Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Mr. Donald Trump and far too many congressional and senate Republicans do not care how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will impact on middle class and poor Americans. What they care about is helping large corporations to maximize their profits and giving the rich the largest tax break that they can possibly give them via the AHCA. The healthcare insurance industry is moaning and groaning about the small profit margin that they earn (I use that word loosely) and providing misleading statistics to support their assertion while paying insurance executives huge salaries.
The assertion of a small profit margin for the industry fits in perfectly with the Republicans’ agenda and their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) so they are rallying around this assertion whether they believe the statistics or not. Many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump will be hurt by the AHCA but he has said that he fully supports its passage and implementation. This has earned him big time warm-and-fuzzy accolades from Speaker Ryan. Neither Mr. Trump nor the Republicans who support the AHCA are concerned about whether it will be a better insurance plan to cover Americans than Obamacare is but, instead, are focused on the fact that they will finally be replacing President Obama’s signature healthcare plan.
The fact that the AHCA, if implemented, will cost those who are covered by it far more out-of-pocket money than Obamacare does and will cause at least 24 million Americans to lose their coverage has no impact whatsoever on Speaker Ryan or his determination to repeal and replace (maybe) Obamacare. He says that the important thing is that the AHCA will reduce costs. Depending on your perspective – that is, if you are rich – it will reduce costs. But if you are among the middle class or poor, your costs are more likely to go up. Even if executives in large corporations do not know when to say ‘we have enough’, one would think that those politicians who were elected to represent all of their constituents and not just the rich would know when to say ‘they have enough’. One would think, and hope, that politicians would have the insight to see and understand that the middle class is the backbone of America and that to decimate it is to decimate America.
It is hard to figure out what happens to politicians after they are elected to office. As cynical as this question may sound, are things so corrupt in politics that once a person becomes involved in it that they are just somehow consumed by the corruption? Does ‘country first’ and statesmanship no longer matter? Are these supposed prerequisites and others that are required to be a dedicated leader of people and a solid patriot to various degrees – depending on the elected official and their personal mental strength and determination, gobbled up by the inherent corruption encompassed in party and politics?
A good example of what could drive someone to wrestle with cynicism like that just mentioned above is what is happening right now with the committees that are investigating whether or not Mr. Trump and/or any past or current members of his administration colluded with the Russians in an effort to impact the recent presidential election. Rather than taking this matter as a serious threat to our democracy, getting to the root of the problem and resolving it as quickly as possible, politics is dominating the investigation. There is more concern about protecting party and Mr. Trump and his administration than there is about protecting America. Where do politicians draw the line?!
Sure, it is the Republican party that is in the hot seat this time but what if it were the Democrats’ party that was in the hot seat? Would Democrats respond to the problem in the same way that Republicans are responding? Should a president who is under investigation by the FBI be putting together a cabinet – some of whom are also under investigation, or nominating someone to become a justice on the Supreme Court? Do these politicians know something that the rest of Americans do not know and that is why they are so cool and calm under these dangerous circumstances? Do they believe that they can fix the problem whenever they are ready to fix it and at a moment’s notice?
I would prefer not to be cynical and I would prefer that if we are going to fight over the issues based on party affiliation, that we fight about the regular old things that we have always fought about. At least that way I could reasonably hold out hope that we will ultimately come to our senses, stop talking past one another, stop just listening to one another and actually hear one another. And once we begin hearing one another, then I – along with the hundreds of millions of other Americans, could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We could then at least hope that our elected officials will somehow find common ground and address America’s current pressing issues. And we can hope that after that, they will use that milestone as a starting point to forge a system of bipartisan governance that will work for all of us.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line