In Health Care Insurance Reform We See The History of the Republican Party
Very few American policy initiatives have been as popular as Obamacare. The fact that several years of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act did not result in any alternative policies or specific revisions to the law suggest that Republicans were aware of that. Touting opposition and threatening to repeal worked with their base, but actually doing something would lead to widespread outrage and loss of votes, possibly loss of actual elections.
The worst nightmare of Republican members of the House and Senate is that they get the bone they have been groveling for and have to explain to the American people exactly how they are going to dismantle and destroy this popular government program.
Do you remember ClintonCare? Back when Bill Clinton was President, his wife, Hillary was her name, headed a project to develop a major overhaul of the American health care insurance system. Unfortunately, the Gingrich Republicans took over the government at that time. The Republicans had no reason to be against a fair health care system, other than the requirement to implement the new Gingrich Doctrine: Destroy the democrats at all costs, make them the minority party, then start to govern.
(By the way, one could argue that Republicans could be against reform because they are against big and complex governmetnal structures and such. But health care reform that leads in the direction of a single payer system is less complicated, less of a requirement for complex regulation, and generally, much simpler.)
Hillary Clinton’s health care reform plan was an early and major victim of this new anti-D/democratic plan (small and large “d”) initiated by the Republican Party. And, at that time, Hillary Clinton herself became the perennial punching bag of the Republican Party.
That punching bag effect, the decades of hate and rage against Hillary Clinton, certainly contributed to her loss in the last election. And, part of that hate came in the form of the Benghazi investigations.
Benghazi refers to a terrible event in which bad guys attacked the US embassy in Libya, with Ambassador J. Chrisopher Stevens, a friend and colleague of then Secretary of State Clinton, was killed, along with three other Americans.
Jason Chaffetz: Foot Meet Mouth
A congressman named Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah, was a vocal member of the committee that carried out a long investigation that tried very hard to lay blame for this attack on Clinton. It was a mean spirited and horrific misuse of governmental power that members of the committee, at various times and places, admitted openly to have been a political fraud. But, this effort was key, recent, and probably determinative of the degree of anti-Clinton feelings across the right wing and centrist parts of the political spectrum, and materially contributed to Donald Trump becoming president. The absurdity of this dirty and embarrassing chapter in American Political history is painfully underscored by the fact that Chaffetz himself voted to reduce the funding for security at embassies, which is the real reason this attack cost American lives.
Chaffetz is now intensely engaged, as are many other Republican members of Congress, in repealing and replacing Obamacare. And, his constituents are not having it. Chaffetz is one of those congresscritters who was screamed at by the outraged members of their districts. Outraged about his desire to nix Obamacare, outraged about his general support of Donald Trump, all that.
Then, Chaffetz made the fatal error, placed the nearly weightless but final straw upon the camel’s back, and he is the camel. He ended his political career by focusing too much on the smart phone and not enough on what people around him were saying. Sort of.
He did that thing Republicans do when they talk about poor people. It comes in a lot of forms, but it is, at the root of it, disdain cloaked in a deep layer of mushy ignorance. Chaffetz told poor people that they needed to make a basic choice in life. Get a phone, or get health insurance.
This is wrong on so many levels that I can’t even … But just so certain points are not lost, let’s covers some of them.
1) A cell phone and a cell phone plan cost a fraction of health care plans under the proposed Republican program.
2) Rich people, under TrumpCare, will get a tax break, in a single year, sufficient to cover their cell phone costs until they die, while lower income folks will get nothing more than a new Canadian Province. Nunavut.
3) I say poor people, and he meant poor people, but really, this problem applies to most people.
4) You need a phone TO MAKE A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT YOU IDIOT!!!
Sorry for shouting. But I think you get the point. Jason Chaffetz stuck his rhetorical foot fatally in his political mouth.
Introducing Kathryn Allen
Kathryn Allen is a Utah based physician, a Democrat, who is one of those constituents of the hapless Congressman Chaffetz who rose in outrage against him. But Dr. Allen is taking this one step farther. She made a proposal, on an internet crowdfunding site, that she could run against him in the upcoming midterm election, if people wanted her to. She described herself and her potential candidacy, and asked for financial support from those who might prefer her over that other guy, the Benghazi guy, the anti-Healthcare reform guy, the Pro-Trump guy.
And they did. Especially after the Chaffetz iPhone remark. Right after he made that remark, her crowdfunding site went from near zero to over $80,000 in a Utah Minute. Today, as I write this, it is at $256.495, up from the $253,455 when I captured the image for the graphic at the top of this post, about three minutes ago. And continuing to rise (check here for the latest number).
I think Dr Allen’s candidacy is amazing, hopeful a sign of our times, and a harbinger for the future. If you are in her district, go work for her, if not, send her some buks!
Oh look, she’s up another thousand in another two minutes…..
Here is Rachel Maddow’s coverage of this amazing story:
UPDATE: Apple Responds with the Apple Health Care Plan: