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Right-wing pols must focus on nation's health first

By Dan K. Thomasson Tribune News Service Published: July 6, 2017 4:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- The congressional Republican leadership's almost-hysterical need to repeal Obamacare seems rooted in motives that have little to do with the health of millions of Americans who need it most, including some of their own constituents.

In what has become almost-obsessive behavior since the Affordable Care Act was adopted in 2010, GOP conservatives have made its demise the party's No. 1 political goal. This unreasonable determination comes even in the face of expert predictions that the House-passed and Senate-written versions of its replacement would ultimately leave more than 20 million of the nation's poorest without insurance.

Clearly, President Donald Trump's failure to achieve his premier campaign promise has embarrassed him and divided the party.

The long-term anger among Republicans over the ACA seemingly stems from a dark place, the stubborn racism in the party's Southern base -- the one it inherited from the old Democratic "solid South." How else could one explain the palatable dislike approaching hatred of the first black president among those on the GOP right, evident from the very beginning of Barack Obama's tenure?

Wiping out Obama's most important achievement, whatever the cost, would go a long way toward diminishing his presidency. Never mind that his successor openly admitted in a sort of gee-whiz statement that health care is a lot more complex than he imagined. But then most things required in running the country are above Trump's understanding.

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He does know that the ACA replacement is "mean" but that's OK because it also delivers a tax cut -- for the wealthiest of us. Clearing the decks of Obamacare would allow him to go on national television with pen in hand to proclaim to the faithful that he is good as his word.

So, here comes the Senate Republican majority leader, whose state of Kentucky is one of the neediest in health care and has benefited the most from it, determined at whatever cost to eliminate Obama's health act.

Is Mitch McConnell crazy? Or is he so afraid of losing his job by angering his conservative base, and his president, that he will move forward despite the consequences to his own constituents? By the way, Kentucky voters reportedly still back Trump while conceding the risk to their well-being. Incredible!

All this has brought the Republicans near the brink of intraparty warfare and even has McConnell and the White House gang uttering the dreaded C-word, compromise.

In some ways, the Democrats are to blame here, and that includes Obama, for not working hard enough to include a bipartisan approach to health care reform in the first place. The 2,700-page bill was oversold by the then-Democratic majority and passed on a single party vote. It was difficult to understand and to implement and it cost the party dearly in the 2010 midterm election, returning House control to the Republicans.

But that was nearly seven years ago.

What is obviously needed now are some adjustments to the act -- not tearing it up and beginning again. Hopefully, if radical-right lawmakers can put aside their dislike of Obama and the new president learns that bipartisanship isn't a dirty concept, this is what will happen.

But what will it take to bring some statesmanship back into the process? Your guess is as good as mine.

But what would help is for right-wing politicians to realize that detesting Barrack Obama -- for his race or his aloofness or any other social reason -- is not a legitimate way to perform one's obligations as a member of the government of the people.

If Trump wishes to show that he is at all presidential, he should call in the leadership of both parties and urge them to put their heads together.


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Anomy Jul 7, 2017 9:35 AM

Nothing like someone displaying their thorough ignorance of how health care and insurance works by their stating: "I am opposed to paying for someone else’s health care and for my own too."

THe fire insurance paid on the houses that DON'T burn covers the cost of the houses that DO burn. It's a simple concept the dolt can't seem to grasp.

dowhatsright Jul 6, 2017 9:48 AM

No, we have to focus on how we are going to pay for the Health care. I am opposed to paying for someone else’s health care and for my own too. I know that those with serious problems need help because no one can afford the high cost of medicine, hospitals and Doctors, not even the insurance companies.