Playing Games with America’s Health Care

President Trump reneged on promises about health insurance for all to win a House vote on a bill to repeal Obamacare and cut taxes on the rich, but now Republicans have to live with the consequences, writes Michael Winship.

By Michael Winship

This just in: Health care is not a game. It’s a matter life or death for millions and millions of Americans. But you sure wouldn’t know it from watching Donald Trump and House Republicans celebrate their narrow victory on Thursday.

President Trump celebrates the House passage of Obamacare repeal with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House Republicans at the White House on May 4, 2017. (Screen shot from

The House managed to pass a bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), aimed at altering or eradicating provisions of Obamacare, a somewhat muted version of the “repeal and replace” battle cry screamed throughout the election campaign but one that nevertheless will still devastate all but the richest of society with exorbitant medical costs that many cannot afford. Medicaid would be slashed by hundreds of millions. Twenty-four million fewer would be left without health insurance.

But the Republicans celebrated this impending tragedy with cheers on Capitol Hill and then got on buses to the White House for some further revelry in the Rose Garden.

“Trump basked in adulation as lawmakers heaped praise on him,” Ashley Parker reported in The Washington Post: “… Including Trump and [vice president Mike] Pence, a dozen lawmakers and officials spoke, a snaking queue — nearly all white men — who took turns stepping to the lectern to claim their reward: cable news coverage, orchestrated by a president who values it above almost all else.”

Trump shouted, “How am I doing? I’m president. Hey, I’m president. Can you believe it?” Not if I don’t want to. It all felt like a chintzy version of the victory party after a high school football championship, except no one dared douse Coach Trump or assistant coaches Pence and Paul Ryan with Gatorade. Which was unfortunate.

Democrats got into the act, too, singing, “Hey hey hey, goodbye!” at the Republicans in the House chamber, reminding the GOP that they had just cast a vote that may cost many of them their seats in the 2018 midterms. The whole thing was very classy, as if the Founders high-fived, fist-bumped and burst into “We Are the Champions” after signing the Declaration of Independence.

The fact is, few Republicans have even read the bill. They did not wait for a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office before ramming it through. No hearings were held; no group was given the opportunity to raise its objections in such a public forum: no American Cancer Society, AARP, the March of Dimes, the American Hospital Association — all of which, along with many other professional and advocacy organizations, have made their opposition known. No American Medical Association, which announced, “millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a direct result of this proposal…”

“Not only would the AHCA eliminate health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, the legislation would, in many cases, eliminate the ban against charging those with underlying medical conditions vastly more for their coverage.”

Tax Cut for the Rich

But if you’re looking for the real reasons Republicans were throwing themselves a frat party on Thursday, heed first the words of Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States: “It is critically important to look at this bill for what it is. It is not in any way a health care bill. Rather, it is legislation whose aim is to take significant funding allocated by Congress for health care for very low-income people and use that money for tax cuts for some of our wealthiest citizens. This is contrary to the spirit of who we are as a nation, a giant step backward that should be resisted.”

President Trump meets with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on May 4, 2017. (Screenshot from

Then remember, as Paul Kane noted in The Post, that the GOP “viewed the measure as a necessary step to demonstrate some sense of momentum and some ability to govern in GOP-controlled Washington … inside the White House, President Trump’s advisers became increasingly concerned about how little they had to show in terms of early victories.”

And so they were willing to vote for a lousy, misbegotten piece of legislation just so they could get the first round of tax cuts for the rich and to make it look as if they had accomplished something. Not exactly the Age of Pericles.

I remembered that old poem, After Blenheim, in which Robert Southey recounts the 1704 battle in which Britain’s Duke of Marlborough (ancestor of Winston Churchill) defeated the forces of France’s Louis XIV. The poem concludes:

“And everybody praised the Duke

Who this great fight did win.

‘But what good came of it at last?’

Quoth little Peterkin.

‘Why that I cannot tell,’ said he,

‘But ’twas a famous victory.'”

