On Friday Republicans set about 9 million pregnant women, infants and children free to fend for their own access to healthcare while Americans were reacting to the cretin in the White House’s attacks on Puerto Ricans as “lazy” and demonizing San Juan’s mayor for pleading for assistance. By “purposely” allowing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire, Republicans inched America a little closer to being “great,” Trump style. And although the lack of action did draw some attention, Republicans were accused of being “too distracted” taking access to healthcare from about 30-million Americans to pay for tax cuts for the rich. There is no excuse for Republicans allowing the CHIP program to expire.
The assessment that congressional Republicans were too laser-focused on the so-called “Graham-Cassidy” healthcare atrocity to reauthorize CHIP funding doesn’t even sound reasonable to a stupid Republican voter. Especially in light of recent history and a pair of other stories too few Americans paid heed to the day CHIP died.
The idea that Republicans care one iota about pregnant women, infants and children losing healthcare is a giant pile of bovine excrement. It is stunning that any media outlet would pretend otherwise or base their conclusion on past Republicans.
It is true the CHIP program once had bipartisan support, but this is Trump’s America and Republicans finally see a stellar opportunity to do what they do best; punish the poor, elderly, infants and children. For dog’s sake, the so-called distraction preventing Republicans from renewing CHIP was an effort to take away healthcare from the poor, elderly, infants and children. Allowing CHIP to expire was just part of the GOP effort to deny healthcare access to tens-of-millions of Americans; adding an extra 9-million people, no matter they are pregnant women, infants and children is just part of their barbarically cruel plan.
That point was made abundantly clear on Friday when a Republican senator expressed his belief that politicians, particularly Republican politicians, are not to be concerned that Americans have healthcare. In fact, the Republican explained why the GOP has been on a seven-year tear to restrict access to healthcare to millions of Americans.
On Friday in response to a query from a Wisconsin High school student, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) provided a typically Republican response revealing just how vicious conservatives are. The student asked Johnson if he considered health care a right or a privilege. Besides referring to Rand Paul’s assertion that the right to healthcare is tantamount to slavery, Johnson said:
“I think it’s probably more of a privilege. Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right? What we have as rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right to freedom. Past that point, everything else is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us so that we can afford those things.”
Then Johnson argued that guaranteeing Americans have a right to access healthcare is not Republicans’ job. He said the Republicans only job is “growing the economy so ‘more people’ can afford access to healthcare.” It’s why they are intent on growing the economy by cutting funding for healthcare to provide more tax cuts for the rich who already can afford access to healthcare. Remember, Republicans claim the only way to “grow the economy” is giving the rich greater tax cuts that has proven for the past 30-plus years to be a monumental failure. It has never helped the economy or made it easier for people to afford access to healthcare. It just make the filthy rich much richer.
In addition to Johnson expressing that conservative worldview that Americans do not have a right to healthcare, on Friday Vox reported that Republican staffers sent proposals to members of the Senate Budget Committee that included slashing Medicare spending by close to a half-a-trillion dollars over 10 years.
The drastic cuts to Medicare were “released in conjunction with the 2018 Republican Senate budget resolution proposal” and the cuts match the House Republican proposal to slash Medicare funding in its version of the budget. Paul Ryan’s Republicans have offered plans every year to make severe cuts to the Medicare program despite doing so will deny healthcare access to tens-of-millions of mostly elderly and poor Americans.
It is virtually impossible to believe that Republicans “accidentally” let the Children’s Health Insurance Program lapse. Senator Johnson’s assertion that food, shelter, clothing and healthcare are a privilege reserved for those who can afford it was no accidental statement. And in a nation run by Republicans keeping the population as poor as possible, it also informs what Republicans as a party think about women, children and infants having access to healthcare. In fact, many Republicans have said, especially since 2010, that access to healthcare is a privilege. Trump even said healthcare is a privilege that had to be earned and is not a right. That concerted mindset explains why Republicans are barging ahead with all manner of approaches to take healthcare away from more Americans.
Of course this is an atrocity in any nation or society. But it is particularly so because America is not only the richest nation on Earth, it is also the only country among the 25 wealthiest nations on Earth that does not provide healthcare as a basic human right. According to their deep-seated, decades-long ideological bent, Republicans fully intend to preserve that “America exceptional” designation as a barbaric nation according to their words and actions. What really portends a bleak future with Republicans in charge is the Republican senator affirming publicly what many of his cohorts, including Trump, believe; that healthcare, food, shelter, and clothing are not basic human rights; but monumental tax cuts for the rich are.
The GOP and Trump’s proposed budget cuts to all assistance programs verify that they fully intend to make their cruel intents a reality. Over the weekend they began by allowing 9-million pregnant mothers, infants and children’s to lose access to healthcare. It wasn’t an accident, an oversight, or because they were “distracted;” they are just inherently cruel.
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