Monday, March 29, 2010


Carl Parker sez:

The Boston Tea Party was about taxation by a foreign government with no representation.  Today’s Tea Party movement bears no resemblance to that.  Tea party participants of today appear to be based on irrational beliefs that our government is the same as a foreign power which is trying to enslave us all.

Adhering to the rules of conduct is what separates civilized societies from mobs of prehistoric troglodytes.  Protests sponsored by the Tea Party movement seem to abandon all trappings of civility and sometimes rationality.  Signs appearing at Tea Party Rallies to the effect of, “Keep you hands off my Medicare” demonstrate the level of knowledge of members of this group and just how far out they are.

The level of discourse by the Republicans has obviously inspired the Tea Party protests.  Republicans persist with inflammatory messages such as, “Healthcare will ruin America.  It’s a government takeover of all medical treatment.  The bill contains death panels to make people die when they past 75--It is the beginning of a socialist state in America,” on and on to ad nauseam.  It clearly demonstrates Republican thought has not changed since the late 1920's in America.  The same arguments being raised now that we are headed for socialism and that government involvement in medical benefits will ruin our health care system are the arguments made in protest against social security and Medicare.

This week on the eve of a congressional vote on the medical reform measure, members of Congress were spat on and the group protesting hurled racial and personal insults at members of Congress as they attempted to enter the Capitol.  On Sunday talk shows the Republican leaders denounced the conduct being as abhorrent and reprehensible.  The leadership of the Republican Caucus acted as though they were shocked protestors would conduct themselves in such a way.  It is vaguely reminiscent of Pontius Pilot washing his hands before the crucifixion of Christ.  Denials by Republicans that they had inflamed and encouraged such conduct is almost like a person who keeps a vicious dog and sets him free in a community and then denies any responsibility for the injuries and damage caused.

While most of us are disappointed at the lack of civility and bi-partisanism in our Congress, it must be pointed out it is almost impossible to cooperate with a group whose basic plan is to stonewall any cooperation and whose objective is not to produce reform but to embarrass the president.  It must be remembered only a short time ago it was revealed by major news sources that Republican leaders and others such as Rush Limbaugh predicted that if we could kill health care reform, you could kill Obama politically.  A recent New York Times article revealed that the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, meeting with 40 Republican Senators prior to Obama’s inauguration concocted a scheme to bring about gridlock in Congress.  A scheme which demanded that no Republican should appear to cooperate with any Democratic effort and then decry the fact there is no bi-partisanship in Congress.  Another revealing set of facts emerged recently when it was discovered that at a Republican retreat on how to raise funds and keep supporters on board, one of the major tactics was fear.  Fear of socialism, fear of high taxes; fear that you would have health care rationing in the United States.  In short, fear appeared to be the number one weapon of Republican fundraisers.

Stung by appropriate criticism that the Republican strategy was once again to do nothing, Republicans have begun a blitz of reciting so-called Republican proposals for health care.  They include tort reform, allowing transfer of insurance policies across state lines and prohibiting pre-existing conditions from disqualifying individuals from having health care.  Republicans seem to ignore the fact that no Republican during the Bush era sought to introduce any of these measures and press them to passage.

On close examination none of the main proposals of Republicans would do much for the average person in need of health care coverage.  Texas has made it nearly impossible to successfully recover damages against the doctor or hospital no matter how egregious their negligence or malpractice may be.  It appears to have only helped insurance carriers and a few doctors.   There is little, if any, savings to the average bill payer for medical procedures in Texas.  Pre-condition disqualifications could easily be handled at the state level because states regulate insurance carriers currently.  To my knowledge no Republican has ever introduced a bill, at least in Texas, dealing with disqualification of persons from their insurance coverage because they became sick or had a pre-existing condition.

The Republican proposal of allowing insurance companies to cross state lines to peddle insurance as a reform measure is almost laughable.  Surely they know that. Currently regulation of insurance companies by rules requiring them to remain solvent and provisions to compensate carriers of insurance whose companies go broke are all tied up in state regulation.  If they oppose federal regulations, how could we have any assurance of stability in the insurance industry if we allowed them to operate automatically in all states with no federal regulation?  The insurance industry would rapidly make the recent Wall Street calamity look like child’s play.

Republicans may be right that the recent debate over health care might be a potent weapon for them in the coming elections.  If voters, however, will just take a look at past practice, history and how things have gone with similar legislation, Republicans will not be successful.  Ask yourself whether or not you could find one Republican today in office who would advocate the repeal of Medicare

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