I really do try to see the intellectual arguments behind the politicians that utter them and I really do try to keep my judgements closely aligned to the agree/disagree axis, as opposed to the anger/unreasonably mean axis that seems to be in vogue these day.
But on both health care and the environment, I just can’t help but think that the Republican Party is using its treasured Second Amendment rights to shoot itself in multiple locations on its body politic. I understand that the voters who installed this regime thought terribly of President Obama and wanted the ACA repealed, and I also understand that many farmers and ranchers and manufacturers detest Environment Protection Agency rules on land use and cleanup, and many more deny the science behind the changing climate, but did these voters truly want what’s ambling down the lane? Do they really want to lose health insurance coverage and to make the air and water dirtier? Because that’s what’s going to happen.
It’s no secret that the Trump administration wants to take us back to some mythical past where the country was greater than it is now, but that invariably means that we’ll go back to a time when air and water pollution was at its height, lead paint sickened children, DDT killed eagles, sludge in rivers forced any kind of wildlife to flee or die and people died because they did not have adequate health insurance or access to medicine. Is this what people voted for?
On health care, the GOP is so bent on repealing the ACA quickly that they’ve created a program that will strip away insurance from millions of people, cut taxes for the wealthy, and only the wealthy, cut back on assurances that certain medical procedures – especially those that relate to women and the elderly – would continue, and increase the budget deficit. Their plan will also make insurance cost more for those unable to qualify for Medicaid and to cut money for Medicaid recipients to the point where they won’t be able to get the full coverage they would under present rules. And all of this is being done because the GOP believes that insurance companies, who will still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, will magically cut their premiums in the name of competition.
I certainly appreciate that premiums have risen under the ACA, but at least people still retain their insurance and most are shielded from the cost because they qualify for subsidies. Rather than fixing the problems so people can retain coverage, the GOP plan ensures that many insured citizens will lose their plans. And all in the name of ideology.
As for the environment, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s statement last week that he doesn’t believe that human activity has anything to do with any climate change is beyond ignorant, and is a danger to life on this planet. His position, then, is that we should be able to freely pollute the air and water because, really, who are we hurting? Has someone ever shown him the pictures from the 1960s and 70s that show the haze and pollution over both urban and rural areas? It’s astounding.
Fortunately, I live in New Jersey, where the air is clean, the water is crystal clear and fresh, the traffic is minimal and there are, thankfully, no toxic waste sites. None. Because if I lived in a state that had a great deal of pollution or an abundance of carbon monoxide-spewing cars or terrible traffic or long-ago-but-obvious-today violations of industrial laws because let’s say chemical and manufacturing companies illegally dumped ungodly amounts of toxins in the water or in leaky rusting drums and left them beside some chain link fenced in area near a stinky, foul river and then claimed that they didn’t have to clean it up or vented smelly fumes without cleaning the smokestacks near the, well, let’s call it a Turnpike for want of a better word, then I would be outraged that the new head of the governmental agency responsible for ensuring that the country is as clean as can be recently denied that humans have anything to do with why the climate is changing.
So when I take my giant SUV out to drive along this great flat earth of ours, I can do so with a clear conscience and the freedom to pollute at will because not only is carbon monoxide not responsible for climate change, it’s also non-polluting. Because if it polluted the air, then it would be a contributing factor in the climate. But it doesn’t. So it doesn’t. Scott Pruitt told me so. So shut up.
The Republican agenda is danger to the country. A government that purposefully ignores the health of its citizens and actively works to undermine it deserves to be opposed at every turn.
The shiny object that has our attention is the latest nonsense spewing from Trump’s mouth at any given time. And while the media is focus on Trump and the Republican’s talk about repealing Obamacare, a move that will take healthcare away from 32 million Americans, and while the media is captivated by Trump’s dictator-style treatment of them, the bigger story is the Republican’s radical plan to end Medicaid.
This radical plan has nothing to do with the ACA and everything to do with conservatives’ long-standing ideological goal to cap and cut federal Medicaid spending. Medicaid has been a pillar of our health-care system for 52 years and now insures nearly 1 in 5 Americans. A per-capita cap (sending a fixed amount to the states for each beneficiary) or a block grant (sending a fixed amount to the states for their entire program) would be an unprecedented abandonment of federal responsibility by giving states substantially less federal funding than they would get under Medicaid today, with the cuts growing larger each year. That would pass the buck to the states, our health-care safety net and all Americans — and deny care to the most vulnerable among us.