Meanwhile, in the Senate
Yesterday was a day chock full of news, from Jim Comey's testimony to the UK election. But life goes on. Particularly, Republicans under Mitch McConnell are still trying to take away health care.
In a sign that Senate Republicans are close to—but not quite at—a deal to bring an Obamacare repeal bill to a vote, the fault lines within the GOP over efforts to impose major cuts to Medicaid are becoming publicly exposed, in what have been otherwise closely guarded negotiations.
One front of the battle is whether to soften a phase-out of the Medicaid expansion program, which is wound down starting in 2020 in the already-passed House repeal legislation. Another front of the battle is how Republicans craft their longer-term overhaul of the traditional Medicaid program. The GOP intends to transform Medicaid into a “per capita cap” system, in which states receive a set amount of federal funding per beneficiary, rather than an unlimited match rate from the feds. There is disagreement, however, over how they design the caps.
It is baffling to someone raised to have care and consideration for fellow human beings that a political group is giddy at the thought of revoking the security of health care coverage for millions of people. The priests with whom I grew up would mince no words and call that "evil".
But here we are. Republicans are actually tumescent at the thought of doing this. From a point of public policy this makes no sense. It's being penny-wise and pound-foolish. It makes much more fiscal sense to outlay monies to make sure the population has access to health care than to not and rely on overburdened emergency rooms which will never recoup their expenses from the uninsured.
However, this has nothing to do with policy. At some point one just has to admit that some people like watching people hurt. It's patently obvious that Republicans believe that those who can't afford health insurance by their own means deserve their fate. God has marked them out as unfavored, and who are we to go against God's judgments? The GOP is infected with a strain of dark Puritanism, where your lot in life is divinely ordained and merited, and society at large should do nothing to ameliorate your condition.
So, if you read this and you live in a state with a GOP senator, burn up the phones. Get your friends and family to burn up the phones. We have to show the GOP that we can focus on more than one thing at a time.
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