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I saw a bumper sticker the other day that truly sums up the health care debate in this country: “Obamacare is a helluva lot better than ‘I don’t care.’”
By their statements and their actions, especially their peculiar hysteria over the Affordable Care Act, conservatives have shown precisely that: They don’t care.
They’re not the least bit concerned about solutions to a health care crisis in this country that has left 50 million people uninsured, and many others nearly broke with hospital and doctor bills that they can’t pay.
What they care about is the profits of the insurance companies. They want to make sure that America remains the last modern, industrial country in the world to have a health care system run by corporations.
They refuse to see that it’s exactly this very system that has created 50 million uninsured people, because insurance company rates are too high, and insurance companies look for every possible way to deny coverage whenever they can.
Before it left for summer recess – after nearly a year of doing nothing – the Republican-led House of Representatives held one more vote on repealing or unfunding the new health care law. This was the 40th time they had voted to either repeal or not fund what they derisively call “Obamacare.”
House Speaker John Boehner is well on his way to being remembered as one of the worst speakers ever, a man who suffers from his own ideological rigidity and who can’t tame a “tea party” crowd that’s even nuttier than he is.
And you’ve heard all the nonsense about the new law: It’s “socialism,” it’s “government-run” health care. No, it’s a law that at least tries, by several methods, to reduce that 50 million number and bring real coverage to real people.
When asked what their solution is rather than the new law, conservatives never have one. They always change the subject, or they offer some lame little thing like “health savings accounts,” which they know will only work for people that make a lot of money. If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, as so many people are today, you can’t save a dime for anything.
Under the new law, denial of coverage because of “pre-existing conditions” will be stopped. Isn’t that good? Common sense tells us it is; but conservatives won’t admit it.
All this gets back to the world view that right-wingers hold about capitalism. They consider it a perfect system, and if you don’t get rich, well, it’s all your fault.
Historians and economists know that our system is deeply flawed, and that it creates a great deal of poverty. That’s why most other countries have long since gone to a system of universal health care, a sort of “Medicare for All,” as single payer is now usually called.
This is what Margaret Thatcher believed in for the United Kingdom, and she never lifted a finger to reject the National Health Service. This is the system practiced in Canada, where even the conservative political party supports universal health care and doesn’t let insurance companies get near it.
What Obamacare essentially is, and what it has in common with Bush’s Plan B Medicare is this: It’s yet another attempt to jump through hoops and not create a single-payer universal health care system for all.
As usual, true progress in America has to be fought for over the primitive, money-grubbing, right-wingers who can’t see the forest for the trees, unless they make a profit.
Someday, we’ll have universal health care in this country. Until then, Obamacare is, truly, a helluva lot better than “I don’t care.”
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.