President Obama and the Democrats who control the United States Congress finally got healthcare reform passed last weekend. It was a wisp, a hint, faded fragment of healthcare reform, but healthcare reform nonetheless. I’m not thrilled with it, but I’ll take what I can get. I will try to look on the reforms that were passed as a necessary start, and hope for better things to come — you know, like I did with Batman Begins, that piece of shit. God, how could anyone have liked that fucking . . .
I digress! I digress . . . Anyway, while folks like me were, to say the least, underwhelmed by the reforms the president signed into law this week, a small but vocal group of our fellow Americans were treating the healthcare bill like the final harbinger of Armageddon. Some Democratic members of the House of Representatives have even been threatened with violence since the vote was taken.
(On a related note, a friend of mine and future giant of political philosophy has started a Facebook group to address the violent strain that runs through the tea party movement. The purpose is to resist and oppose the demonization and intimidation of those outside the tea party movement, yes, but also to engage those within the movement, to attempt to understand what they are so angry about, and why such violent, divisive rhetoric is necessary. So whatever side you find yourself on, join the group, and take a little time to participate in the discussion. Now then . . .)
Some of these misguided Chicken Littles happen to reside in my very own Washington County, land that I love, and have been making their voices heard through the Mail Call feature in the Herald-Mail, the publication that will have to pass for our local newspaper until we can get ourselves a proper one. I thought I’d share a few of their concerns with you, my tiny but most erudite readership, along with a few thoughts of my own. It’s a little thing I do from time to time, and this round I’m calling
Riffing on Mail Call
These comments were taken from the March 25 and 26 editions of Mail Call.
Well, I see where President Obama got his health care bill passed, so I guess we’re all going to be paying now. And this is a response to a person from Frederick criticizing Dave Limbaugh’s column, when he called, criticized the decision of government officials, sounds like he said communism takeover of the U.S., and refers to Democratic officials as Marxist-leaning. That’s what’s called free speech. —Hagerstown
Yes, when David Limbaugh wrote a very stupid column two weeks ago characterizing the weak, tentative attempts at healthcare reform by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress as a communist takeover, he was exercising his constitutionally protected right to free speech. But so was the person who called bullshit on him for it in Mail Call a few days later. So what’s your beef, exactly? Free speech protections ensure that Limbaugh can share whatever asinine thoughts drift into his head (like how persecuted American Christians are), and that someone else can criticize him, and that yet another person can criticize what that critic said. Shouldn’t everyone be happy? I know I am: the right to free speech also allows me to call you a fuckwit, and in this very article.
Clipping right along . . .
Well, it’s Monday, March 22. Once more, Washington has proved what my father always said. The government hid behind closed doors, conniving against the people. The people should have been given the right to vote on the health care plan, instead of having it pushed down our throats. Oh, by the way, my father always said there’s no such animal as an honest politician. —Spring Mills, W.Va.
Yeah, well your father was a cynical old bastard without much of a knack for words or understanding how American government works. Nothing was pushed down the people’s throats. We vote for representatives. Those representatives then gather in a legislative body and propose and vote on bills. If enough people vote in favor of a bill, it goes to the president, and if he signs it, it becomes a law. (Did you never watch Schoolhouse Rock?) That’s exactly how the healthcare reform legislation was handled. Our elected representatives proposed, debated, and voted on it. (And, despite claims to the contrary, the vast majority of this process — almost all of it, in fact — was carried out in public, before C-Span cameras, and covered on major media outlets.) The people didn’t vote on the healthcare plan because that’s not how a republic works. And it’s a good thing, too — take a look at California if you want to see the kind of damage direct democracy can do. People tend to vote up social programs, and vote down the tax raises needed to pay for them. See how that might be a problem?
See where Obama’s health care plan passed. Doesn’t go into effect until 2014. By that time, he’ll be out of office, Democrats will be gone, the ones that voted for it. We’ll have a new president. Hopefully he’ll just kick it out of the office, kick it out of the Senate, and have a good health care plan. —Martinsburg, W.Va.
Will this new (presumably Republican) president stage a coup and declare himself premier first? ‘Cause I don’t see how it’s going to work otherwise, given that the president’s current constitutional powers don’t allow him to kick it out of the office, kick it out of the Senate, and have a good health care plan without it passing through the aforementioned legislative process.
This will sound condescending, but it’s a serious question. You guys and gals who are pissed off about healthcare reform: Do you have any idea how our government works? I mean, are you able to articulate what specific parts of this process offended you, or threatened you, or disenfranchised you, or are you just angry because the guy on the radio said they were going to steal your liberty?
(I know many of you who opposed the reform effort are quite capable of answering that question — feel free to do so in the comment section. However, I’m afraid too many of you aren’t.)
I’m just turned 50, no — never been married, no dependents, and look like I just adopted millions last night, since the health care passed, and all of our — and everybody else also adopted everybody else, because all your taxpayers’ money is going to go toward illegals and people that are uninsured. You can thank everybody down there at the White House, all those Democrats and President Obama. —Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Millions of people will have access to basic healthcare, in a few years, through private insurers, who didn’t before! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
People are dying. And you call the local paper to piss and moan about the government finally doing something about it? Real people, really dying, in the richest country that ever existed, and you call in whining about some hypothetical tax increase, or “illegals” taking all your money. I will thank everybody down there at the White House, all those Democrats, and President Obama. And if any Republicans would’ve had balls enough to tell their social Darwinist contributors to go fuck themselves and vote for it, I’d thank them, too. I’d thank them even more if the reforms they passed actually amounted to shit, but hey, I guess beggars can’t be choosers. If you ever find yourself down and out, in some hospital or nursing home, with Medicare or Medicaid footing the bill, you can thank them too, you fucking asshole.
This is about the new health care program. Obama said last night that everybody would pay except the people on Medicaid. Why not start everybody out equal? They get everything free now. Why can’t they pay for some of their insurance? They get the best medical care they are, better than the people that pay for it. So I say to make it fair, everybody pay their fair share, just like they should do for their Medicare, where some people get . . . we’re going downhill. The taxpayers are already in the hole, so let’s make it fair and make everybody pay their fair share. —Dargan
Medicaid is for qualifying low income people and families. They can’t afford to pay for ordinary private insurance — that’s why they’re on Medicaid. And Medicaid only covers about 40% of Americans below the poverty line. To qualify, you have to meet other requirements; being poor isn’t enough. I know this because I took ten seconds to look it up. You might also be interested to know that they don’t “get everything free now.” Some beneficiaries of Medicaid are required to pay a co-pay, just like most people with private insurance. Most people on Medicaid are already paying more than their fair share, especially when you consider how bad off they must be to even be on Medicaid in the first place.
What about those who have nothing, or next to nothing, and still don’t qualify for Medicaid for whatever reason? What’s their fair share?