AHCA is About a Mean Ideology. Tax Cuts are a Bonus.

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/06/ahca-about-racism-classism-not-tax-breaks

The senate version of the AHCA has invoked justifiable criticism from the Democratic party for being less of a “health care” bill and more of a “tax break for the rich” bill. For once, I agree with Donald Trump; it is a “mean” piece of legislation, but that alone is not what this is about. It is once again about that great Republican pastime of suppressing those who are not their wealthy donors. It’s about rigging the system for corporate welfare.

In typical Republican fashion, it will affect poor and middle-class citizens significantly. The lack of access to affordable health care will cause families to have to work longer hours and perhaps even take on more jobs. There is no question that the AHCA will break the average American family. The funds being stripped away from Medicare will leave people without a safety net, without any means to obtain the health care they so desperately need and deserve.

None of this matters to Republicans as they could care less. In their collective mind, they got theirs, figure out how to get yours. A highly hypocritical attitude considering both their leaders (McConnell and Ryan) benefited as children from forms of social welfare as children. Of the handful that are considering voting no on the bill, all but two (Heller and Collins) has stated that the bill did not go far enough in cutting funds. Republican senators writing the bill did not cut programs because they were not affordable. They cut them to give the funding to the wealthy. Because, you know, they need it.

The Uber Rich

It is indisputable that super rich families run the Republican party. Those like the Adelsons, Kochs, DeVos and Waltons are not as interested in tax breaks as average American might think they are. After all, Republicans have ensured their masters have plenty of loop holes and off-shore accounts to protect their income. For families as rich as these, the AHCA tax cut is a small drop in the bucket. It is less than what they spend in any given election season on politicians. It is less than they spend yearly on influencing and buying up our education system, less than they spend with ALEC (the organization that writes legislation for the GOP), the Heritage Foundation, on state and local elections, on judicial elections etc. It’s even less than they spend supporting Christian organizations and non-profit groups that are used to peddle their perverted ideology.

These uber rich families are not in need of a tax break. The Waltons could never sell you another package of diapers or can of Pringles and not only maintain their wealth, but grow it. The same is true of the DeVos’ Amway ventures, Adelson’s Vegas investments and whatever oil and gas product it is that the Koch’s sell to us.

This is the super rich ideology that is rooted in classism and racism. An ideology that Republicans have tied themselves to. It is an insatiable need to maintain dominance, a need to be remembered as more than just the richest of Americans. They desire to be remembered as ideological giants. These families are in a league of their own making. A league that does not include you or me and truthfully, they are a class of people that is not even inclusive of the Trump’s or politicians but merely uses them and religion to achieve their ends.

The thing to remember about these Republicans is that they are, with rare exception, only in it for themselves. What elected leaders like Trump, Ryan, McConnell, Cruz etc. want more than anything is power. They want to be a Koch, a DeVos, an Adelson, but they will never be. They are and always will be a tool for these uber rich families. An easily replicated and replaceable tool.

I would even venture that this is why we are seeing these notoriously private super wealthy people come out and hold public office. Republicans have not moved fast or harsh enough for them and must be whipped into shape.

Republicans Don’t Worry About Voters Holding Them Accountable

Financing of campaigns is not the only control these wealthy families have over elected leaders though. Perhaps an even bigger control mechanism is to threaten NOT to fund them. If Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz suddenly did not do the bidding of their uber rich supporters, they would be immediately cast out into that barren desert of campaign no-man’s land. The Kochs and such would simply fund a contender; something that Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) is facing. The threat of NOT being supported is often times more influential to a politician than being supported.

With Kris Kobach’s Crosscheck kicking minorities off of voter rolls and Republicans’ decades worth of extreme gerrymandering, these politicians need not worry. This is not to mention the real possibility that our voting systems are still compromised by the Russian hacking. So far, only Illinois has admitted that hacking led to voters being kicked off their system. In North Carolina’s heavily minority and blue districts, hacking is thought to have caused the computer database of registered voters to shut down during the 2016 election. This led to poll workers having to check registration by hand, and in turn caused such a delay that many left without casting their votes. Now a report has come out that 1 in 4 African Americans were not allowed to vote in Florida during the election.

So, you see, they are not too concerned about being voted out of office. The bigger threat to their political futures comes from not being funded. Which is why VP Pence met with Koch on Friday, and a group of Republicans met with the brothers this week. Marching orders will be given, and they best obey.

Their Ideology is Based in Racism

Author Nancy MacLean has done a great deal of research on the likes of the Kochs in her book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. In a recent interview by Slates Rebecca Onion, MacLean discusses how the Koch’s main influences were those ideologues who railed against all civil rights issues like voter rights and even universally accepted Supreme Court decisions like Brown vs. Board of Education.

