Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trumpcare - The Sequel

The Senate's Republican caucus finally came out with its secret health care bill, and it's almost as appalling as the House bill, if not more so.  It cuts back on Medicaid severely and then caps the growth of it in the interest of "saving" money and "saving" Medicaid for future generations, when in fact the cuts mean that one in five Medicaid recipients will be thrown off the rolls, including thirty million children. People with private insurance will be affected because the companies they buy coverage from will have the right to cut coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and even opioid addiction treatment.  Planned Parenthood will have its funding eliminated for only one year, with the apparent idea that it won't even last six months without federal aid.  Women's health care?  Finis!  And what will the savings from this bill be passed on to?  More infrastructure finding?  More funding for public education?  Job training?  Nope - tax breaks for the rich!
A lot of people are angry at the Republicans, but a good deal of anger should be directed at the Democrats for blowing it in the 2016 elections.  The Republican Party, now completely in charge of everything in Washington, is taking health insurance away from twenty-odd million Americans for the same reason they put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court - because they can.  And they're very gleeful in how they're going about it.  The Senate's heath care bill - which still has to be reconciled with the House bill - was released in time of a vote before the Independence Day recess but not so coincidentally put out after the last two of five special congressional elections held after Donald Trump was elected President were over, the GOP having won all five of them.  The message to Democrats and left-leaning independents is clear: We are in charge, we have the majority, you don't matter, and you will do what we tell you - so shut the f**k up!      
If there's any positive side to the current health care overhaul debate in Congress (and I'm grasping at straws here),  it's that at least two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have reservations about the defunding of Planned Parenthood, while GOP Senator Dean Heller of Nevada has already said he cannot support the bill in its current form because of the proposed Medicaid cuts.  Four more GOP senators - Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Ronald Johnson of Wisconsin - also have reservations about the bill, but only because it doesn't go far enough!   Donald Trump himself called the House bill "mean," but if the House bill is mean, than the Senate bill is meaner.
Democrats ought to just surrender - not on this one issue, not on this one battle, but on the whole damn war.  The party is too ineffective to even survive.  Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, should hold a press conference and announce that the Democrats are breaking up (and not because one of them is dating Yoko) and let a new party succeed it.  Democrats are not up to the task of opposing Trump in 2020.  While left-leaning political movements in European countries are enjoying a comeback, the Democrats remain hopelessly moribund - going full Whig.  A new liberal populist party is, as always, our only hope.  If we're ever going to get universal health insurance and all the other nice things in European countries that give American liberals a severe case of Euro envy, we have to form a new party, and we have to form it now.
(I know Martin O'Malley has called for his fellow Democrats to get their act together -"If we want to win again, we need to look voters in the eyes, and tell them, unapologetically, what and who our party stands for and why," he recently tweeted - but of course no one in the Democratic establishment listens to him. :-( )

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