24 August 2009

A Letter to the Current RNC Chairperson

Dear Mr. Steele:

I read your article today in the Washington Post about the RNC’s “Health Care Bill of Rights” for seniors. A large portion of the argument you present is that in reforming healthcare (to at least provide a public option for people who otherwise can’t afford healthcare) is that Medicare shouldn’t be touched. Medicare is a socialized medical care program for senior citizens who otherwise can’t afford private insurance.

Please, re-read that last sentence. Or, here, I’ll re-type it: Medicare is a socialized medical care program for senior citizens who otherwise can’t afford private insurance.

Let’s rewind the clock, to say, oh, 1995. The GOP stance during the last Democrat president was the exact same thing being proposed now. Go read this archived article from the NY Times. Note, also, that because of a new “redesign,” the RNC website no longer holds archived material for more specific fact checking. Interesting timing, no? Because the 1995 article quotes Clinton as saying that the Republican’s proposed plan would “…increase premiums and other costs for senior citizens,’ he said. ‘It would reduce doctor choice. It would force many doctors to stop serving seniors altogether. It threatens to put rural hospitals and urban hospitals out of business. Brick by brick, it would dismantle Medicare as we know it.’”

In trying to find details of this 1995 Republican plan, I have come up short. However, did find this nice timeline provided by PBS of the whole issue (though still no links or specifics to the 1995 plan). Highlights of which are:
  • February 1995: “[Republicans] propose reducing more than $250 billion from Medicare and more than $175 billion from Medicaid.”
  • September 21, 1995: “He and other Democrats complain that Republicans intend to force a vote on their plan -- still not fully disclosed--after just a Single day of hearings the following week.”
Surely the RNC isn’t flip-flopping. Because looking at today, you say: “These types of ‘reforms’ don't make sense for the future of an already troubled federal program or for the services it provides that millions of Americans count on.” You’re right, because according to the Medicare website, as of 2008, 45 million Americans counted on Medicare.

At first I figured you didn’t actually see the irony, and then I remembered, in 1995, you were 14 years farther away from retirement. You haven’t served more than 5 years in federal government either, so you and many of your private-citizen cronies at the RNC don’t qualify for the government’s pension plan like the Senators and Representatives. Unlike back then, now you’re staring retirement in the face, aren’t you? Gosh, what would you do if your insurance costs got too high? What if your retirement funds get sucked away by a bout of prostate cancer or a particularly virulent mutation of the swine flu? What if your wife is stricken by osteoporosis or even breast cancer? How on earth would you pay your medical bills?

I could almost justify the switch if the financial issues surrounding Medicare had actually changed over the last 15 years, but alas, it has not, as you yourself point out in calling Medicare “an already troubled federal program.” Could I please request an update of the RNC views on subjects? The U-turns are giving me whiplash.

Oh, and one other minor quibble, might I also suggest a further edit on your new website? On the “Republican Principles” page, the first two principles are stated:
  • “I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.
  • I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.”

You should really amend those to “unless you are not like us, in which case our viewpoints and perspectives trump said dignity, freedom, ability, and responsibility. Most especially with regard to religion, sexuality, marriage, health care, and reproductive issues.”

Completely-Heterosexual-Platonic-Love and Kisses,

1 comment:

  1. The Republican Party is a joke. They want to keep just enough socialism around that they can tolerate. That's why they aren't serious about rolling back the "Great Society" and "New Deal" programs. Basically, they represent the Democrats of 20 years ago.

    Real conservatives (like me) want to completely abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various other immoral, unconstitutional Federal programs. If the Republicans were serious, then they would have a fundamental debate about whether civil government ought to have a place in healthcare at all instead of trying to figure out where to draw the line.