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The people matter

Melvin B. Miller
The people matter
“Well, so much for the ‘Art of the Deal!’” (Photo: Dan Drew)

Citizens in civilized countries around the world expect their governments to provide universal health care that is both affordable and effective. However, conservatives in the U.S. think such a policy is damaging to the vitality of the republic. They fundamentally believe that for the state to become involved in the business of health insurance is a major step toward socialism.

While the phobia of creeping socialism is a primary reason for conservatives’ protests, there are other objections. The idea that the affluent will be taxed to pay for someone else’s doctor’s bill is offensive. There is a general reluctance to pay income taxes. It was not until ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913 that it became constitutional to levy income taxes. Even taxes for worthwhile purposes are difficult for many to accept.

As life in America becomes increasingly more complex and citizens are more reliant on one another, conservatives still choose to support the illusion of rugged American individualism. There are few Americans living off the grid and hunting for their food. Now we are all interdependent whether or not some are willing to acknowledge it.

During his campaign for president Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he derisively referred to as Obamacare, and he would do it in the first 100 days. Trump also offered empty assurances that the new health plan would be even better than the ACA. It would provide for insurance for more Americans at less cost.

That was nothing new. Republicans had consistently expressed their disdain for Obamacare since it was passed on March 23, 2010, seven years ago. However, Republicans had never developed an alternative plan. Consequently, when Trump won the election, which was a surprise to most Americans, there was no alternative plan to offer for approval. The Republican plan became to repeal the ACA now and create its replacement later.

That was a tactically absurd approach for an issue as complicated as health care. It was massively rejected by Americans. Despite the incessant criticism and opposition to Obamacare by conservatives, an estimated 20 million Americans had been added to the rolls of the insured. The prospect of losing health insurance induced voters to protest at the town meetings of their congressional representatives and to join the opposition to the proposed health plan. Even though the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives with the solid vote by the Democrats in opposition, Trump was unable to repeal Obamacare.

Fortunately, Trump’s proposal failed. Actually, it was another Trump fraud. Rather than being a legitimate effort to improve America’s health care, it was a transfer of wealth to insurance companies and high net worth taxpayers. According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 24 million citizens would be uninsured by 2026. Higher premiums would benefit the wealthy and save less money on the national debt.

Citizens should remember the date — Friday, March 24, 2017. That is the day that an aroused and committed public opposition of citizens successfully defeated the president and other politicians who attempted to revoke deserved public entitlements by artifice.

The people should remain alert because other Trumpian frauds are likely to be revealed.