Democrats see the problem as too many people without healthcare, and the Republicans see the problem as too many people having access to great healthcare.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the debate among Republicans and Democrats boiled down to both sides not being able to agree on what exactly the problem was.
Democrats saw the problem as too many people having no access to healthcare, and the Republicans, God love ‘em, saw the problem as too many people having access to great healthcare.
Essentially, the Republicans, after having read every single novel by Ayn Rand, came to the conclusion that regular folk having access to the best healthcare and medical technology on the planet, didn’t make sense. It goes along with Speaker Paul Ryan’s theory that free school lunches give kids empty souls. It’s the “pull yourself up by the boot straps” approach that the GOP likes to espouse. The problem is that, as much as Republicans like to wax philosophical about toughing it out in theory, they’ve mostly benefitted from the very programs they’re trying to destroy. Yet they still continue to expect people to get up from a fall while they have their foot on their necks.
The other day a Michigan State Rep., Bill Huizenga, bragged about his own frugality and the importance of people being responsible for their own healthcare by relaying a recent story from his own life. The father of five told Michigan’s mlive.com that “his youngest son fell and injured his arm. Not sure if it was sprained or broken, he and his wife decided to wait until the next morning to take the 10-year-old to the doctor’s office, instead of going to the emergency room that night.”
Huizenga went on to say “We took every precaution but decided to go in the next morning (because of) the cost difference.”
See how easy that was? Now, the kid’s arm was in fact broken, but Huizenga was able to save the insurance company a few bucks by keeping junior away from immediate medical attention and possibly risking infection and a more serious injury. Not only that, but the kid probably learned a valuable lesson about pain and won’t be running in the house for a while.
As terrifying as this argument is, it’s not a new one for Republicans. It goes something like this: If Americans were painfully aware of the costs of medical treatment, or had to pay out of pocket for it, they may make different choices and there would be some incredible savings. Most of us get sick, see a doctor, and take his or her recommendation. If they recommend tests, we have them.
The way the GOP sees it, however, is that maybe all these tests for silly little things like diabetes and lumps aren’t necessary. And if consumers had to choose between something like finding out if they had a tumor or eating that month, they might not burden the insurance companies. It’s a win-win. The insurance company pays nothing, and you and your family get to eat. You might not be around for Timmy’s birthday party, but at least the cake and balloons will be paid for.
TPN recently published an article on this topic, writing about Huizenga’s theory on healthcare:
A Republican congressman outlined the way he would like to see the health care system operate if Obamacare is repealed, as GOP lawmakers are promising. It is a brave new world in which parents would wait and think about it before bringing in their sick or injured kids for costly treatments.
There was a time when people had five or more kids because they lived on a farm and needed the help. It was a different time and there was a good chance that a portion of your offspring would die off, so you hedged your bets by having 10 or 12 knowing that you might lose five or six during a cold winter or in a plowing accident. If you had to get medical attention, you put the family in the buggy, hooked up the mule and rode into town. You hoped that the Doc was in, had the right tools, and that your kid would make it back home with at least one leg. If you were lucky, you had a couple of chickens as payment. That was nearly 100 years ago.
What Huizenga and the rest of the GOP are talking about in the 21st century borders on barbarism and, in this case, child abuse. The thought that in the most powerful and wealthy country in the world its citizens should be forced to weigh a basic human right like healthcare against someone’s idea of morality is truly disgusting. This seems to be the way the country is going as it rockets towards a GOP vision of Utopia in which those at the top get what they need and the rest of us are left to die in the streets.