The Battle, not the War: Some of my more committed readers may remember a Vigil from long, long ago (yesterday) in which I claimed that the Resistance had won a battle in the health care war. I made the claim that because of the combined effect of Republican defections and John McCain being out for eye surgery, Mitch McConnell had suffered a crushing defeat and the BCRA was dead. Remember those halcyon days?
Well, I stand by that statement- mostly. I do believe we achieved a great victory in pushing moderate Republicans away from the BCRA. However, McConnell is under enormous pressure to produce a win for President Trump, and so he’s pushing an even more desperate attempt to get the bill passed. Now, we have an advantage of momentum here; the BCRA is already so crushingly unpopular that the moderate Republican defections he’s suffered may not care what he offers to come back into the fold. But we cannot rest and assume that this momentum is sufficient. As always, call your Senators and demand that they scrap the BCRA in its entirety, regardless of what junk amendments McConnell or anyone else tries to bolt on to it.
Oh, and that whole “repeal without replace” option? The CBO says that it would leave 27,000,000 people without insurance by 2020, and half of all Americans would live in an area in which there is no nongroup coverage to be found at all.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Speaking of Senators and Health Care…: For those who haven’t heard, John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer. He’s currently getting his treatment options presented to him and he hasn’t made any public decisions, but I can imagine that he and his family are going through hell right now. As I sit here typing this, I’m struggling to think of anyone I know whose family hasn’t suffered in some way from cancer; the disease is a shared trauma in our world, and that suffering can serve to unite us.
I think it has the potential to highlight just how fundamental a right health care is. McCain is sick, and so he should receive treatment. Boom. Done. No questions asked. His treatment is going to be world-class because he is a Senator, and he will be able to afford it because the Senate’s health care is taxpayer-funded. Should he better treatment than a private citizen just because he’s a Senator? Of course not. He deserves to be treated to the best of medicine’s ability because he’s a human being who needs help. So too does your father deserve treatment if he is sick, or your mother if she is hurt. We, as a society, should be compassionate enough to understand that health is non-negotiable. We can squabble over this bill or that bill, but health care should be a human right, full stop.
Democrats Need Some Goddamn Principles: Let’s shift gears away from health care for a moment. The Washington Post and ABC recently conducted a poll in which they asked 1,001 registered voters about their voting intentions in the midterms. While an overwhelming majority said they absolutely intended to vote- about 75% of those questioned- the margin by which Democrats are preferred over Republicans is razor thin. Votes specifically in opposition to Trump are only .5% above the margin of error, but half of all those polled say that Trump isn’t a factor in how they vote.
So when are the Democrats going to stop running as a foil to Trump and start running on their own merits? And it’s not like there’s a shortage of issues to run on. Health care, for Christ’s sake! Running on universal health care is an underhand slowball right over the plate, but Democrats are still largely hand-wringing instead of crushing that baby right out of the park. Student debt forgiveness of some kind, and sweeping student loan reform? Boom! You just earned Millennial votes from coast to coast. Here’s a novel idea: turn environmental concerns/climate change worries into a jobs bill. Support that “World War II-style mobilization” to combat climate change by supporting the manufacture of green energy projects here at home. Support the R&D that’ll come up with the next big advancement.
There are so many issues that the Democrats could support, all of which would sweep the Republicans out of the house like a cleansing tidal wave. But they have to have the stones to actually go there, or else they’re going to miss their one and only shot.