were from supporters of his position.
The GOP, with its oppositional approach to governing, have proven themselves to be incompetent fools (that’s an intended insult) in the health care repeal debacle, but they are highly skilled in one aspect — they know how to frame an issue. Ever since Ronald Reagan attached the label entitlement to social safety nets, the GOP has had a field day trying to undo as many as possible because, they know, Americans hate the word entitlement.
Of course, the people impacted by destroying the safety nets are citizens like my mother and aunt.
Frame and Reframe
Davidson’s Tweet frames health care as a situation where if it’s not repealed the country will spiral down into a debt-ridden abyss. An either/or situation. But one would presume, with the plethora of options available, other methods of cutting costs exist. For starters forgoing the $1.6 billion earmarked in Trump’s proposed budget for a wall on the southern border that the Freedom Caucus supports.
If the ‘big, beautiful wall’ is going to be transparent like Trump suggests (so no one is hit in the head by bags of drugs being tossed over) just put up a plastic orange snow fence with some no trespassing signs.
It will be just as effective and cost pennies on the dollar.
Is Health Care A Right?
Many of my conservative friends and family — and even those with ties to Christian fundamentalism — do not view health care as a human right. After all, they reason, why should I ‘pay’ for someone else’s healthcare. It’s their responsibility. Whether it’s a human right can be debated, I suppose, but whether it is humane to deny health care access cannot be debated especially if one claims to be pro-life.
You either believe life is sacred, or you don’t. If you do, then take the humane route and make health care affordable to all Americans.
Here Come The Levellers
It was, in part, the Bible — or at least a novel interpretation of it — that changed the power structure in the western world. Many of the liberties we take for granted in America are the result of a group largely lost to history — the Levellers.
England’s Levellers shifted the political structure by contesting the notion that Kings were ordained by God (despite earlier interpretations of the Bible) — and in doing so they also fought for a broader voting base and for increasing the ability of ‘commoners’ to govern themselves. (The movement was considerably more than this — read The Leveller Revolution by John Reed (2016) to get a thorough understanding of their tactics and beliefs).
It was also their belief that people have the ability to reason — and if they can reason, they can govern.
Age Of Reason
But, it is the reasoning that is missing in our current era. A minority of Americans reasoned ‘what could possible go wrong,’ and supported 45* helping him squeeze out an Electoral College win. And politicians of the majority party reasoned that they could do whatever they wanted because the ‘American people have spoken’ by putting them in power.
Sensible people see the error in the logic.
For example, Davidson touts that he won 77% of the vote in the June, 2016 election. It is, after all, a fact. As an avid Cincinnati Reds fan I know that the Reds won the 1919 World Series, but I never say that because a tainted (gerrymandered) system yields tainted results. However, I will talk about the 1975 World Series — a contest that pitted two of the best teams in MLB history against each other.
It was an untainted Series and a legitimate victory for the Reds. It was also a bit of a quandary for my pre-teen self. I was a fan of both teams. I mean, the Red Sox had Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Carl Yastrzemski — and the Reds, well they had Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan. Although my allegiance tilted toward the Reds, either way I would win since both of my favorite teams were competing.
If only politics worked the same way.
Out Of Touch
A strong sense of decency is driving many Americans to push back against the current political mayhem. More Americans are questioning why they cannot have access to the same quality of care as, say John McCain or Steve Scalise. They are also tired of a Party wanting to ‘Repeal and Replace’ with health care plans that are more harmful to average Americans.
Plans that hurt people like my mother and aunt.
In a recent article by Freedom Caucus members Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, written about a week before the failed Affordable Care Act repeal vote in the Senate, the duo preemptively tried to discredit the Congressional Budget Office. They wrote,
Congress too often makes the mistake of blindly following projections of the Congressional Budget Office that later prove to be grossly inaccurate. The CBO’s reputation among the public and the media may be strong, but its track record in providing accurate estimates to Congress leaves much to be desired.
The pair then proceeds to show all the wrong projections about the CBO’s rating of the ACA. Although attacking the credibility of institutions represents a new low for the GOP, they are missing the larger picture.
Many (most?) Americans, like mom, are not interested in political blathering. And far too many Americans no longer trust the intentions of the GOP. Others, like the man I quoted, accept the reality that the current health care system needs tweaked and want improvement, not replacement. Americans like myself, expect a bi-partisan approach to health care because, at the end of the day, I don’t want my mother and aunt exempted from health care just to satisfy the Orange Menace’s ego or to pad a rich man’s wallet.
And, I certainly don’t want ideology to bankrupt an individual or a family — and even more importantly I do not want it to cost someone their life. One of the commenters to Davidson’s Apples-to-Oranges Tweet said,
Debt is only money, healthcare is American lives. Shame on you for showing your true priority of money over lives.
I agree and would add, if you’re pro-life, then be pro-life from the uterus to the grave.