Never confuse motion for action, Republicans. And your “famous” victory may be Pyrrhic. Fortunately, this horrible health care legislation has a long way to go through the Senate before Donald Trump gets the chance to affix his EKG-like signature. As South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted on Friday, “A bill — finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate — should be viewed with caution.”

Perhaps the most relevant — if unintentional — comment came from Trump himself Thursday night when he told Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, “You have better health care than we do.” The Land Down Under has universal health care with a private insurance option. They call it Medicare.

If the Democrats don’t immediately start playing Trump’s statement on a constant video loop between now and November 2018, they’ve lost the will to live. The White House said Trump didn’t mean anything by it (although he then doubled down on his words with a tweet) but if you’re in the mood to have a celebration of your own, lift a glass to what he told the Australian PM and make a toast to blowing up this bogus health care reform bill and giving us what Americans truly need — Medicare for all.

Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWinship.


54 comments for “Playing Games with America’s Health Care

  1. joey
    May 7, 2017 at 20:05

    It i such open faced corruption. It is clearly Not health care reform. IMO It is spiteful,politically motivated move, It rewards his cronies, by stealing from medicaid recips and others whom they dislike.

  2. Exiled off mainstreet
    May 7, 2017 at 19:17

    It’s not like Obamacare was anything more really than compelling people to buy private insurance with high deductibles at inflated rates based on the compulsion of IRS taxes. While it is true that the GOP alternative is probably even worse, both are reducing life expectancies and seriously impacting the economic health of those living in the US. The only real answer is that not on the table: Canadian style medicare, and even that is under threat in some places where it has existed, such as Britain where the dominant tory majority threatens it. Since the cancer is bipartisan, blaming Trump is a political game. What is needed is a total reset with both existing parties flushed down the pan, and partisan lackeys like the author are not credible spokesmen of such an alternative.

  3. May 7, 2017 at 15:25

    FDR wanted a health care program as part of the New Deal, but what with all the opposition to the New Deal programs, that part was dropped. The AMA has lobbied since the 1920s to control health care for doctors’ benefits, and they made sure that alternatives such as homeopathy and herbals got a bad rap. When Medicare was passed under LBJ, it would have been so logical to extend it to single payer for all, but big business health, insurance, and pharma would not allow it, as is their usual capitalist stance. Now, US health care is on life support. I worked in health care for years and stay away from doctors. You are better off to be educated about health, take care of yourself by healthy eating, exercise, getting enough rest, all the things that are basic and people did before advent of massive systems. The real problem nowadays is risk of accidents, including automobile and after-effects. Military vets have the worst to deal with since this health care system is so inferior; I really feel badly for the vets.

  4. May 7, 2017 at 14:45

    On the plus side it seems to eliminate the provision that will force people to buy garbage over-expensive health care insurance. For that the RP should be commended. Obamacare was a bill written by the insurance industry and brought the major rackets most of what they wanted. I’m not sure if industry benefits or not from this bill but my guess is that they might not be happy because there will be less money for them to spend particularly by the poor. As long as health-care is seen as a source of profit primarily we will have a problem with this sector. Corruption was never addressed and will never be addressed as long as Washington dominated by either party gets its way.

  5. Bob Charron
    May 7, 2017 at 10:58

    I am pleased to see that reference to Robert Southey’s poem “After Blenheim.” It is so applicable to today’s news.

  6. zman
    May 7, 2017 at 10:00

    Seriously people, who is surprised by this? Remember this, there are people out there that this is going to hurt…yet even they will blindly believe that this rearranged bunch of criminals have done a good job. Really. The American voter is really that stupid. Anyone with any intelligence whatsoever looking at Trump and his business practices and cohorts should have known that his only real ability is that of a conman. Not only has this liar reneged on his campaign pledges, he has done complete 180s. Anyone still surprised at what this buffoon does has deluded themselves. Much like the Tea Party was supposed to be constitutionalists and super patriots, the reality is that they are just worse versions of the repug party. Their mantra was and is lower taxes/ deregulation. Now where have we heard that before? The majority of TPers are wealthy…and want to stay that way. How many of them voted for this crap right along with the dyed in the wool repugs? Where are they when it comes to pro-corporate legislation? Where are they in relation to grass roots desires? For anyone to believe that Trump had any intention of keeping to his campaign pledges, required them to completely deny his past. Congress as a whole has only one purpose, to enrich themselves and their cronies that ensure them a fat retirement. The health of the people and the country is for sale to the highest bidder, whether that bidder is corporate thieves or the Zionist terrorist state of Israel. You and me, tax paying citizens, can take a flying leap. In the end, would anyone really be surprised if Trump was actually re-elected in 4 years? Not me, there are too many precedents for re-electing the worst, while wallowing in the debris trail they leave. Case in point, how many people STILL believe that Reagan was a good president? Ask them what he did FOR this country.

