Saturday, July 5, 2014

The political right's fanatical desire to bar low-income Americans from preventative health care

(The description for this photo reads: "WPA Traveling Health Clinic of the Board of Health, NY City, shown in consultation and fitting glasses for patients at 74 West 124st Street." Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

A lawsuit that threatens to derail the Affordable Care Act will soon be ruled upon by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit has its genesis, of course, in right-wing circles. And if the lawsuit is successful it will, of course, hurt low-income Americans.

The moral & opinion leaders of the political right have shown that they will not rest until all low-income Americans remain uninsured. Indeed, such insurance goes against their survival-of-the-fittest, free market fanaticism. In their view, if you don't have health insurance because you don't make enough money, it's because you're too lazy or too dumb to deserve it (or you weren't lucky enough to be born into wealth). This is why a Republican official in Arizona called low-income Americans "lazy pigs," why Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scoffed at the idea that low-income Americans had a right to food and medical care, and why Republican-managed states have refused to extend Medicaid to their low-income residents--despite the fact that the federal government will pay 100% of the cost for the first few years and 90% thereafter.

The right-wing argues that charity and the "free market" will handle our health care problems better than the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that charity and the "free market" have never adequately handled these problems.

Some on the political right will bypass the free market and charity arguments, and simply say that we, as a nation, can't afford to insure and care for the less fortunate. At the same time they are making this argument, we read how corporations are hoarding record profits overseas, how thousands of wealthy Americans are hiding money in foreign bank accounts (helping to deprive the U.S. of $300 billion in tax revenue every year), how we spend almost as much as every other nation combined on national defense & military ventures, how we run the largest prison-industrial complex in the world, and how billionaires like the Koch brothers keep adding billions to their personal fortunes. It is surreal to have, on the one hand, someone whispering in your ear, "we can't afford it," while, on the other hand, you see a mix of greed and white collar crime slinking off with hundreds of billion of dollars.

(Unlike today's political right, which belittles the value of (or need for) preventative health care for low-income Americans, New Deal policymakers encouraged all Americans to get their health checked before serious problems developed; they even provided traveling clinics to facilitate health check-ups for those of limited means. WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

(WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

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