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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 9:44 pm | Fog/Mist 56º


Jim Hightower: Let’s Consider the GOP’s Health-Care Plan

Pigheaded Republicans are so focused on repealing Obamacare that they've failed to offer an alternative

Here’s some useful advice from an old country saying: Never try to teach table manners to a pig — it doesn’t work, it’ll wear you out and it just annoys the pig.

The same advice goes for anyone who thinks they can teach even a bit of common sense to the preening political ideologues who’ve taken over the Republican Party and the U.S. House of Representatives. As we’ve seen in their incessant, pigheaded attacks on the health-care reform law, their minds are not merely fogged up with extremist anti-government theories, they’re impervious to rational thought.

They failed to defeat Obamacare in 2010, despite trying to scare old people with mindless lies about “death panels.” Now they’re trying to repeal the law by getting people to swallow their hogwash that it contains “a massive tax hike on the middle class.”

Really? No. One, it’s not massive; two, it’s a payment for direct benefit that people will receive, namely decent health-care coverage; three, very few people will have to pay the so-called “tax” at all; and four, many people and small business will get tax credits and federal assistance to offset the cost of coverage.

Their greatest failure, however, is that they offer no alternative to Obamacare. During the debate on their latest attempt to repeal the law, a Democratic lawmaker asked for a copy of the GOP’s health-care plan so he could read it aloud to other members. Silence in the chamber.

The Republicans’ political slogan has been to “repeal and replace” Obama’s reform, but they’ve dropped the replace part, saying they can’t offer an alternative until they complete the repeal.

No surprise — I doubt this bunch can walk and chew gun at the same time. Though they’re a tenacious bunch! Maybe not tenacious, more like dogmatic, obstinate and obtuse, too. Pigheaded — yeah, that’s it.

So, once again, on July 11, GOP lawmakers threw a group hissy fit on the floor of the House over the Affordable Care Act that Obama and the Democrats passed two years ago — a law the Supreme Court has just recently ruled to be constitutional. The House Repubs hate, hate, hate that law. So, all 244 GOP members pursed their lips in a collective pout and voted in lockstep to outright repeal the blanket-blank ACA. That’ll show Obama who’s boss, they crowed!

Well, not really, since their “repeal” won’t pass the Senate, much less get past the president’s veto pen. But these pouty solons aren’t really interested in legislating — they’re into political peacocking, putting on a show for the fans in the far-right-wing bleachers. And apparently it’s an interminable farce, for this was the 31st time that they’ve voted to repeal the law!

Thirty-one replays with the same do-nothing result. Don’t they have real work to do? At some point (probably back at about vote number 20 or 25), they crossed over from appearing ideologically steadfast ... to just plain stupid.

They snidely assailed the health-care reform as “Obamacare,” as though that’s a pejorative. But as the law has begun taking affect, more and more Americans are liking it a lot, because it produces real benefits for us. Start with the 30 million people who get help in affording prescription drugs, plus all of us who get some relief from the gouging and constant denial of coverage by monopolistic insurance giants, and Obamacare becomes a label of pride.

If I were him, I’d run on it — and go after the petty politicos who’re trying to take away the benefits it provides for people.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him.

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