    • mike k
      May 7, 2017 at 10:25

      Zman what you say is scary – 8 years of Trump! – but it is true that the American people are capable of that, and Reagan proves it. But most of the American people are not stupid, but they are ignorant, misinformed, and brainwashed. Which is almost as bad as stupid, but at least there is an outside chance they might come out from under their cultural spell and become able to use their intelligence to discern the truth about themselves and their situation, and begin to make better choices and act on them. A long shot for sure, but not impossible. We have a nation of Moonies to deprogram,,,,,

    • LJ
      May 7, 2017 at 16:26

      The House of Representatives pushed this through with a bare majority like the Democrats pushed though the ACA way back when. Trump doesn’t know anything about health care and I don’t believe he knows much about anything besides the Real estate Game and building his personal Brand. His ego made him President. I do not believe he is intentionally trying to screw anybody. He;s a rich kid with a silver spoon sticking in all orifices and he does not have to question the system that validates him and others like him that he knows. Believe me, I never liked the guy and I don’t believe he cares any more about me than does Hillary Clinton. BUT BASHING AND HATING ON TRUMP IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR POLICY. The Democrats need to start developing a Platform that can bring them back to power. The people are already hip to what Trump is going to bring us and to the Republican Congress too but that does not make the Democrats good or even an alternative. We need new parties or real Democrats running for office who have sound policy positions . We don’t need Hillary forming another PAC to advance “progressive policies”. You don’t like Trump elect politicians that are better. Good luck.

  7. Eric Downey
    May 7, 2017 at 03:00

    The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 gave the insurance industry protection from antitrust prosecution, and our healthcare costs have never been the same. There are some Christian ” health cost sharing” plans that were created through ACA exemptions. Families of 4 get basic coverage for $250/month with livable deductibles. They are able to do this because they are free to negotiate with providers directly. Why is no media outlet reporting on this option? BTW-Trump has long advocated for some type of single payer system or guaranteed coverage.

    • mike k
      May 7, 2017 at 10:31

      If Trump advocates single payer, why does he not say a word about it? Not my idea of advocacy…. This is another version of, “In his heart Trump wants everything good for all of us, but the meanies in DC won’t let him show it.” Really??

    • irina
      May 7, 2017 at 12:10

      My husband and I enrolled in one of these cost sharing plans after paying $25,000 in premiums the prior year (2015) and then having our carrier leave the state. (We live in Alaska, are very low end users of health care, are just over the ‘income cliff’ and not yet eligible for Medicare). As small business owners, last year our only option on the Individual Market was Blue Cross Blue Shield.
      Premiums for the cheapest Bronze plan started at $3200/month with a $13,500 deductible. And went up from there. The Gold Plan cost over $5000/month. The really scary part to me is that, even if we did qualify for subsidies (which we don’t), that is what the plans actually cost. The subsidies just serve to hide the real expense.

      Our ‘premiums’ under the Liberty Health Share plan run $291 a month, plus a modest annual membership fee. It’s not really insur-ance however and since we are low end health care users we haven’t tried making any claims and are not sure how much it would really cover. It is however affordable and provides us some feeling of protection. I found out about this option by — reading comments on an article about the ACA. No, you won’t read about it in mainstream or even very often in alternative media.

