The Nation has been on pins and needles lately watching as the Republican controlled Congress attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare). If you’ve been paying attention at all, you should be pretty terrified by what they’re trying to do. And while I have had many thoughts, feelings, and reactions since learning about what it is the GOP plans to do to “improve” our healthcare system, the overwhelming thought I keep having is “This…This is why I vote democrat.” Let me explain…
Go find any decent article about what the Senate Healthcare plan would do (you can go here, here, or here for a few articles from reputable sources if you’re not familiar with the plan yet) and it should become abundantly clear that they aren’t seeking to improve healthcare for anyone. They are simply looking to check the box on their to-do list next to where it says, “Repeal Obamacare,” and while they’re at it, they’ll throw a few billion in tax cuts at the very wealthy.
The problems that people complain about with Obamacare (high premiums, feeling “tricked” because some people weren’t able to “keep their plan and keep their doctor,” lack of choices for affordable plans in some areas) might be “solved” on the surface with the GOP proposals (either the House or Senate plan) but they create a whole host of other problems that will have a much more harmful impact on far more Americans.
With the Senate plan your premiums might decrease a little (and I say “might” with a tremendous amount of caution) but what you’re paying for will be far inferior coverage. No longer will you be able to have confidence that any plan you’re buying will cover your most basic needs. No longer will you be able to rest easy at night knowing that there is a reasonable cap on what you can be expected to spend out of pocket on your medical care in a given year. You may be able to see the doctor you want, but no longer will you be confident that no matter how sick you or a loved one might get, that they can’t be dropped from coverage because they reached a “lifetime max.” If you have a preexisting condition and currently have coverage, you better hope you really, really like your job, because you won’t be leaving that job without risking losing insurance. And if you’re poor, elderly, disabled, pregnant, plan to become pregnant, have a child who receives special education services at school, or have struggled with substance abuse then you better remedy that situation quickly, because if the GOP gets their way, you’re very likely to receive far inferior coverage (if any coverage at all) to what you received under Obamacare. And as a medical social worker, I can tell you these changes will affect people in catastrophic, devastating, and sometimes fatal ways. People will die because of the GOP’s changes to the healthcare system.
But, I have good news! If you’re healthy AND really rich, well, then you’re likely to have a net benefit from the changes being proposed to our healthcare system. Well, that is if you consider a benefit something that only positively impacts you and those who are very much like you, and leaves everyone else worse off. But yes, if that’s your thing, then CONGRATS! You’ll get what you want! But that is not what I want.
I have always voted for the candidate or party that I truly believe seeks to do the most good for the most people. I first wrote about this here in 2012 and then I followed it up in 2016 here. And never before has it been clearer that the Republican Party in no way seeks to do the most good for the most people. No, instead they seem to prey on their constituents being misinformed and lacking the facts regarding how a particular law will affect them. The truth is that the Senate and the House’s proposals to replace the ACA will have a net negative impact for many, many Americans; many of whom tend to lean Republican. And the Republican Party just doesn’t care. All they care about is checking that “Repealed Obamacare” box, and they don’t care who they have to dupe in order to do it. Because they know, that for many people, the misleading stories they’ve been spreading about Obamacare (for years) have people convinced that it’s a “bad deal.” And they (the GOP politicians) believe that as long as they get rid of Obamacare they will remain in office. Instead of stating the truth—which is that Obamacare was the first step in repairing a complex and broken system, and something that everyone knew would need tweaking and adjustments—and getting to work on improving an imperfect law, they are seeking to destroy any progress that has been made.
For the record: I am not saying all people who vote Republican are misinformed. There are certainly plenty who know the facts, and feel they will benefit, and therefore just don’t care about how a particular law will impact their fellow Americans. So, no, I didn’t call all Republicans misinformed. But, I may have called you lacking in empathy.
I by no means believe the Democratic Party is without fault. I’m not convinced they are, as a lot, any less corrupt than their opponents across the aisle. But, they put forth policies, proposals, and platforms that have at their heart people’s humanity. They understand that we are not all perfect. They know that anyone could come on hard times at any time and they seek to put in place a safety net that makes the fall from those hard times a little softer. They seek to create a world that is as safe as possible for all citizens and they don’t pander to the gun lobby who has convinced far too many people that more guns = a safer Country.
They don’t judge or attempt to impose their beliefs on others. They understand that abortion is a personal, devastating, and complex decision that a woman should be able to make without judgment or involvement from the government. And they understand that the women who choose abortion are not baby killers, but instead people who are experiencing a devastating time in their life and they need our support and love not our judgment and condemnation.
They understand that who you love, or I love, or who anyone else loves does not in any way diminish the love we each have for our own spouses. Democrats understand that who someone loves does not determine what kind of parent they will be, and they get that love is love, and not something by which we judge the morality or integrity of a person. The Democratic Party seems to understand that gender is a construct and something that runs on a continuum. They are not threatened by a man who looks and acts more feminine or a woman who is confident, strong, and masculine. They don’t care what clothes you wear or how you dress. They just care that you get to identify as your true self and that you get to live your life in a way and go to the bathroom in the place that is true to that self.
The Democratic Party understands that every single person who has been lucky enough to be born in the United States is so damn lucky. Yes, it’s luck that made us American (Well, not all of us. Some people became American because they sacrificed, brought their family here, worked hard, studied hard, and became a citizen. But, for most of us, it was luck). And just because luck has shown upon us that does not give us permission to judge, condemn, or treat disrespectfully anyone born in another Country. The Democratic Party understands that no, we can’t save everyone, but if you’ve come here to the United States, and you’re living a law-abiding life (even if you happened to initially enter in an “illegal” way), then who are we to kick you out?
The Democratic party understands that the Country’s greatest resources are its people and that providing our children with a high quality, good, free, public education is a necessity. The Democratic party believes strongly that it is “worth it” to fully fund education so that all children, no matter what city or town they were born in or who their parents are, have the opportunity to learn in a safe environment taught by educators that want to be there and are paid appropriately to do this crucial job.
The Democratic Party does its best (though, they still often fail miserably) to foster and value diversity. While they haven’t mastered the art of being a truly diverse and tolerant party, the desire to be is strong and at the core of many of the decisions they make. Democrats don’t want to “make America great, again.” They want America to be the best that it can absolutely be, and they know achieving that does not involve going back in time to some point in which the progress we have made towards diversity and tolerance is undone.
The Democratic Party understands that healthcare is a human right. They know, as Pope Francis said, “Health is not a consumer good but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege.” Democrats understand that the health and well being of Americans is not something to be politicized. Passing healthcare policy is about doing what is right for the American people. It is about making sure all Americans have access to good, affordable healthcare. It is about doing the most good for the most people. And for that reason, I am a very proud Democrat.