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Republicans, Racism and Health Care Reform, Oh My!

Republicans, Racism and Health Care Reform, Oh My!

Writer and lesbian culture guru Diana Cage weighs in on the fight of the century that is health care reform. From town hall meetings to hysterical rightwing talks shows including Rush Limbaugh, the GOP's racism and classism in battling Barack Obama's push for health care for all.

The media is health care reform crazy right now. You can't turn on the news without hearing about it. I'm sure you know why it's such a big deal right now; Obama is trying to make it happen. Reform means change, and people in this country are freaked out by change.

The vitriolic opposition to the current administration seems deeply rooted in racism. We have our first African American president. That's a new thing. That's already a change. Ultimately any reform made during this administration will likely be met with the type of crazy racist resistance that happened during the general election, the tea party demonstrations, and the current health care reform town hall meetings.

Racists seem to believe that racial equality will take something away from them. Racism opposing Obama's policies is rooted in the same fear that causes homophobes to oppose equality for gays. Creating equality doesn't take anything away from anyone; in fact, if you take away infighting and create economic, racial, sexual and gender parity we'd have a stronger nation overall. Think about how much faster we could make good things happen if we were all in solidarity.

But again, creating equality for less privileged Americans requires change. And so many people out there reject new ideas without even taking time to understand them. I don't know if they lack the ability to think critically, or if they're just lazy, but remaining uninformed and believing propaganda spread by legislators who might not have your best interests in mind doesn't seem so smart. We'd all be better off if we took a minute to work through a new idea and decide how it might actually affect us before we reject it.

The GOP doesn't really make a lot of sense these days. Their loudest voice is Rush Limbaugh; he's a never-ending fount of racism, sexism, homophobia and blatant bullshit. It hasn't always been that way, but they lack any other strong voices and no one even knows what their ideology is anymore. A lot of Republican Americans seem to unquestioningly believe what they are told. Probably because their party leaders look and act like them, they aren't offering any new ideas, and their constituents are comfortable with that. The GOP has a neat little system going on right now. They make up crazy bizarre rumors and their followers believe them.

Sadly, many of the folks having violently negative reactions to the idea of reform are the ones that will benefit the most from it. There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance and another 25 million have inadequate insurance. Health insurance has become just too expensive. So expensive that many employers have stopped offering it and many families can't afford to pay for it on their own.

Add to this the fact that people with pre-existing conditions cannot get healthcare at all even if they pay for it. What that means is, if you have no health insurance and then you get, say, cancer, you can't just go out and get some health insurance because insurers know your treatment is going to be very expensive so they won't insure you.

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Obama would like to create a national healthcare system that's government sponsored. We already have this sort of thing in the form of Medicare. Medicare is government-sponsored healthcare for people over 65. Think of Obama's healthcare reform as Medicare for everyone.  The big question is where will the money come from to pay for all this? Obama's answer is to cut the current budget, cut out some of the programs that he thinks are unnecessary or not working and then use that money to sponsor healthcare. He also wants to cut down on the number of tax deductions that super rich people can take.

The tax thing is where he's facing the biggest resistance. Rich people don't like it when you fuck with their money; understandable I guess because that's how they got rich in the first place. And the GOP doesn't like it when you fuck with rich people, because rich people vote for them.

The GOP is throwing out a lot of scare words and tall tales that freak out your average American. One example is the rumor that Obama's plan for healthcare reform includes a plan to kill of your grandma once her health starts to go. They also claim that if you currently have health insurance through your job, your employer will either stop giving it to you or they'll opt to join the public health plan and the quality of your insurance will decline. Grandma certainly isn't getting the Logan's Run treatment, and there's no proof whatsoever that a public healthcare option means that no one will have private insurance anymore.

The Republicans don't really have much of a plan to counter Obama's. They mentioned a few things like tax breaks for people to pay for their own private insurance. Mostly though, they just want him to lose. If Obama's plan succeeds, if any of his plans succeed, they know they stand to lose another term. We have no way of knowing what's going to happen. It's all a cluster fuck at the moment. But with such a large portion of the population uninsured and unable to get medical care when they need it, let's hope something happens soon.



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Diana Cage