      And I had been actively looking for such an option because way back in the late 1980’s I was part of Co-op America, which at the time was a successful health coverage (non-religious) cooperative. Liberty Health Share does require a statement of belief in a ‘higher power’, but no religious endorsement (e.g. by a church official). It also does reserve the right to not cover pre-existing con-ditions for specified periods of time, and encourages its members to live healthy lives (a good diet, exercise, no smoking, minimal alcohol, etc.). They have an interesting and professional website if anyone wants to check it out.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 7, 2017 at 13:45

        As small business owners, last year our only option on the Individual Market was Blue Cross Blue Shield.
        Premiums for the cheapest Bronze plan started at $3200/month with a $13,500 deductible. And went up from there. The Gold Plan cost over $5000/month.

        If that is not evidence that insanity prevails in the American health care system I don’t know what is. The insatiable pursuit of ever more material wealth and people in Congress such as the person referred to below bring the survival of the United States as a civilized entity into grave doubt.

        “GOP Congressman: ‘Nobody Dies Because They Don’t Have Access To Health Care’: Factcheck: False.”
        By Daniel Marans –

      • Exiled off mainstreet
        May 7, 2017 at 19:23

        Too bad the Tsar decided it was better to sell Alaska to the yankee imperium rather than the British one. If Alaska were a Canadian province, you would not face these absurd costs to capitalist parasites.

  8. Furtive
    May 7, 2017 at 00:48


    Substitute obama for Trumo & democrat for GOP.


  9. Furtive
    May 7, 2017 at 00:46

    Substitute obama for trump & democrat granddaughter republican.

    Gave you been slumbering for 8 yrs?

  10. ADL
    May 7, 2017 at 00:35

    Follow the money.
    “It is not in any way a health care bill. Rather, it is legislation whose aim is to take significant funding allocated by Congress for health care for very low-income people and use that money for tax cuts for some of our wealthiest citizens.”
    No more than our health care system is about health care. Our system is first and foremost about making massive profits for Health Insurance companies. Who then feed the trough of bribes and payoffs to Congress and lobbyists. So we do actually have a ‘trickle down’ economy when it comes to health care.

    But back to the tax cuts. Sister Keehan nails it, but then you don’t need to be the brightest bulb to figure that out. If there is anything Trump, and his billionaire swamp cronies know anything about, it is how to scam their way out of paying taxes. Enormous tax cuts which will enormously enrich Trump and his regime is really THE ONLY thing he cares about. No you, me, this country, the world, or anything except greed and ego.

    PS: That scene with all of the Repubs celebrating with Trump reminded me of the ‘Mission Accomplished’ propaganda where Bush staged his celebration, in front of a captive audience, to let him bask in the glory of killing thousands of people and destroying Iraq.

    • mike k
      May 7, 2017 at 10:33

      Exactly ADL, You nailed it.

    • Gregory Herr
      May 7, 2017 at 11:40

      “Our system is first and foremost about making massive profits for Health Insurance companies.”

      Add to that the pharmaceutical ripoffs and the shareholder class.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 7, 2017 at 12:22

      Good comment ADL. It goes without saying, how these creatures who demand the necessary loopholes to evade paying taxes, are in most cases the very wealthy who profit from the government trough of fortune we less fortunate pay into. I guess when deficits verses profit are a struggle, this type of greed seems justified in their selfish minds. There is no government in the U.S. for the people, by the people, it’s now been reduced to be just another corporate logo catch phrase.

    • May 7, 2017 at 21:00

      Agreed …Trump is going to do to this country exactly what he has done to his businesses…he and the swamp buddies steal all the money out of it…and bankrupt it…He will say any lie to get u to sign on the dotted line…and then screw u to death…The billionaires will steal the last remaining trillions, that are left, from this country…and leave an unfunded Fed govt and toss all burdens onto the states….the states will go bankrupt from it…The billionaires go live in the Meditteranean and leave the Great Bankruptcy to the American citizens to live thru and pay for…

  11. tina
    May 6, 2017 at 22:58

    Here is the good news. At least Donald j Trump and Steve Bannon were honest, in the way that both of them stated their intent is to blow up everything we thought was good, worth defending, Well, so far they are succeeding, Trump and Bannon have created chaos, mistrust, cult of personality, Buy Ivanka’s stuff, no health care for you losers, One Massive Ordnance Air Blast/ bomb AKa MOAB, mother of all bombs, one air strike in Syria, millions of dollars to Trump’s resorts, Wow, Mrs. Clinton would have caused a war? Please explain the logic behind “Killary”,”Shillary’, “Cankles”, Yeah, today we might be discussing Clinton’s shortcomings, but we would not discuss the insanity of Donald J Trump.

