Bernie speech on healthcare: (15 minutes)
A little trip down memory lane: The major issue in early 2008 was not the economy until Republicans broke the economy in the middle of the year. The state of access to healthcare in the richest country in the world was the hot issue.
Access to healthcare is one of those “kitchen table” issues that Democrats used to be so great at fixing. A kitchen table issue is simply an issue that Mom and Dad talk about at night when they hold their daily assessment meeting. The kinds of things Mom and Dad talk about are the cost of living, how much money they make and how can they stretch it, can they afford that new appliance, can we afford to send the kids to college and what if we have an emergency like a medical emergency?
These are hardly new kitchen table subjects. Moms and Dads have been discussing pretty much the same things over a meal for centuries – can we make it today? What about the future? What if we have an emergency?
Democrats have used the power of government – the pooling of resources of “we the people” – to help ameliorate some of life’s worst body blows. When people are down and out, democrats created programs to help them get fed, clothed and even learn a salable skill that could get them back into the workforce.
One of the most perplexing problems to solve has been that of healthcare. Healthcare is not a luxury item that only a few will be partaking of in a lifetime. Of course it isn’t. It is a basic necessity of every human being. Over the decades, Democrats have fought and fought and fought for some sort of universal form of healthcare. As Republicans stopped them at every turn, America slowly became, to its shame, the only major country that did not have universal healthcare for its citizens.
As health became more of a profit driven industry, the abuses to the citizens from all parts of the health system became more and more egregious. This was especially true for the insurance sector. Insureds were being denied coverage, being gouged on rates or were suddenly unable to get coverage. It was literally a nightmare.
When things get real bad, citizens turn to their government for help. Republicans were of little help in the healthcare arena. Their major concern was not the health of the citizens, but the profits of the insurance companies. Totally the wrong approach.
So in 2008 healthcare was the top issue until the Republican depression took hold. Then survival in an economic crisis was the top issue, but access to health care was not far behind. But the forces of money and control do not give up power easily. The battle to get the ACA in was monumental. The healthcare law was passed despite some new wrinkles in senate procedure that basically required a super majority to pass anything.
But the battle was far from over. As many observers have noted over the years – Power does not give up its power easily nor willingly. Despite the passage of the ACA, it seemed that the battle was only beginning. The Republican Party aligned in toto against the ACA or any form of universal health care. The media which is nearly 100% owned by corporations began a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year brainwashing campaign against the ACA. It was hard to watch TV or listen to a radio without getting at least a small blurb on the evils of the ACA.
Today there is much talk about fake news as if it is something new on the horizon. Since the inception of Fox News fake news has been their staple. One of their main targets has been universal access to healthcare. They have really ramped up the lies about universal healthcare since the 2008 election. They were the leaders in a mainstream media blitz of the evils of the ACA. Most of the coverage was fueled by lies, omissions and misleads.
So we have another election and Republicans actually run on a platform to end universal access to healthcare. Despite losing the popular vote, they are the government of record with a mission to take away access to healthcare. Since the corporate media favors this it is hard to find stories of the real ramifications of what losing the ACA will mean on a day-to-day basis for the average citizen.
Iowans along with other Americans are extremely scared of what Republicans will do to health care. Will we be back to the days of choosing between health care and bankruptcy? What about the kids- can they stay on our insurance? When I go to the hospital will the insurance cover me? Can I even afford insurance?
Americans can’t make plans in environments like this. Why should citizens of the richest country in the world live in terror because Republicans have more loyalty to the insurance companies than their own constituents?
And the kicker is that the real driver behind repealing Obamacare is so Republicans can give a HUGE tax cut to the wealthy! This while taking health care away from 20 to 30 million and raising costs for everyone.
Is that really what you voted for? I don’t know anyone who did. Call Grassley. Call Ernst. Call your representative and tell them to quit kissing corporate butts and work for the voters instead.
We also need to make sure that voters understand that the ACA is only one part of our health care system that the Republican Party plans to destroy. Medicare is a top target. Medicaid is also, of course. And as a real surprise the VA health system has come under attack with what appears to be plans to dismantle it also.
Let me leave you with the words of Rep. Keith Ellison from twitter:
Reminder: many problems with ACA are due to Republican legislatures refusing Medicaid expansion, hurting millions of Americans.