health care

‘Trump’s Rich, He Doesn’t Care About Health Care’ — Worker In Preble County

A statue of William Bruce overlooks Eaton, Ohio, the city he founded in the early 1800s. Bruce was a member of the New Light church, a conservative Christian movement that championed an extreme, literal interpretation of the Bible. He also operated the town’s grist mill. Bruce split with the group when church officials told him it was ungodly to feed the poor on Sunday. Bruce fed them anyway, reasoning that destitute people did not choose which days to be hungry.

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.

Categories: 8th congressional district, health care, My America, Things I'm Tired Of, Understanding Trump Counties

Gun-Toting Liberal Inadvertently Reveals U.S. Healthcare Hypocrisy

About 150-200 people attended the Freedom Rally sponsored by Preble County businesses and churches. The event was designed to address our local drug problem.

No one deserves to be gunned down. Not even a politician with white-supremacy leanings.

The shooting of United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district Steve Scalise, one of nine mass shootings in the United States this week, dominated the news cycle this week.

The story brought many oddities to light. Scalise, a man who once referred to himself as David Duke without the baggage, was saved by black officers. This speaks to the officers’ bravery and willingness to do their job to protect everyone and for one day — even for Scalise — Black Lives Mattered. But that sentiment was short lived as a jury in Minnesota decided, in some cases, white lives still matter more.

But, one of the greatest twists was the issue of healthcare.

Scalise underwent several surgeries, in large part, because of the open carry law he supported. His NRA-funded support meant a mentally ill man was able to use a high-powered rifle to attack him, damaging internal organs in the process. Presumably, though, the Congressman received the best health care from the best doctors funded by taxpayers like me and you because his life matters. In fact, it matters much more than the individuals he worked so hard to take health care away from with the American Health Care Act.

His medical treatment is indicative of how unfairly health care is divvied out in the United States.

‘Wrong Job’ Means No Health Care Coverage

Buried inside a story in my local newspaper is the more common approach to health care for ‘real Americans.’

A public servant in Preble County, who works two part time jobs (one for a county agency), was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Since this individual works two part time jobs, instead of a full time job with benefits, he has no health insurance. This means the full financial brunt of the medical diagnosis is on him. It means raffle ticket sales and fundraisers throughout our community to offset what is certain to be a very costly situation. Although this Preble County man, like the Congressman, is working for the public, unlike the Congressman this local resident does not have the political clout that guarantees high-quality health care.

Political Hate

Warren Davidson, who serves in the House of Representatives for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, is Scalise’s co-worker. Davidson is also a member of the Freedom Caucus, the group largely responsible for the ‘mean’ (Trump’s words) AHCA that passed a month or so ago. Davidson, placed in the House through heavy funding by Club for Growth, is fond of saying, “It is not compassionate to bankrupt America.” Although his poorly written marketing tagline is not catching on, it does speak to the political tactic which falsely frames dissenting views. When 45* released his draconian budget a few weeks ago, Davidson was one of the first to praise it. He said,

We cannot bankrupt America. Finally, it appears we have a president who takes this problem seriously. President Trump’s budget bends the out of control spending curve in the right direction by making good on his promises to reform mandatory spending, cut wasteful programs, and balance the budget. This is a serious proposal to begin addressing our nation’s fiscal crisis.

I’ll admit I’m a cynic. I’ve heard the fiscal crisis, America is going bankrupt line of reasoning from the GOP my entire adult life. Yet somehow, we always find a way to build more MOABs, spend billions protecting oil interests in the Middle East — causing many in my community — yanked in and out of the Middle East for a decade — to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as these citizen soldiers experience underreported autrocities. Trump’s budget proposal will continue to fund these imperialistic wars via military entitlement spending while gutting funding for small communities like mine.

One of the proposals in Trump’s budget is to kill the Community Development Block Grant program. A recent front page story in my community paper details what a small Preble County village will do with the $300,000 CDBG funds it received. As a county, we have relied on CDBGs for decades because it is one of the handful of resources we still have to stem our tidal wave of poverty.

Government Is Always Bad

In 1964, John Stormer, a chairman of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans, published None Dare Call it Treason. I read (most of) the book and will readily admit, I do not have enough fear and am not conspiracy-minded enough to believe half of what is written. But the more dangerous aspect of the book — and the countless like it in the past 50 or so years — is the anti-government rhetoric. It may have inadvertently played a part in the shooting as the shooter may have grown tired of the dismantling.

We have raised a generation or more of anti-government individuals who naively believe that government can only be evil. Many are growing tired of the rhetoric realizing that politicians, not citizens, benefit from the position. But, oddly enough, in the aftermath of the gunfire aimed at the political class there suddenly arose a desire to change the tone. Even ‘Cat-Scratch Fever’ Teddy Nugent backtracked his comments about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now he wants us all to play nice.

What a cowardly hypocrite.

Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love

One of the key individuals who unleashed Donald Trump on a government-hating element of our society was political operative Roger Stone. In the documentary Get Me Roger Stone, Stone relays some of his rules which include: Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love. Stone’s political career began with Richard Nixon (he has Nixon’s face tattooed on his back) and he is the embodiment of ‘government is evil.’ He openly admits in the film that ‘unsophisticated’ (his term) voters would latch onto Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. The film is worth watching just to get a feel for how unlike most Americans political operatives can be — they thrive on power, not justice.

At the end of the day, though, one has to question who wins in this environment of hate, propaganda and politics by marketing?

I believe Scalise will come through his health care crisis financially unscathed.

I don’t feel so optimistic for the Preble County man.

Categories: 8th congressional district, health care, My America