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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

The Healthcare Debate: Déjà-Vu All Over Again

The American Hero our President wants to die (image courtesy of Arizona Central)

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

What goes around, comes around.

These simple universally-known precepts are beyond the mental capabilities of elected officials in the DC Expanse. People there operate under a different set of guidelines. They believe that If you deploy a superior weapon effectively, the other side will never wield it against you in return. This short-sighted vision enables people not to learn from the past but to repeat it since they lack the awareness that the weapons that have been successfully turned against them in the past will be again in the future.

As a general rule, laws work best in a society based on We the People if We the People want them to work. When We the People participate in the process of something becoming a law that affects us, we generally are more supportive than if the legislation is handed down from on high in a one-sided manner and we are to obey or else. Two legislative acts by the Supreme Court on school segregation and abortion are the classic examples of boomerang actions with unintended consequences when the We the People process was short-circuited. On the other hand, one could point to Prohibition as an example of a democratically-initiated proposition by a determined minority that succeed temporarily until We the People could apply a fix.

When the Democratic Party passed a health care law in 2009, it was a one-sided event. It is not that the Democrats objected to Republican participation, it’s that the parties were not talking to each other. When the only form of discourse is shouting at each other often through flunkies on cable talk shows, the chances of “come let us reason together” working are between slim and nonexistent.

The Democrats were determined to pass a health care plan no matter what and that is exactly what happened. Nancy Pelosi vigorously and emphatically declared that no matter what obstacles were placed before them, the Democrats would overcome them. If there was a wall, they would go over it, if they couldn’t go over it, they would go around it, or under it, or through it, or whatever it took. And that is exactly what they did.

Democrats like to tout the success of the health care law. And there is no doubt that it has changed the healthcare for millions of Americans. Adult children are now covered through their parents’ coverage until age 26 [should it be raised higher since 39-year old Little Donny Dimwit is just a kid?]. Millions of people who could not afford health care insurance now have it at the taxpayers’ expense either in full or in part. And pre-existing conditions were no longer grounds for denial of coverage.

For most Americans, there was no change. Most Americans had health care coverage courtesy of the taxpayer through Medicare, Medicaid or as government employees or from consumers through business employer health plans. For the most part, the situation here remained unchanged.

But Democrats consistently overlook one area of significant change generated by their new health care plan. The plan was a job-killer. It was a job-killer for elected Democrats. It was a job-killer for elected Democrats in the state legislatures. It was job killer for elected Democrats in Congress. And it was a job killer for Democrats in the White House.  I do not mean to suggest that there is a direct correlation between the decade-long decline in elected Democrats and the Democratic health care plan, but certainly it was a major contributor to it. The Republican gains in 2010 immediately after the passage were especially critical as they allowed them the opportunity to maintain an advantage through the redistricting process after the 2010 census.  Undoubtedly the martyred Democrats were happy to have sacrificed their political lives for a worthy gain. Helping millions to get the health care they needed was worth it even if it contributed to an immature child later becoming president.

Now it is time for the Republicans to repeat history. Now is the time for Republicans to ram their health care legislation through the Senate. Now is the time for Republicans to ignore the Senate process, to ignore even the pretense of public discourse, and instead to force-feed America whatever it takes to claim that “repeal and replace” finally happened after Lo these 8 long years. Who cares what is in the bill. Who even knows. What matters is that our team repeal the law of the other team and pass the law of our team. Actually solving the problems of We the People is irrelevant. Everything is a zero-sum  game.

Remember 2010. Republicans have forgotten what happened then. Republicans have forgotten what they did against the Democrats. Republicans have forgotten the price elected Democrats paid when they rammed through their health care law.

What goes around, comes around. For the first six months of Republican control, it was circus time. Never in the history of the United States, has any one president and Congress provided such a never ending stream of comic nightmare as in the first months of this year. One never knew when the next hissyfit tweet would be sent or what it would say. One never knew what trump the press secretary would utter next. One never knew next when professional wrestling trashtalk would replace the language of diplomacy. It seemed as the circus would last until hell froze over or Mueller issued his report.

Eventually the real world kicked in as it always does. Now there were real issues to be addressed. Debt ceilings, budgets, Harvey, Irma, Iran, North Korea, and once again health care. Even though both parties have engaged in one-sided actions, there is a significant difference. The Democratic effort was dedicated to expanding healthcare coverage mostly at the taxpayers’ expense. The Republican effort is dedicated to reducing healthcare coverage at a mostly theoretical savings to the taxpayer. Indeed, many Republican governors already have led the way in minimizing healthcare coverage in their own states. Now that effort is to be nationalized.

Bull-Trump care will affect millions of Americans. People who don’t care about the shenanigans with Russia will care about being deprived of healthcare…or if a child is, or if a sibling is, or if someone they know and care about is. Bull-Trump will bring home to people throughout the country the meanness and small-mindedness of the party of malice in a way that collusion with the Russians hasn’t. Chanting “Lock her up” and “Build a wall” isn’t going to do much good when you have no health insurance and are on your own. Oh, that’s right. You are not going to lose your healthcare insurance, only those people are and why should We the People care about those people anyway?

Why not try Lincolncare instead?

I believe we could do better working together….We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do.

Senator John McCain, still an American hero

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