Wednesday, November 30, 2016

White Christian Voters Place in Office Adminstration Planning to Cut Healthcare Coverage of Millions: Pro-Life?

Some bona fide pro-life discussion of government safety-net programs providing healthcare coverage from the last two days, which I can easily share by cutting and pasting, even with a finger I'm babying:

For progressives of any stripe, Medicare has to be a bright, hot line. One of the great triumphs of progressive government in the 20th century was its virtual elimination of hopeless poverty among the elderly. Because of Medicare, and Social Security before that, old people were freed up to have the opportunity to consider their quality of life, rather than living from one can of catfood to another. And there was no more shame in them than there was in young Paul Ryan when he was living off Social Security survivor benefits after the death of his father. (You're welcome, by the way.) There can be no backsliding on this one, no attempts to "work across the aisle," no appeals to "civility" or "bipartisanship." Loyalty to Medicare has to be a defining characteristic of a Democratic politician and any Democratic politician who doesn't like it deserves to be primaried out of office. . . . 
Nobody has a mandate to bring about this kind of destructive change. Not a president-elect with two million fewer votes than the person he ran against, and certainly not some guy who represents 230,000 people in the First Congressional District in Wisconsin. This is the gurney on which to ride to glory.

Providing health insurance coverage to seniors will unquestionably cost more if run through private insurance. No one who has looked at the comparative data on the cost efficiency of Medicare and private carriers can question this. There's no money savings. Quite the opposite. The only difference is that seniors will pay vastly more out of pocket because the vouchers won't come close to the costs of a policy. The upshot of the Ryan plan is significantly increasing the cost of what society pays for the medical care of seniors and then making seniors pay dramatically more out of pocket. All with none of the bedrock gaurantees Medicare provides. 
That's what phasing out Medicare means. Ironically, what Trump and Ryan are proposing is something like Obamacare: you buy your insurance on an exchange and you get some premium support from the government. Obviously, not everyone loves Obamacare. But building an exchange and subsidy adjunct for non-seniors onto an existing and fairly robust private health insurance system is one thing. Creating one from scratch for people who are all pretty much by definition bad risks is close to laughable. Laughable if you're not bankrupted or dying because you couldn't get care.

The political dynamic may sound familiar: a popular and successful Democratic chief executive was leaving office after two terms, and the race to replace him pitted an experienced and qualified Democratic official against an incompetent far-right Republican running for public office for the first time. 
The GOP nominee wasn't respected, or even liked, by his party's leaders, and he developed a reputation for telling bizarre lies and making ridiculous promises, but he won the election anyway. 
I’m referring, of course, to Kentucky's 2015 gubernatorial race, which inexplicably elevated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) to statewide office. 
Bevin based much of his platform on his opposition to health care reform, vowing to reverse much of Kentucky's recent progress. As regular readers may recall, many voters who supported the Republican were surprised and disappointed when the governor took office and moved forward with plans to take families' benefits away – just as he'd promised to do as a candidate.

Please do not forget: this life-threatening barbarism is being brought to us by 8 in 10 white evangelicals, 6 in 10 white Catholics, and 3 in 5 Mormons, who are boasting that they have elected a "pro-life" administration. That is also to say, in the case of U.S. Catholics, it is being brought to us by "pro-life" U.S. Catholic bishops.

As a Facebook friend of mine with a good Georgetown degree said to me yesterday when he and I and others were discussing all of this online, "But we can anticipate that the U.S. bishops will find a way to provide healthcare coverage for everyone who loses it under this new "pro-life" administration —right?"

Pro-life my eye.

P.S. Don't expect the so-called "liberal" mainstream media to be an advocate for millions of Americans living on the socioeconomic margins of society as the new administration moves to gut healthcare coverage to put more money into the pockets of the already glutted health insurance industry. To its shame — but this is entirely predictable — the New York Times is already spinning proposals to gut Medicare as "reform."

Look for more of this morally vapid rhetoric from people living in protected cultural enclaves in which they and their family members don't have to deal with the life-threatening effects of the "reforms" they're applauding, even as they fawn over (and exploit, for political purposes) economically marginal white working-class people in the center of the nation with whom they never come into contact — who definitely will suffer tremendously from the "reform" of an already very imperfect system of provision of healthcare.

The headscratcher illustration is from The Evening Ledger (Philadelphia, May 4, 1916), and was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Johnny Automatic of Open Clip Art Library.

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