Tuesday, December 12 , 2017, 10:35 am | Haze Smoke 60º

 
 
 
 

Randy Alcorn: With Health Care, Republicans’ Fishy Brand of Conservatism on Display

I am ideologically agnostic and unequivocally critical of both conservatives and liberals. Today, however, I must focus on conservatives, at least as represented by the Republican Party whose current behavior evinces what is fundamentally wrong with their brand of conservatism — it is morally fishy.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on the issue of health care, which congressional Republicans are scheming to limit to those who can afford it while, not coincidentally, benefiting the nation’s economic elite. The American Healthcare Act, the Republicans’ long promised repeal and replacement of Obamacare, would make health care unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans while reducing the taxes of the rich and doing nothing to address the insatiable greed of the health-care industry.

For decades now, health care has been one of the hottest battle zones in America’s bitter, idiotic, ideological war.

Both sides, however, do agree on the critical importance of health care, but disagree on how to provide it and to whom. Democrats argue that all Americans are entitled to quality health care. Republicans argue that all Americans should have the opportunity for quality health care, but in a free market no one is entitled to it. People must get health care by acquiring enough money to pay for it.

The ugly conclusion of the Republicans’ perorations on free markets, individual freedom and personal responsibility is that those who cannot earn enough money to afford health insurance, or doctors and medicine, will suffer more and possibly die earlier than they otherwise would.

Republicans crow about restoring Americans’ freedom to choose not to purchase health insurance, which means that other Americans will have to pay for the uninsured’s emergency room visits when they do get sick or injured. Freedom always has a price, doesn’t it?

If Republicans are such firm advocates of individual freedom and such fierce opponents of intrusive government why have they been such stubborn supporters of the futile war on drugs? Drug use is a victimless personal choice, and nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to prohibit it.

Indeed, if a constitutional amendment was required to prohibit alcohol, how is marijuana prohibited without one?

Many Republicans, because they are so righteously pro-life, want to prohibit abortion. If life is so important to them, why do they oppose providing universal health care? We all know that quality health care is critically important to life, because by cheating death from disease and injuries medical science extends human life.

The blatant callousness of these conniving congressional Republicans is fascinating to observe. They barely try to hide their true motivations and their smug hypocrisy.

All of them will have fat pensions and excellent health coverage for life — at taxpayer expense — while they scold less fortunate Americans to make the hard economic choices, like giving up their cell phones, to afford health insurance.

Even with insurance, too many Americans lose more than cell phones because of major medical expenses. They can and do lose everything, including their homes.

Repealing Obamacare isn’t about “individual freedom” as much as it is about money, who has it and who wants more — regardless of the suffering it may cause others. The Republican “replacement” plan is essentially an empty gesture intended to distract the public from any ideas about a single-payer system.

The health-care industry — insurance companies, big pharma, hospital chains, et al. — are the powerful, paying clients of Republicans, and many Democrats, too, and those powerful clients want to keep the gravy train running no matter who falls under it.

While suffocating socialism is no better than cannibal capitalism, single-payer, universal health care smothers nothing but excessive greed. Why does health care have to be interceded by a for-profit insurance industry? Why must our health-care system be so grossly overpriced and deviously inefficient?

If Medicare is acceptable for senior Americans, why isn’t it acceptable for all Americans?

Most of the advanced nations on earth have successful single-payer health-care systems — with no death panels. Those panels are typically found in the offices of for-profit insurance companies furiously working to deny claims for exorbitantly priced treatments by avaricious health-care providers.

Single-payer systems do not have to preclude private health insurance or prevent people from purchasing medical care on the open market. The wealthy could still upgrade to private hospital rooms and get their preferred plastic surgeons.

In America we don’t let people starve because they can’t afford food. We are outraged when citizens are denied critical utilities like clean water, heat and sanitation. Why then would we accept that health care is just another market commodity only for those who can afford it?

We tax ourselves for the common welfare — roads, schools, social security, etc. — and don’t fret about whether it is “socialism.” Why not universal health care?

Take away all the ideological nonsense and it really boils down to this: health care is life. As a nation, do we want every citizen to have it or just those who have enough money to pay for it?

The most important concern regarding the health-care issue isn’t socialism vs. capitalism, or individual freedom vs. government mandate, it’s life and death — who gets to live, who has to die prematurely.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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