When voters go to the polls, they assume their chosen representatives will work for the interests of all the people to provide an environment that allows every citizen to prosper in the pursuit of happiness whether it is a good job, a decent home, or good health. For the past three years, Republicans have demonstrated their ideology demands protecting the wealthy and big business at the expense of the majority of Americans, and when possible, punish the rest of the populace out of sheer contempt and for political expediency. Whether it is labeled collateral damage or ideological consistency, the GOP is unfazed when their policies cause undue harm to the American people and it has become the hallmark of the party’s agenda regardless the issue. Of course, the issue of the moment is the Affordable Care Act’s implementation after the Supreme Court ruled the health insurance reform law is constitutional, and Republicans are taking extreme measures to block implementation of the law regardless the consequences to millions of Americans.
In a letter from Republicans Jim DeMint and Michele Bachmann to states with Republican governors, they asked for assistance to punish Americans by refusing to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act. “By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation,” and it is part of their campaign to demean the law they consider “reprehensible” regardless it passed both houses of Congress, was signed into law by the President, and declared constitutional by the High Court. The beneficiaries of repealing the Affordable Care Act are the insurance industry who can return to immoral practices of refusing to provide health care consumers pay dearly for, and as is usually the case for Republican policies, to punish Americans. There are already several Republican governors promising to opt out of a plan intended to give millions of poor Americans health coverage, and in a continuing Republican practice, they are lying to justify their decision.
Florida governor Rick Scott epitomizes Republican hatred for the people and on Sunday he announced that his state is opting out of an expansion of Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program, and choosing not to build a state-based health insurance marketplace known as an exchange. The ACA always allowed states to “opt out” of building an exchange, and if they did refuse to set up the health care marketplace, the Department of Health and Human Services will do it for them. Florida is a particularly noteworthy example because by opting out of the Medicaid expansion, they are leaving a significant portion of their citizens without health care. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, Florida has the second-highest rate of uninsured Americans at 21 percent. If Scott did not opt out, Medicaid expansion would have covered 951,622 people according to Kaiser and it informs the level of contempt Scott, a typical Republican, has for residents of his state.
In what has become a typical Republican tactic, Scott lies and says Florida can’t afford the expansion, but for the first two years the federal government pays 100% of the Medicaid expansion and after 2017 when states begin paying their share they will never contribute more than 10% of the cost. Scott is not the only Republican governor to opt out of the Medicaid expansion or exchanges that threaten nearly a million people in Florida alone, and depending on the number of states opting out, the Medicaid expansion helps provide healthcare coverage for more than half of the 31 million Americans without healthcare insurance, or 16 million Americans who are mostly children, seniors, and the working poor according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, Republicans have revealed their true intention if they are able to repeal the ACA, and it is that they have no plans to help over 31 million Americans gain access to affordable health care. Over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the lack of healthcare is not an issue” Republicans are concerned about, and Speaker of the House John Boehner was hard-pressed to contain his anger at being questioned on how Republicans would replace the ACA if they repeal it. Boehner admitted “all of those provisions, popular provisions, many of them very sound provisions can, in fact, be done in a common-sense way,” but only in small incremental steps after Republicans were finished “ripping Obamacare out by its roots.”
McConnell revealed the real issue for Republicans and it is not whether Americans had access to healthcare insurance, it is protecting the health insurance industry from providing services policy holders pay for. In fact, Republicans admit that if they cannot win big in November and repeal the ACA in its entirety in 2013, the law’s benefits will be nearly impossible to take away from the people as they begin seeing the real benefits. It is astounding that Republicans are finally admitting the people will love the law once its “popular and very sound provisions” take full effect, and yet they claim vehemently that the American people hate it with a passion. However, as the law takes effect and insurance providers beginning sending out $1.1 billion in rebate checks for failing to spend consumers’ premiums on providing healthcare services, the recent 50% approval rating will increase and that is precisely why congressional Republicans are urging governors to opt out of the program now to prevent the American people from realizing that the ACA is nothing but good news for all the people and anathema to Republicans.
More than anything, Republicans are exposing themselves as enemies of the people they are elected to represent and provide an environment where all Americans are able to prosper in the pursuit of happiness, and that includes access to quality, affordable healthcare insurance. The American people should be aware by now that Republicans have no compassion for anyone who is not in the top one-percent of income earners, and that they will pursue any means to punish the people. The ACA will create jobs, reduce the deficit, and give 31 million Americans healthcare for the first time in their lives and the GOP is panting to “rip it out by its roots” to protect the insurance industry. The past year-and-a-half have given the American people a preview of a Republican-controlled Congress and White House, and it portends a Draconian existence for all but the wealthiest Americans as the GOP rips out social safety nets by their roots and replaces them with more tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts to education, environmental protections, and eliminating Medicare, food stamps, police, firefighter, and construction jobs.
Compassion and concern for the general welfare of citizens is as foreign to Republicans as flying is to a rhinoceros, and to further their ideology of opposing everything proposed by an African American President, they will punish the American people with extreme prejudice. For over three years, Republicans have opposed every piece of legislation that protects Americans whether it was jobs programs, banking reform, payroll tax cuts, or healthcare reform. The Republican’s champion to win the White House, Willard Romney, promises to exceed the GOP’s expectations of creating a nation of peasants to serve the wealthy, and besides repeal banking, healthcare, and environmental reforms to enrich corporations and himself, it informs his cult’s belief that the accumulation of wealth and power supersede protecting all the people.
Americans living in states like Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina are fortunate that in spite of their Republican governors refusing to create insurance exchanges, the ACA’s provisions allow the federal government to do the work for them. However, for states like Florida and Wisconsin that plan to opt out of the Medicaid expansion program, millions of poor, seniors, and children risk losing healthcare coverage so Republicans can make a point that regardless the consequences to the people, they will pursue their twisted, Draconian ideology of punishing the people to protect corporations. This is the Republican Party America is suffering, and after trying and failing for sixty years, Democrats were finally able to provide healthcare for nearly every American and the GOP is using every means possible to strip it away from the people. However, no American should be surprised because regardless if it is a low-life Republican governor, a cry-baby Speaker of the House, or a lying Mormon seeking the White House, stripping away beneficial programs from the American people is the first order of business in Republican ideology and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Republicans hate America.