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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cain's Healthcare Approach

Perhaps nothing reveals more about the Republican plans for healthcare than Paul's Ryan's main criticism of Obamacare (click here for the source):
So take a look at this chart. The red slice here are what I would call people with preexisting conditions. People who have real health-care problems. The blue is the rest of the people in the individual market — that’s the market where people don’t get health insurance at their jobs where they buy it themselves. The whole idea of Obamacare is the people on the blue side pay for the people on the red side. The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.

The problem, according to Ryan is that healthy people are being made to pay for the healthcare of sick people by the Obamacare mandate. Even though, as it has been noted by others, this is the primary way insurance functions in that those who don't file claims pay for those who do, that is not the concern of this blogpost.

The basic concern of this blogpost is that in a highly interdependent society, an ideology that says we should only get what we pay for ourselves now serves as the foundation of our government's approach to social and safety net programs. That ideology is almost as old as the hills for it was first expressed by Cain when confronted by God on the whereabouts of his brother Abel. Cain rhetorically asked God: 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Of course, Cain challenged God with this question after he had murdered his brother. Paul Ryan's version of Cain's question is being asked prior to making one's brother more susceptible to dying. For Ryan's primary criticism of Obamacare is:

The whole idea of Obamacare is the people on the blue side pay for the people on the red side. The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.

Consistent with Ryan's above statement is the fact that his healthcare plan gives tax relief to the wealthiest whose taxes were being used to help provide coverage for those who could not afford it while it threatens to millions of people the loss of their healthcare insurance. But we should also note that Ryan's healthcare plan goes beyond protecting the wealthy from having to pay for the poor. For his healthcare plan also includes tax breaks for insurance CEOs.

We should also note that this washing of one's hands of providing for the less fortunate will not be restricted to healthcare alone. Corporate taxes and regulations will be slashed so that, in our highly interdependent society, laws will be written to restrict our access to resources other than own in the name of being financially responsible. This puts the poor and seniors at greater and greater risk. 

But we should also note the basic value system being instituted here. That value system says that we should have more attachment to our abundance than we have solidarity with those in need. That lesson is one that has been fed to middle class conservatives as they have been taught to obsess over the poor have been benefiting from tax dollar funded programs. And, thanks to this last election, it is now the turn of the rich to say the same to the rest of society. For we are facing massive tax cuts for the rich in addition to those provided by Ryan's healthcare while government programs will be forged in ways that benefit the rich financially such as increases in military spending.

What we are witnessing is an Atlas Shrugged hijacking of our government. And though it isn't the case that past government policies did not further enrich the wealthy, it is that the social responsibilities of those with wealth have to the society in which they became so prosperous are now being eradicated at a faster and faster pace while many of the rich exhibit the same resentment towards society which middle class conservatives were taught to have toward the poor. 

From a citizen's point of view, it seems that the only Americans who are taught to sacrifice for their fellow countrymen are those in the military. And while conservatives relish in praising our troops for making physical sacrifices for their countrymen, when it comes to paying taxes to help fellow countrymen in need including many veterans, these same conservatives adamantly condemn the call to sacrifice. This is nothing more than a vicarious patriotism. It is under those circumstances that conservatives, like Paul Ryan, tell us that each of us should sing 'I am an island' as our national anthem.

Again, Cain uttered his question having killed his brother. How many people, fellow Americans if you must, have to die because too many of us are rhetorically asking Cain's question?

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/03/09/either-paul-ryan-doesnt-understand-insurance-or-you-dont-understand-paul-ryan/?utm_term=.eb941f130146

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