    • mike k
      May 7, 2017 at 10:40

      So Hillary is the lesser evil? We should settle for that? There was another lady running that wasn’t evil at all in my book.

  12. backwardsevolution
    May 6, 2017 at 19:28

    LJ – I think that Trump is finding out that everyone – EVERYONE – has been bought. Even if he wanted to change the system (which I believe he does), his hands are tied.

    It’s going to take the people to stand up and start shouting. Without their help, Trump can do nothing. Look at how he got slapped down over Russia. Sealing off the borders? Forget about it. If Trump does any good at all, it might be that people will finally come to realize that there is absolutely no one on their side, no one looking out for them, that their democracy is a sham.

    I truly believe that Trump did want to drain the swamp. It’s just that it’s a very big and powerful swamp, full of the worst type of people, and it’s going to take the people to bring it down. Trump is only one man. He can’t do it by himself.

    • Sam F
      May 7, 2017 at 08:21

      Yes, but if he had had any intention at all of doing the job, he would have had the organization to replace the swamp denizens, and he did not. So apparently he intended to merely delegate to TPTB anyway, mere capitulation, or is a complete fool who assumed that they would do as he ordered.

      • mike k
        May 7, 2017 at 10:42

        Trump has repopulated the swamp with the biggest reptiles he could find, some of them even worse than he is – and that takes some doing!

  13. Andoheb
    May 6, 2017 at 19:06

    A single payer health model not doable until soaring costs are brought under control. US health care may be worst for patients of any advanced economy, but medical sector incomes higher than anywhere else.

    • Sam F
      May 7, 2017 at 08:18

      Clearly cost regulation is the result of singlepayer, not the other way around.

      • mike k
        May 7, 2017 at 10:46

        As if putting the insurance companies between us and our health care was cheaper?! The insurance companies are the wealthiest corporations in America. And that is why we will never have universal health care if they can help it.

        • Ol' Hippy
          May 7, 2017 at 19:00

          Simply; follow the money and see who profits and who pays. We average citizens pay and the rich, corporations and people, profit.

  14. LJ
    May 6, 2017 at 17:38

    Trump appears to a rank amateur when it comes to policy . it is difficult to discern if there is any method to his madness. he is ineffectual so far that is certain. Yesterday he coarsely blurted out the truth again . The USA has the worst and most expensive health care in the developed world. This has been researched and the results have been published at the UN and elsewhere. It is a matter of analysis . Strictly numbers and fact. But our politicians embrace the failure of their governance on this issue and talk down the success of all other National Health Care models because apparently the American way is superior even when it falls short and fails outright. Even when it’s obvious that they sell out the American People to moneyed special interests they talk proud and dismiss the fact that ours is the worst Health Care Model in the developed world’s ( Cuba’s is rated the best by the way ) So be it , I guThis caused Bernie Sanders to laugh. Trump favors Single Payer systems. He wants a world where you can have your cake eat it too and still be skinny. How quickly we forget Hillary’s and for that matter Pelosi’s position on the ACA and our Health Care system. Trump would like to see a better system. I would too. I don’t think Hillary or Pelosi want to see a better system. They appreciate the staus quo after all , it’s their baby. Is it Ironic or Misogynistic to comment on such things.? I’m not pleased with Trump, not on Health Care , not on North Korea, basically not anywhere but like what he said about rapprochement with Russia: of course it makes sense to reform healthy care and develop a system that is more cost efficient and more effective but it isn’t going to happen is it? The two parties won’t let it.

