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Trumpcare? Trump and the Republicans Don’t Care

Trumpcare? Trump and the Republicans Don’t Care
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BY DON PORTOLESE

Fresh off the precarious victory of their proposed repeal and replace, President Trump and House republicans are breathing a sigh of relief. After years of tantrums, the GOP can finally live up to their word. As Representative Chris Collins (Rep-NY) said in a recent New York Times article, “We’re living up to a campaign promise we made, the Senate made, the president made.” Considering Collins and a good number of his fellow republicans didn’t even read the bill, I wonder how he is able to make this claim. Which promises is Collins referring to? I don’t remember President Trump promising to pull the health care safety net out from under millions of Americans. But, screw it; when have the republicans ever looked out for the average American in the first place?

We can start with the very name of this proposal, “Repeal and replace.” To hear the president speak, he was going to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something far superior. He dressed it in his normal assortment of adjectives: fantastic, fabulous, terrific, tremendous, the best, the biggest, etc. However, while those adjectives may reflect republican sentiment regarding their long coveted repeal, they hardly describe the replacement part for the majority of Americans.

During their victory speech in the White House rose garden, Paul Ryan said that the pillars of Obamacare were crumbling. Insurers are pulling out left and right leaving vast numbers of people uninsured in Iowa and elsewhere. The Affordable Care Act is unsustainable. Yes, it is; thanks to republicans. How can we expect insurers to remain in a system the GOP has deliberately sabotaged? How can we continue to finance this plan when republicans have once again taken from the poor and sick in order to give back to the rich?

However, let’s set aside that snafu and move on to the promises Mr. Collins was speaking of, promises left unkept. On the campaign trail (and after the election), President Trump pledged that everyone would be insured, and no one would lose coverage. Yet, analysts have figured that 24 million people will lose coverage. Despite claiming that his health care bill would not cut Medicaid, the Congressional Budget Office says that this program will lose $880 billion. Tom Price, Health and Human “Services” Director, said that insurance premiums would not increase; however, over the first two years alone, the cost of insurance will increase by 15 to 20 percent. One can argue about how much premiums would have gone up under Obamacare, but that’s a moot point. The ball is in the republicans’ court, and, as they hold the majority, they will be entirely to blame for this wholesale decimation of health care protections for the American people.

When we consider just how long republicans have had to come up with a comprehensive healthcare reform bill, it is odd how little they really worked on it. By the president’s own admission, “It’s really only been eight weeks we’ve been working on this.”   Rather than roll up their sleeves and get down to crafting something better eight years ago, they whined and complained. Their strategy: try like hell to overturn Obamacare, and, if that doesn’t work, stonewall and dilute the plan until it ceases to be viable. Then blame democrats for failing to deliver on their promises. Yet, another example of the republican bate and blame game. These shameless opportunists have no qualms about putting the interests of their corporate sponsors above those of the American people. And this bill is a prime example of how far the republicans have strayed from anything that smacks of integrity.

Once upon a time, when conservatives were rational, they proposed a little thing called universal healthcare. Granted it wasn’t actually brought to a vote; nor did it have unanimous approval among republicans. However, it did have the support of 20 co-sponsors, many of whom were in the upper echelons of republican leadership: Minority Leader Bob Dole, (R- Kan.) along with Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), to name a few. There were even two democratic co-sponsors. Imagine that, republicans and democrats working together on such a hot-button issue. Unfortunately, that type of bipartisanship cooperation has been relegated to the the annals of history.

The point is, republicans did conceive of something similar to the Affordable Care Act. As fiscal conservatives, many rightly believed this was a good way to bring skyrocketing health care costs down. While it didn’t include Medicaid expansion, it did propose insurance pools, an individual mandate, subsidies for the poor to buy insurance, etc. It also prevented insurers from rejecting people based on pre-existing conditions. Hell, if “making America great again” entailed a return to a time of rational republicanism, I might even be on board with it. Unfortunately, those days are long gone, and, like the jobs Trump has promised to bring back, they aren’t coming back.

The real question is, what the hell happened to the republican party? They didn’t use to be this diabolical. Republicans were once an effective counterweight to the tax and spend democrats. They were the stern face of accountability that many democrats needed to answer to. However, now they seem to derive glee from doing anything that drives a wedge between the rich and poor. Compromised by corporate interests, they are fundamentally against crafting legislation that would improve things, even if it would help everyday Americans or save this country money in the long run.

While I am completely and utterly disgusted with the republicans who voted for this bill, I reserve my utmost contempt for President Trump. At least Paul Ryan and his fellow republicans have been transparent about their intentions from the very beginning. It is Trump who is the real traitor in this equation. He promised his downtrodden pawns that he would change things up in Washington. He promised them a fabulous health care bill, and, without thinking twice, gave them the shaft.

During his victory speech, Paul Ryan thanked the president for his guidance, and for “Getting this right.” Trump didn’t get anything right; he just got everything the way Paul Ryan wanted it. And what does that say about this political outsider who promised to drain the swamp? What does it reveal about this so-called champion of the working class? It says that all the hot air Trump has been spewing is merely hot air. It says that once again the politically disenfranchised have been hoodwinked by a snake-oil selling charlatan.   It says that President Trump is a liar who doesn’t give a damn about his supporters or anyone else in this country. Mr. Trump, you and your party ought to be ashamed of yourselves!

 

 

 

 

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Don Portolese
Don Portolese is a freelance writer, filmmaker, translator and Chief Editor for this website. If you wish to respond to his articles, feel free to do so in the space provided below this article.