Narrowly & Painfully

This past week, the House GOP narrowly and painfully passed bloody stools a monstrous and pathetic “health care” bill.

(To be clear, it is a “health care” bill the same way people who force pregnancies on women are “pro-life.” That is to say, ironically. That is also to say, they’re both misnomers and intentionally misleading terms.)

Many people decry the current law, the Affordable Care Act, and that is of course their right. To those who want the ACA to give way to a single-payer or at least universal healthcare system in which everyone can access healthcare, a cost-effective and more efficient system implemented by other so-called developed countries on earth, I say: Yes. Me, too.

To those who hate the ACA because a black president got it done, I say: Your racism is appalling.

To those who willfully misunderstand the cost savings of preventative care and the value of a healthy populace, those who insist they don’t want to pay for someone else’s health care, I say: We all pay. Whether now or later, we all pay. Whether a little or a lot, we all pay.

We all pay for a society that doesn’t take care of one another. We all pay when we neglect the most vulnerable among us.

But I also say this, in case Jesus and I haven’t convinced you that caring for your neighbors is the right thing to do: I understand not wanting to pay for something for someone else. I understand feeling that you don’t have enough money for yourself, let alone your neighbor, let alone a stranger, let alone a stranger who doesn’t share your values. (Trust me, I’m not crazy about my taxes helping fund healthcare for the occasional racist or bigot.) I understand looking around at passersby and disdaining them. Who wants to watch their own hard-earned wages taxed for road maintenance, fire and police services, and health coverage?

And if it were only up to you to finance or at least subsidize healthcare for 300 million Americans, this would be a much different conversation. But it’s not all on you. Or on me. Billionaires can help. Millionaires can help. Hundred-thousand dollar-aires can help. And they should. Right now, system after system after system after system in the US favors them. Helps them earn and cling to their money.

So the choice is not between a) you and your fellow struggling Americans having to pay even more in taxes for healthcare for you and your fellow struggling Americans, or b) the laughable-if-it-weren’t-so-cruel AHCA. The choice, rather, is between a) you and your fellow struggling Americans continuing to be squeezed on all sides, including by rising healthcare costs, or b) the rich contributing a fair portion of their wealth so that you and your fellow Americans don’t keep getting squeezed on all sides.

Taxpayers (you and I included) fund travel for Donald Trump’s kids to circle the globe promoting their businesses so they can make even more money (that’s what this presidency is about, after all. Donald Trump did not become president to help you, sweetheart); we fund Trump’s trips back and forth between Mar-a-Lago and Washington; we fund protection of Melania’s private residence; all to the tune of $2 million per day or more. How many other outrageous ventures are we funding, and how many worthy projects go unfunded because of it?

For years, the US has paid more per person for healthcare than any other developed country in the world. Can’t we do better? Can’t we try something else, something that doesn’t include default tax breaks for the wealthy? Or are we so miserly and stupid as to be swindled by another pro-rich-life-only measure?

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