Friday, October 2, 2009

Racism, Corporate Profit, Cynicism Define Republican Amendments to Health Care Reform.

Dana Milbank writes today at the Washington Post about the cynicism, unabashed capitalism, racism and denial of facts that underlie recent Republican amendments to the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform.

Consider Hatch Amendment F-7, which adds "transition relief for the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans for any state with a name that begins with the letter 'U.' " There's only one state that begins with the letter U, and that's Utah, home state of the amendment's sponsor, Sen. Orrin Hatch. He wanted to send a message that the Democrats were being "arbitrary."

Or consider Kyl Amendment D-6 (Modified 2): "An amendment to protect the First Amendment rights of health plans." Kyl, it seems, was concerned that the Medicare authorities had cracked down on Humana, a Medicare contractor, for sending out a letter to its Medicare recipients warning that health-care reform could harm "millions of seniors and disabled individuals."

Milbank gives a truncated run-down of the nearly 300 amendments that he says would "represent a most curious piece of social policy" and are being made in lieu of a full Republican proposal for health care reform. With his tongue in his cheek, Milbank writes,

Some of the Republican amendments are based in principle. Hatch, for example, sponsored an amendment spending $50 million on abstinence education, and another making sure that no money goes to support physician-assisted suicide.

Odd principles, indeed! It's no secret that abstinence education doesn't work and actually increases the rate of STD infection and pregnancy. And physician assisted suicide is only legal in three states at the moment.

It's no secret that Republicans have chosen the path of obstruction over sensical policy-making. Their base has been reduced like a rich sauce to a crazy, overzealous crowd. None of them have the balls to come back to reality. And because the Democrats have a ball problem of their own, the Republicans have been allowed to control the health care reform debate from their factless, racist, capitalist, unrealistic position.

Fifty million uninsured, poor, black, brown, underprivileged, disabled, infant, elderly and terminally ill will pay the proverbial price to the insurance industry. Which is just how the Republicans want it.

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