Folks, we’ve been selling health care all wrong. And the hangover from this party is going to suck for a very long time.

Since the GOP health bill’s spectacular and hilarious crash and burn, I’ve read lots of celebratory pieces about the strength of Obamacare and the power of compassion over greed.

A President.
I’m sorry, but if you’re drunk on champagne right now, setting TRUMP yardsigns on fire and wearing the neighbor’s cat on your head, you’ve tragically misinterpreted the facts.

Our appeals about the the urgent need for health care is a moral win.

But it wasn’t us who stopped this process in its tracks. It was members of the Freedom Caucus, who not only opposed the use of tax credits in this bill, but oppose federal funding for ANY health program — or social services, period.

To be clear: This bill wasn’t killed because it was cruel. It was killed because it wasn’t cruel ENOUGH.

The “tiny splinter group” President Dwight Eisenhower dismissed as “negligible (in number) … and stupid” has evolved since 1954.  Today, they have the Cabinet, the Speaker’s chair, Congress, and the offices of elected officials nationwide.

(Who knows whether the POTUS  even has a coherent political ideology. But he picked the people.)

Citizens angry about The Way Things Are have jumped on board, as has the Conservative Christian extension of the Reagan Revolution.

They believe it’s immoral (if not illegal) for the Federal Government to fund health care, period. They favor ending Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; some, Disability, Unemployment, and food stamps. And our Secretary of Health agrees.

In their crosshairs are virtually every institution that once provided the US the highest standard of living in the world.

They say the answer’s in the free market, but no other nation trusts the market to provide for its citizens’ needs.

They’re a minority but an exceptionally loud, organized and powerful one. It’s suicidal to pretend they’re a few kooks.

Another President.
Mr. Trump has said, more than once, that Obamacare should be left to explode so the Democrats could be blamed. (A collapse of the health system would kill many Americans — but whatever.)

It doesn’t matter that Obamacare isn’t in a “death spiral” at all. The spiral is already being imposed from outside.

In February, the IRS stopped inquiring filers about their insurance. The mandate that funds the ACA no longer penalizes people for disregarding it …so it’s not really a mandate anymore.

Advertising for ACA enrollment periods has been discontinued.

Another President.
 And there’s an ongoing appeal to a lawsuit, brought by the House, arguing the legality of subsidies. Of course, the appeal began during Obama’s term. So.

The ACA contains lots of health and safety regulations to enforce. They can’t be erased, but can be rewritten.

There are countless things within the Administrstion’s purview that can be altered, while leaving the ACA “in place” yet functionally absent.

It would take more effort to “fix” Obamacare than to wait for the

Another President.
“explosion.” An industry shock to push out more insurance companies would serve nicely.

Remember the public outcry to overturn Obamacare resulted from high premiums and deductibles  in some areas. There’s still nothing in place to contain health care costs.

Moreover, the insurance industry came on board only after a Mandate was guaranteed and their profits estimated. Then, 31 GOP states refused the extension and exchanges. There are only 50 states!

Would partial participation by more than half the country lower insurance industry profits? And what do insurance companies do

Another President. 
when they want higher profits? Raise premiums and deductibles.

It’s clear to me the GOP set out to sabotage the ACA from Day One, yet has never been called out on it. Why on earth should we trust them to “fix” it now?

I don’t have an answer to this unholy mess. I only know two things:

1) Health care may not be a Constitutional right, but it’s a moral one; it also benefits a nation economically. And

2) The time of emotional appeals om behalf of the elderly, children, disabled, and poor is over. Seriously.

This new amalgamation of Conservative / Libertarian/Nationalist / Christian / Caucasian / Bootstrappers is also Eugenic (indirectly, but literally). They’re likely to see damage to vulnerable populations as a benefit, not a problem.

Frankly, I’m now coming around to the belief that Progressives have fucked up in trying to sell the benefits of ANY universal health care system by attempting appeal to the angels of our better nature.

● We’ve asked the wealthy to feel guilty they’re not doing more to help the poor.

● We’ve portrayed the poor as powerless victims who need a powerful  government to give them health care and brush their teeth.

● We’ve extolled the success of every other modern nation in solving this problem and making their citizens happier than we are.

Guess what. Shame does not work. Guilt does not work. Rich people don’t really give a shit

Another President. 
about poor people.

This is the time to slay the myth that a socialist model for social programs is antithetical to Freedom, Democracy, or Capitalism.

How could this be done? By revealing the fact that most of the “most Capitalist” nations in the world have wide safety nets.  

They also have more social mobility and  financial stability than we have. In other words, DOING WHAT OTHER NATIONS DO WOULD GIVE THESE FOLKS MORE OF WHAT THEY SAY THEY WANT.

So if you’re poor, disabled, elderly, a child of low-income parents, an ethnic or religious minority, or gay or trans … I realize you’ve been thrown under the bus all your life. But I’m about to throw you under the bus again (and climb under there with you, because I’m one of you).

Listen: This Administration does not give a single fuck about you. No Administration ever has, but this Administration gives NEGATIVE fucks about you.  

And a pretty large percentage of the American public gives even FEWER fucks about you.

The fight to save the ACA temporarily until we can move to a universal system can’t  be about our pathetic selves anymore. It has to be about them.

So we have to shut up about being sick and cold and hungry. We’re only making things worse.

You see, it’s not Obamacare that’s ready to explode, but the entire, unsustainable American health care system. At some point people won’t get care whether they have money or not.

Universal care is business-friendly and pro-entrepreneutal. It would relieve employers of the cost and responsibility of providing employee benefits.


Another President.
t would stimulate the economy by allowing more people to strike out on their own, to found their own companies and follow the American Dream.

There are plenty of Conservative arguments in favor of universal care, including the fact that taxpayers would no longer foot the bill for all the problems that arise from those who aren’t insured.

To hell with the poor and the frail. To hell with trying to make the rich feel guilty. This is about personal and fiscal responsibility. Let’s do it.

I’ll join y’all under the bus in a minute. Let me just grab another bottle of champagne.

This President.
~Teresa Bryan Peneguy

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