Tuesday, May 3, 2011

GOP Attacks on Health Care

Insurance companies promised to clean up their act when health care reforms were proposed under Clinton, and Republicans said they wanted alternative measures to enact reform. From 2000 to 2006, the GOP controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, yet they would not do anything about the 50 million uninsured. They did nothing for those with pre-existing conditions and nothing for low-income workers who had no employer provided insurance. They did nothing for those whose yearly caps or lifetime caps had been reached, and those who were kicked off of their health care plan for frivolous reasons after getting sick. They did nothing for people who could not afford health care because of high deductibles, high co-pays, donut holes in coverage, and for-profit insurance bureaucrats between them and their doctor. Republicans have already tried to strip fixes for many of the above problems from the current health care law, after promising that their version of health care would include those fixes.

So don't tell me that the Affordable Care Act should be scrapped and we should start over. We already know it's not going to get done under Republicans. We've had enough of compassionate conservatism. It's all about greed with absolutely no social responsibility. It's all about cutting taxes and making tax exemptions for the wealthy and corporations while spouting nonsense about job-creators. How many jobs were lost during George W. Bush's reign? With all of the tax-cutting under Bush, there should have been millions of new jobs and rising wages for the middle class. Didn't happen. Instead, the national debt almost doubled, Afghanistan was ignored while Bush went on his Iraq mis-adventure ("Saddam's got yellow cakes!"), and middle class wages stagnated while the rich got extremely richer.

We can slash all entitlements and not come close to balancing the budget. There have to be revenue increases. This includes not only income taxes (the wealthy are paying the lowest rate in 50 years), but capital gains and "qualified" dividend income, both taxed at 15% as compared to actual labor. Gee, it must be nice to send your money out to do the work for you and have income from that taxed at a substantially lower rate.

Conservatives treat those who don't make millions or billions as lazy or spiritually deficient, saying that they are sucking off the government tit. Gee, have you looked at how many applicants there are for each job opening? Not everyone values money over all else (that would be the sin of greed). The wealthy are taking the fruit of a working man's labor to embellish their bank accounts. Look at corporate tax returns, and look at the effective tax rate of wealthy people, and compare that with the average hourly worker's tax return.

As Dean Baker says, we have had "ten years of zero job growth, 25 million people unemployed, underemployed or out of the workforce altogether, declining real wages, millions of homeowners losing their homes, and tens of millions of homeowners underwater."

Don't like the health care bill? Then get behind single-payer (universal) health care so that we can stop paying double what other western countries pay, and so we can improve our inferior health care system. Government take-over of health care? Name what hospitals, labs, clinics or research facilities were nationalized. Name the employees who are now civil servants.

Before you spout the GOP line, you had better check what (or who) they are really for.

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