As she explains, the Kochs, DeVos, Waltons and such are not simply trying to get one single person elected. They are trying to change the fundamental institutions that our country has developed. Their end goal is to get rid of all civil rights, government oversight and to suppress minority groups whether we are talking about Gays, Latinx, Blacks, Muslims, women and so on. It should also be noted that she discussed the tactic of flooding one’s opponents with many crises at the same time. Something they are actively doing right now.

This is more than one party having more power than the other. It is more than a difference of opinions. Republicans cannot take health care away from millions and claim they are not prejudiced. Their entire support system that they have rigged our laws for bases its ideology on hatred of the civil rights movement. That is racism, which might explain why so many in the Trump administration have ties to racist organizations.

Yes, the AHCA is “mean.” But more importantly, the Republicans and uber rich families are pushing us to the point of real crises. It is time to look around and find those leaders that will transform this zeitgeist. Support them, prop them up and rage against the machine.


The Health Insurance Republicans Say is Too Good for Ordinary Folks

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/healthcare-insurance-republicans-say-too

Well, Paul Ryan and his ganon of leeches, House Republicans, finally did it. They finally passed a healthcare bill that sufficiently rips off Americans while giving insurance companies’ CEOs millions in tax breaks, alongside folks making more than $200,000 in personal income..

Zombie-like, GOP Representatives didn’t even bother to read the bill. All Paul Ryan had to do was wave those big, juicy amendments in front of their mean little hateful faces and suddenly Republicans got in line and chanted “Aye.”

Contrary to what Republicans are saying in front of the cameras, their plan will not save you money, help you to get better coverage or keep insurance companies from discriminating against you and your family for preexisting conditions.

What the AHCA Means for You

According to a New York Times article published today, the Republican AHCA bill will actually do the following:

  1. Poor people will have to pay much more for their healthcare because of reduced subsidies.
  2. Middle age Americans and seniors will be paying much, much more. One estimate is that those 50 and older will pay up to 5 times their current costs under Obamacare.
  3. Republican states are likely to waive the rules keeping insurance companies from charging more for pre-existing conditions and for Medicaid expanded services. This will cut assistance to mental health care and substance abuse care.
  4. Defunds Planned Parenthood for a year. No subsidies will be given to policies that help cover abortions.
  5. Gives those earning over $200,000 a tax break by eliminating a 0.9% increase on Medicaid payroll taxes and a 3.8% tax on investment income totaling $300 billion.
  6. Eliminates the tax penalty for not having health insurance.
  7. Large employers will no longer have to offer health plans to their employees or offer employer contributions.
  8. Medicaid is to be cut by $880 billion (over 10 years). This will kick millions off Medicaid.

Healthcare for Congress Only

Whether you are on AHCA or not, the changes Republicans are proposing should this flaming, stinking pile of a bill pass the Senate will affect every American, except, possibly, those who shoveled onto Americans in the first place. (See note below)

Plans exclusively offered to Congress and their staff are tiered as bronze, silver, gold and platinum. In order to get employer contribution benefits, they must purchase at least a gold tier plan of which there are 57 choices. Gold plans pay on average 80% of medical costs.

Their plan mandates employer contributions. That means Ryan and his gang have 72-75% of their premiums paid by their employer-YOU! If Ryan’s healthcare plan is $1,500 a month for him and his family, we pay $1,080 – $1,125 for his healthcare. Ryan only pays $375-$420 per month for some of the best healthcare insurance in the world.

Congress’ healthcare plans can only increase premiums based on age. Premiums do not increase for preexisting conditions, gender, geography or even for smokers. Your governor may choose to waive the rules under the AHCA and allow insurance companies to charge you more based on the fact that you have survived breast cancer or because your child has autism, but your representatives in Congress and their staffs may not be affected by that decision.

Additionally, Congress and their staff in D.C.can pay a flat fee of $611 a year to use the Office of the Attending Physician as their general practitioner. These visits are limitless and include:

  1. laboratory services such as blood and urine tests
  2. x-rays
  3. physical therapy
  4. electrocardiographic services
  5. 24 hour assistance referrals
  6. allergy and flu shots immunizations
  7. specialists are brought in at no charge to members

As their employer, we are paying for that too! Republicans are hypocrites in so many ways but none is as egregious as this. They claim government healthcare is not good for Americans. Healthcare should be privatized for more options they say. But when it comes to their healthcare, they love government healthcare. They love their Attending Physician benefits provided by our taxpayer money. They adore that they only pay roughly 25% of their premiums and 20% of other medical costs. They don’t worry about preexisting conditions or their governors removing protections, because it doesn’t apply to them. Government healthcare is great for Congress and they have plenty of choices.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or whatever, this is a subject that affects us all. Republican lawmakers have chosen their path. Be sure to remember this when you vote in 2018.

Ed. Note: Yesterday the House reluctantly and nominally agreed that if the travesty called the AHCA somehow becomes the law of the land, Congress should have to be subject to it, too, which means it will never become the law of the land. It’s entirely too cruel for the snowflakes in Congress.