  15. mike k
    May 6, 2017 at 16:22

    Cuba with it’s limited GDP makes our health care system look as sick as it actually is. Michael Moore’s movie Sicko should be required viewing for every American.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 6, 2017 at 17:27

      I don’t think it matters, because I have come to the belief that we Americans like getting ripped off for that’s our idea of the American way.

      • mike k
        May 7, 2017 at 10:49

        We don’t like it Joe; it’s just that we are not even aware of it. How to waken these sleepers remains our core problem. Ignorance can be lethal.

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 7, 2017 at 12:08

          Excuse my attitude. I agree the American people do need awake up call, and yet the media who should serve to this duty of responsible reporting is nowhere to be found.

          I also find many in our country who for some reason reject a one payer healthcare system possibly out of their fear of a single payer system would be a gateway to a socialized society. Once again I attribute this fear to a news media who only presents the views of the very system who we should overturn.

          I would welcome a Medicare for all, not just as a citizen, but also as an employer who would more than welcome hiring employees who would already be covered under a universal healthcare system. I can only dream of the day whereas my company would not be responsible to pick a plan for my employees, and allow our business to concentrate on the core business that allows us to profit from.

          So when I sarcastically stated how Americans must like getting ripped off, I was only pointing out how many, far too many Americans vote against their own interest.

          You mike K show compassion with your written words, and with that I can’t argue…we need more people such as yourself to walk amongst us. Joe

  16. mike k
    May 6, 2017 at 14:11

    We can pray that the Repubs have just shot themselves in the foot with a poisoned arrow, which will take them down in the midterms. The short term gains from their insurance lobbyists will turn into long term pain when the public really wakes up to what they tried to perpetrate against all of us – except the very rich, of course.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 6, 2017 at 15:27

      The short term gains from their insurance lobbyists will turn into long term pain when the public really wakes up to what they tried to perpetrate against all of us

      Some among the public are finally waking up as GOP town halls are revealing, but the next elections are not until November 2018. That is 18 months and well beyond the attention span of many Americans.

      • Vietvet 68
        May 6, 2017 at 16:00

        If the Senate and House can come to an agreement in the next 3-4 months and pass this monstrosity…by the time of the 2018 elections the voters should be feeling the disasterous results … enough time for them to see what the GOPers have done to them..and kick the morons out.

        • Brad Owen
          May 7, 2017 at 08:13

          Yeah, but I worry they’ll just be replaced with Dems who will reinstate lousy Obamacare (minus a few of its better features…for a “compromise” dontcha know) and start a regime-change war somewhere for good measure, maybe send NATO into Ukraine to shore up the NAZI regime there, to protect them against the “evil Putin”.
          When brand R rapid, quick-fire austerities doesn’t sell, then it’s time for slow-drip, brand D austerities. The point is maintaining austerities. Those 25 Dynastic Families mentioned in the article “return of the Monarchs” from the EIR search box, probably have determined, through their underlings’ Bilderberger meetings, that the cheapest, most effective way to reduce population (war is a great disappointment to them,in this respect) is the denial of amenities such as healthcare, medicine, clean water, etc… and Americans, as “traitors to the Crown” are grouped with “those people” of the former colonies (Uknow, of the “wrong color”) that are slated for drastic population reduction, to get down to a more manageable (by The Oligarchy) 1 or 2 billion people. Being loyal to the Crown gets you good healthcare as found in Australia and Canada, probably NZ too. Turning coat will do you no good, as we are to be made an example of, to all of those who might be considering a betrayal of the Crown. This is just historically what the Crown does.

          • mike k
            May 7, 2017 at 10:52

            Population reduction is not all a scheme by the elites. There are good reasons to cut back on our reproductive activities, just as many of our habits need to be scaled back. Small can be beautiful.

          • Brad Owen
            May 8, 2017 at 07:11

            Mike K: what you say is true, but I would reverse the order; Among the many good reasons for regulating population are hidden some nefarious reasons, held by very powerful and malign interests, for reducing population, using the well-intended ones for cover. And the powerful will be steering policy, not the well-intended ones

  17. Bill Bodden
    May 6, 2017 at 13:23

    If the Democrats don’t immediately start playing Trump’s statement on a constant video loop between now and November 2018, they’ve lost the will to live.

