GOP: you lost, you're angry but it's the law
It's amusing to watch Republicans like Andy Barr, who hate Obamacare primarily because they hate the president, opine about the "common sense reforms" they favor.
Before the Affordable Care Act they were comfortably accepting immense campaign contributions from big health insurance companies, with no reason to be concerned about the uninsured.
Now that they realize the popular appetite for expanding health care to those without access, both to reduce costs by limiting emergency-room visits and as an altruistic act (who wants to be responsible for someone die because they have no care?), they suddenly have dozens of proposals that are "better than Obamacare."
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The funny thing is that none of these actually help improve access to health care. Most actually cut people from government-funded health care insurance, while providing no help in affording insurance.
I understand that Republicans are angry that they lost the last two elections and that they are deeply upset that legislation they fundamentally oppose has been enacted into law and mostly upheld by the Supreme Court. Regardless, the law of the land must be upheld. You would think those who regard themselves as superpatriots, as so many Tea Partiers seem to, would understand that.
Free the markets
A recent op-ed writer claimed that unrestricted free-market economics would be wrong for the nation. How would he know? When have we ever tried it? When has our government not tried to control, manipulate or "help" businesses or individuals make economic choices?
His examples are ridiculous. Here are a few: "Free market economics drives wages to the lowest possible level." If that were true, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees would be making minimum wage because there are thousands of people (including me) who would love to do their job for a fraction of their salaries.
"A free market equals maximum profit for companies." Wrong. Corporations attempt to maximize profit while competition drives profits down. It balances when they earn the lowest profit they can accept.
"We had 25 percent unemployment, bread lines and sweatshops in the 1920's because of free market economics." But those conditions existed in the 1930's when we had strongly anti-free market leaders.
"Bailouts, lobbying, subsidies, and special tax breaks." These happen when market principles are abandoned, not when they are followed.
All of these bad examples are cases of limiting free-market economics by government intervention — which is exactly what the writer advocates. What we really need is more economic freedom, part of which is being responsible for our failures.
Need doc input
As I have watched, listened to and tried to digest all of the brouhaha about Obamacare, one big question keeps niggling my mind. Who provides health care in this country? I realize there are a myriad of ancillary health care mechanisms, but who sets those in motion - who makes the first call and the final call? The physician.
Perhaps I have missed something, but that particular group seems crucial to this debate. Where do the majority of physicians stand on this law? If they don't agree with every facet of it, then we are all up the proverbial creek.
I have heard no consensus of physicians on this law. And before anyone interjects the AMA, I am not sure that when the president of that organization speaks that he speaks for the majority of physicians.
Sue Nall Allen
The letter, "We've lost compassion" states: "The GOP is letting American families go hungry." There are two major parties in the United States. Republicans control the House and Democrats the Senate and the presidency. Therefore Democrats are just as involved in letting families go hungry as Republicans.
This letter writer goes further: "If every working man and woman would give one dollar a week from their pay, there would be no more homeless people in this nation." I assume this is in addition to what one has already given to the government in the form of taxes. This one dollar per week would amount to about $8.06 billion.
Do you really believe this money would go where it was intended, since the U.S. government currently spends about a trillion dollars a year more than they have? This $8.06 billion doesn't even equal 1 percent of the annual deficit. Every taxpayer already owes over $100,000 because of this $17 trillion deficit we have been saddled with. So, what would another $52 matter?
This "give more here, give more there" is the reasoning of people who have no concept of what they can afford. It is what caused this gigantic deficit. What are we going to do when the whole country goes bankrupt? Who do you expect to pay that $52 then?
J. D. Miniard
If votes could feed
House Republicans stripped food stamps out of the farm bill for next year. For years they have railed against the program because they feel the undeserving get a free ride. The fact that roughly half of those people are children seems not to matter. Their motto is "If you don't work you don't eat" and if you are too old, disabled or young to work, too bad.
Democrats have always supported the program, believing that providing nutritional assistance to people in need is humane and sensible. So you'd think those who benefit would vote democratic, but you would be wrong.
In 2011 more than half of Owsley County's population received food stamps. But Hal Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, won his 16th term last year with 84 percent of its vote. His district has the largest proportion of food stamp recipients among any held by a Republican. In the presidential election Owsley County voted overwhelmingly (81 percent) for Willard Romney.
What is one to make of people who benefit most from a program voting overwhelmingly for a party whose declared intent is to gut it?
Cognitive dissonance would be one explanation, I suppose. Another interpretation is less charitable.
GOP cash flow
In 2005 the Bush-Cheney administration pushed Medicare Part D through the Republican-controlled Congress. The bill added prescription drug coverage to Medicare and was passed without any taxes to cover it. It contained the unbelievable provision that Medicare must pay the full retail price for every prescription. No negotiating with drug companies for quantity discounts.
If Republicans oppose government spending on health care why don't they defund this fiscally irresponsible program? They know drug companies will fund their campaigns. Americans who may benefit from Obamacare don't have cash to donate to campaigns, after years of stagnant wages.
The Republicans' second priority is positioning themselves for lucrative positions as lobbyists when their congressional careers are over. The Republican congressman who sponsored the Medicare Part D bill retired soon after passage and took a $2 million dollar per year job as president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main drug industry lobbying group.
Average Americans cannot afford to pay for lobbyists.