Here we are again, a replay of Bill Clinton’s 1995-96 government shutdown. The player’s are different only by name. With Democratic President Barrack Obama playing Democratic President Bill Clinton, and Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner playing the 1995 Speaker, Republican Newt Gingrich, history is repeating itself.
In 1995, The Newt Gingrich House played hardball with Bill Clinton. Newt wanted a raise in the cost seniors pay for Medicare to $53.50 and to cancel a scheduled reduction, while Bill wanted to keep the law, as is, which lowered the premiums to $42.50. In addition, other options Newt and his Republican controlled House opted for were limited appeals for death row inmates, make it harder to issue health, safety and environmental regulations, and force a seven year budget. The House wish list dropped solely to the increase in Medicare Part B premiums only. Bill defended seniors and their inability to generate extra money to cover raising expenses. The House allowed the government to shut down. Imagine that, the government shutting down over insurance for the poor or the elderly? Who would have ever thought a civilized nation would try to rule against the safety and health of its people?
Today, in 2013, we are at the same crossroad as we were in 1995-96. Today it isn’t raising premiums on Medicare Part B; it’s about “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The law was ruled constitutionally sound in a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012. Chief Justice John Roberts, the Republican choice for the empty Court seat, crossed party lines and voted with liberal judges: Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Conservatives turned on Roberts for the ruling by saying he was a traitor and wasn’t of sound mind due to his medication for epilepsy. Though, his medical condition was the same when Republicans high fived his placement as a conservative Chief Justice. Roberts, along with judges: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, all conservatives, have Supreme Court control. The Republicans thought the constitutionality of “The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care” would surely be denied. They didn’t see the crossover of Roberts coming.
House Leader Boehner also has a problem with the medical device tax being 2.3 percent that helps fund the “Affordable Health Care Act”. He wants to rid that tax, not from the American people, but from the businesses that make the devices. Heaven forbid, don’t raise a tax on the wealthy. The reality is that tax will get added into the price that will be passed down, eventually, to the consumer and their choice of insurance company.
The Retro-Republicans aren’t protecting the American people as they claim, they are protecting the drug companies and the insurance companies. We are the last leading country to adopt a national healthcare plan. We are behind in medical care just like we are in education. American propaganda tells us we are the greatest, but our medical care falls 45th, beneath Taiwan, and the top care is a tie between France and Japan, both who have national healthcare.
Republican House Leader, Boehner, and his select few, seem to adapt to playground politics. The trouble with this is we are adults, not children on the playground. The American people have been held hostage for a long time by partisan politics. Bills are passed, unknowingly, that harm our health and our freedoms. The checks and balances have done their job on “The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act,” it’s time for the Republicans to have some respect for themselves and the law they claim to serve. This isn’t about the American people. Most people are clueless to anything in “Obamacare” so they just side with the banter of the party that’s pushed the most anti healthcare propaganda. The politicians, above all, know how competitive the insurance and drug companies have become as of today, and that is where their true fight is born.
In both the 1995-96 Clinton/Gingrich government shutdown and the 2013 Obama/Boener shutdown, one this is for sure, it’s about insurance priorities against the people. Would they fight so hard if there weren’t penny pinching billionaires, and trusting people, ignorant to the meaning of “The Affordable Health Care Act,” backing them?
A clean bill means no added wish list from any party. No pork. Shutting down the government over these issues is an embarrassment globally, once again. Will the Retro-Republicans ever tire of embarrassing the nation?
Written By: Pamela Messingham