    The Democrats’ Obamacare isn’t all that great falling very short of single-payer or Medicare for All, but it will let them claim to be the lesser evil in this instance.

    Now that it is blatantly obvious that Evil reigns in the White House and in Congress will the sleepwalkers among the American people finally wake up? Or, are the masses so morally neutered they will accept this grotesque display of inhumanity in the service of avarice as business as usual?

    Obama was right. We are an exceptional nation. That is, when compared with most of the industrialized nations with civilized and humane health care systems.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 6, 2017 at 14:23

      Your words Bill are more than sufficient to describe what plaques America to no end, and that is our American public is easily duped when it comes to a socialized medical system. When the radio talk show jockeys get their conversation going the caller in audience always announces their fear of a one payer system, as though Stalin and Mao are going to be standing guard over the hospital ER entrance, and you will need to goose step as your medical exam begins.

      If I had my way I would not only have single payer healthcare I would go on to bring about a subsidized utility system as well. I don’t see anything wrong with having a hybrid system of socialized basic needs mixed with a capitalist business environment. I mean after all what would you call bailing out banks, or funding a new Walmart store? Funny how when it is the Fortune 500 it’s a bailout, and when it’s the citizenry it’s an entitlement.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 6, 2017 at 15:23

        Your words Bill are more than sufficient to describe what plaques America to no end, and that is our American public is easily duped when it comes to a socialized medical system.

        Joe: I recall a segment on a TV news program when Obamacare was being promoted. A reporter explained one option to a person he was interviewing. You’ll get better care. Your premiums will go down. Your taxes will go up slightly, but the final result will mean you will be getting better care and will have lower expenses. The man being interviewed got upset when it came to the tax part and said he didn’t want his taxes raised. The reporter explained again his total out-of-pocket expenses would be reduced to a lower amount than current. The interviewee retorted, “I don’t care. I don’t want my taxes to go up.” How can we deal with people like that?

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 6, 2017 at 15:34

          I sell to a company in Canada who is a carbon copy of our business. We did a side by side evaluation of our expenses, and once finished we Americans pay 30% over what a Canadian citizen pays to live on. My Canadian friend told me how he like many of his other Canadian citizens can’t figure our for the life of them why we Americans like getting raked across the coals. He even said why not raise gasoline by a dollar, and let that pay for our American healthcare? I replied, because we Americans don’t want to be a bunch of commies, and he laughed….I was joking on my behalf, but I know I don’t speak for all Americans either. Let’s face it, we Americans are lost in the wilderness of life.

          • Ol' Hippy
            May 7, 2017 at 18:51

            Most older Americans, such as myself, have been brainwashed by all sorts of things starting with public schools, that ‘socialized’ means ‘evil’ or worse. And with the neoliberal economics over the last 4-5 decades we ‘have’ to have ‘choice’ in choosing various endeavors, healthcare being the latest example. A single payer system is really the only way to go but the lawmakers have to make sure their buddies get their share of profit and give citizens ‘choice’. No wonder the system’s broken beyond repair. We need better.

    • Libby
      May 7, 2017 at 13:47

      You hit the nail on the head. It strikes me, after spending half of my life in Europe, that our ‘conservatives’ are, or have become, something very different from ‘traditional conservatism’; i.e.until the domination of Neoliberalism everywhere ‘conservative’ carried over something of the old ‘aristocratic ideals’, where ‘noblesse oblige’ meant that privilege ‘obligates’, or is synonymous with ‘duty’: the duty to protect the weak, including all the people in time of war; to serve justice and the common good, and to be willing to die in service. It came with honor codes, oaths of fealty and self-sacrifice. Single payer healthcare was passed in Europe -and in most of the world -nearly unanimously, over decades ago.

