Photograph from NPR
Dear Republican Lawmakers,
You don’t seem to think much of health insurance for your fellow Americans. I draw this conclusion from the way you treat it in legislation: as a bargaining chip or an opportunity for moral education, as opposed to a way to save lives.
I’m not going to concern myself with trying to divine your motives, varied as they doubtlessly are. By your actions, it is more than clear that you are willing to deny Americans healthcare if it allows you to make a point or avoid another thorny issue (such as immigration). I find that contemptible regardless of what your motivations for doing it are.
The faulty logic that says people are on Medicaid because they are lazy (as opposed to disabled or unable to find work that actually provides benefits) is at least familiar enough as to be unsurprising. But holding children’s healthcare hostage is a new low. After all, there is no possible way for children to afford their own healthcare, and childcare in general is becoming increasingly expensive. If you think families are a positive thing, that they provide stability and continuity for communities and the nation as a whole, then I would think that making sure that families are a thing people can afford to have would be high on your list.
You might make the argument that reducing government spending will reduce taxes and make things more affordable in that fashion, but you were just working on a huge tax bill; tell me, how much in that bill was of direct benefit to low-income families, or even middle-class families? The lion’s share went to large corporations, who are already sitting on considerable cash reserves. This isn’t going to stimulate the economy enough that healthcare will suddenly become affordable for people below the poverty line.
Putting work restrictions on Medicaid will kill people. Using children’s health insurance as a bargaining chip is gambling with children’s lives. Neither of those strike me as a responsible way to run the country.