I submit, that in the not too distant future you’ll hear that same, if not more vociferous hue and cry, echoing what is always heard when changes to Medicare are proposed-a la Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan to end the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program for future retirees, and replace it with vouchers, starting at $8,000, that seniors would use to purchase private health plans.
(He later revised his Medical proposal, that would give future seniors the choice of purchasing private insurance coverage or staying in the 45-year-old federal program.)
No one bad mouthed his original proposal more than Newt Gingrich, who in the Republican’s nomination debates, called it “right-wing social engineering.” Romney was, true to form, noncommittal in dancing around it.
And the ranting and raving by Republicans following the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the scathing attacks on Chief Justice Roberts by party leaders and right-wing pundits was unremitting and reminiscent of the vitriolic reaction to the 1964 ruling desegregating schools and colleges, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Hopefully, the roaring anger felt by some over that ruling won’t provoke the same sort of violence and spilling of blood that marked those sorry chapters in our history.
But, not unexpectedly, GOP congressional spokesmen have remained undaunted by the court’s decision, vowing to have the health-care law shot down by Congress, banking in large measure on the lack of public support for it.
Though, in their heart of hearts, they know they’ll be fighting a losing battle. For while the bill to repeal it would sail through the House as easily as turning the pages in a book, the wind would be taken out of its sails in the Senate and sunk, unceremoniously, to a watery grave.
And I find the roaring debate over whether the individual mandate contained in the law is to be considered as a tax or penalty, imposed on those who will end up paying it, to be exaggerated way out of proportion.
For according to the estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, of the 30 million or 16.3 percent of the total population who currently have no health insurance, the tax penalty is expected to hit relatively few, due to the vast majority of Americans having health insurance, and that most of those who don’t will end up getting it, leaving only 3 million or one percent paying the penalty tax.
Now, I’m aware that taxpayers have an instant knee-jerk, negative reaction whenever they hear of yet another tax in the offing, and almost swallow their Adam’s Apple at the prospect. (That incidentally, would be easier for women to do, since their’s are much smaller than men’s and accounts for why their vocal chords are higher.)
But as history shows, Republicans are consistent in vigorously opposing social advancements they consider to be creeping, if not galloping moves towards socialism.
There’s no better examples of that conviction, than was demonstrated with the enactment of the 1935 Social Security Act and the 1965 Medicare Amendment, which they voted, nearly to a man against.
And yet, paradoxically, there’s no one I know of-no matter their political stripe-who don’t think highly of those programs, and who would never, even for a fleeting moment, consider refusing to accept their respective benefits.
But then again, there may be a handful of billionaires/missionaries in the country, who were conscience-stricken while looking in the mirror while shaving one morning and voluntarily dropped out of both.
If you know of the existence of such a high-minded individual(s), I’d appreciate you letting me know who it is and how to reach them, so I can send ‘em a congratulatory note.
Quote of the week: “It is better to tell a good lie than a well-known fact.” Chinese proverb.