Thursday, July 05, 2012

Republicans, unconscientious objectors

I’ve been wondering exactly what the conservative objectors to Obamacare (official title is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) are specifically objecting to. Is it being made to buy something against their will by the Federal Government? In this case it’s health insurance, but in and of itself that’s not unusual. As car owners we have to buy car insurance. I don’t know about your state, but I'll bet it's like mine:  if I don’t have insurance I get fined. That’s not a federal law, but I’ve been stopped in one other state, California, where I was asked for license, registration and proof of insurance. If a law is common to all the states I believe that it is in effect federal, if not in name then by application.

Is being subjected to a penalty (under the tax law, according to the majority opinion of the Supreme Court) if you do not buy insurance give conservatives heartburn when trying to digest Obamacare? 

If you’re a homeowner then buying insurance for your house is smart. Ask the people in Colorado and Utah, not to mention every other Western state this summer, who have lost their homes to wildfires. Buying health insurance is a good idea if there’s a chance that you could rack up a debt that could send you into bankruptcy, losing your home and everything you own.

According to BTX3’s Blog there are precedents which go back to the Founding Fathers for the federal government requiring us to buy something. Quoting his blog entry of May 1, 2012:
·    In 1790, a Congress including 20 Founders passed a law requiring that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. [George] Washington signed it into law.
·    In 1792, another law signed by Washington required that all able-bodied men buy a firearm. (So much for the argument that Congress can’t force us to participate in commerce.)
·    And in 1798, a Congress with five framers passed a law requiring that all seamen buy hospital insurance for themselves. [John] Adams signed this legislation.
These cases were found for the New Republic magazine by Professor Einar Ethauge of Harvard Law School. They shoot in the foot an argument by protesters of the Act. When they invoke the Constitution someone can point out these laws, which have apparently passed Constitutional muster.

I’m for anything that will help people who are dying because they can’t afford insurance. In his opinion, as BT says in his blog, the objections to the law are effectively new Jim Crow laws. As he states:
I’m categorizing this post under “The New Jim Crow”, because the lack of health care results in the deaths of tens of thousands of black babies due to lack of pre-natal or post-natal care in the first year of life...
Every year in the United States.
Put in any other terms – the lack of Health Care in the US is genocide.
I mostly agree with BT. I think it's more complicated than just racism, but at least part of the objection to the healthcare law is racism. It was proposed by a black president, and will bring a lot — thousands? millions? — of Latinos and blacks into the system. As far as it being expensive for the country, hell yes, it’s expensive, but it’s expensive for society to have to support poor people the way we do now, anyway. There will always be poor, and there will always be a need to take care of segments of our population. Right now we do it through a system of taxes and charity, but we don’t drive the poor out to the forest in trucks and then machine gun them.

Nazi Germany had a way of taking care of people they didn’t like or considered a drag on their system. Some Americans feel the same way, alas.

Nothing so overt, anyway. What we do is we let poor people get really, really ill with cancer or liver or heart disease, then when they collapse we take them into the healthcare system and by that time it’s too late. They die. On the taxpayer’s dime.

Leading the hysteria against the Affordable Health Care law are right-wing radio people who are selling their listeners the idea that a common sense approach to health care is wrong because it was passed by the “other” political party.

And as for what I'm hearing lately from Republicans, “It's the biggest tax in American history,” knowing their record for hyperbole and repeating untruths until they become mantras, I'm going to need to see the math on that.

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