      US ‘conservatives’ know nothing of this. ‘Conservatives’ here conserve nothing: they represent bared self-interest, profit over people and and an economy of consumption; along with now, dishonesty, vulgarity and lies. In other words, it has eliminated higher values, principles, virtues and, finally, authentic Christian teachings. We have a counterfeit conservatism, and a counterfeit democracy. If we define ‘evil’ as the ‘absence of compassion’, we have put it in power. If we define it as the ‘power of illusion’, we would say the same. Finally, in the context of healthcare particularly, it has been noted that ‘evil’ is ‘live’ spelled backwards.

      You said it: “Now that it is blatantly obvious that Evil reigns in the White House and in Congress will the sleepwalkers among the American people finally wake up? Or, are the masses so morally neutered they will accept this grotesque display of inhumanity in the service of avarice as business as usual?”

      • Peppermint
        May 8, 2017 at 18:12

        ‘ You said it: “Now that it is blatantly obvious that Evil reigns in the White House and in Congress will the sleepwalkers among the American people finally wake up? Or, are the masses so morally neutered they will accept this grotesque display of inhumanity in the service of avarice as business as usual?” ‘

        Methinks both of you know the answer to that, which is why the situation is so painful. This culture is predicated on superficial desires, combined with an “I got mine” attitude, and a healthy dose of wannabe mentality. The political system in this country preys on those desires. The citizenry (using that term loosely) just elected a @reality tv star for pete’s sake! Most adults in this country are enamored with the gaudy ^capitalistic “lifestyle,” albeit ignoring the pain of continuously running like mindless gerbils on a wheel. They cannot think logically. Nor can they spot hucksters; see ^.

        Many people believe (all evidence to the contrary) that they, too, will be rich one day. Nevermind the fact that you have-metaphorically- an infected absess that needs immediate lancing, and will kill you well before the opportunity to reach those “riches.” Forget the pain. Reach, reach! Money rules. And look: The Donald! Evidence of the self-made man ; )

        How many people do you think are even aware of this web-site? Last night I turned on, for the first time in a couple of years, one of the major network channels, to see what was there. Un*be*liev*able. This is how people spend their time, watching this sh**. Talk about grotesque displays…garbage in, garbage out. See @ above.

        Humanity is disappointing for sure.

  18. Bart in Virginia
    May 6, 2017 at 13:16

    “The guiding philosophy of many in Washington is that a dollar that is in the pocket of a poor or middle-class person is a dollar that could be in the pocket of a rich person.”

    – Dean Baker

    • Guillotine
      May 7, 2017 at 11:04

      Exactly! This is the ruling guide to our “owners”. Time for pitchforks!

  19. Bill Bodden
    May 6, 2017 at 13:07

    The fact is, few Republicans have even read the bill.

    They didn’t need to read the bill. The insurance and health care (sic) lobbyists who fund their reelection campaigns with legal bribes explained to them all they needed to know.

    • Wm. Boyce
      May 7, 2017 at 12:09

      Actually, the health insurance industry is scared shitless by these happy white men who so gleefully steal for the rich at the possible demise of the insurance cos. that are doing so well with Obamacare. Sure, in some places they lose money, but the ACA guaranteed their existence instead of ending all the profit-taking with single-payer health insurance.

      If the Dems aren’t able to capitalize on that picture of rich white men smiling after shitting on the American people, we truly are in trouble.

  20. Bill Bodden
    May 6, 2017 at 13:02

    “Trump basked in adulation as lawmakers heaped praise on him,”

    Why, when I read those words did the puppets surrounding North Korea dictator Kim, Jong-Un come to mind?

    • mike k
      May 6, 2017 at 14:26

      Whenever I think of North Korea and it’s leader, I remember the acts of unspeakable evil that the United States of America committed against them. Two or three million citizens killed, many more badly injured. Fire bombings burning alive hundreds of thousands. Every city and even small village obliterated. I have to reflect that for most of my younger years, all I knew of this country was told to me by those who did this awful thing to millions of their fellow Beings. I ask myself – can these monsters be counted on to tell me the truth?

      • Exiled off mainstreet
        May 7, 2017 at 19:18

        I concur. This is an accurate statement of the history. Meanwhile, North Korea here is merely being used as a foil for defenders of a failed system.

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