Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Intra-Party Bickering: Republicans Prepare to Challenge Health Insurance Bill

teabaggers against health care

The Republican vultures are already gathering to swoop in:

Move to Repeal Healthcare Will Come Next Week
Republicans in the US House of Representatives plan to pass a bill next week to repeal President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the US healthcare system, a senior party aide said on Monday, but the effort is widely expected to fail in the Senate.

The new Congress will convene on Wednesday with Republicans in control of the House after November’s midterm elections. They are set to move ahead with their campaign promise to try to rescind the new healthcare law, one of Obama’s signature legislative victories. …

“Obamacare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs,” Dayspring said.

Interesting choice of words, terming “Obamacare” a job “killer” – given that lack of access to health care kills untold thousands each year. But I digress.

The Republican fascination with dismantling the health insurance industry bailout (a.k.a. “health care reform”) is somewhat perplexing. The insurance companies, by and large, have to be quite pleased with the health care bill, since it delivered some 45 million new customers into their pockets. What company can you think of that would honestly be miffed by a government mandate requiring people to use their product?

I suspect the problem has to do with the tiny bits of progress that were actually passed with the bill – namely, that insurance companies could not deny individuals with preexisting conditions, and they could not charge extortionate rates (though defining “extortionate” is a a game in relativity). So it seems likely that the Republican attack on health care reform will target precisely these aspects.

It is doubtful the mandate requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance will be revoked – this is far too juicy a morsel for the Party’s corporate paymasters to give up. We are much more likely to see a revocation – or at the very least a severe weakening – of the bill’s ability to limit price-gouging by insurance companies. People with preexisting conditions might be allowed to buy insurance, but they will undoubtedly be charged absurd rates to do so. If it is determined that even with such extortionate rates people with chronic illnesses will present a loss of revenue, expect the bill requiring insurers to cover all Americans to be revoked soon after.

I have to admit at first sight it is hard to reconcile the observation that the Republicans and Democrats are closely related branches of the same corporatist Party with the Republican’s strong public aversion for “Obamacare.” After all, if both parties are beholden to the same corporate interests, wouldn’t the Republican’s support Obama’s giveaway to the insurance industry? But on closer examination, two relevant points take shape.

First, as noted by Chomsky and others, the Republicans and Democrats can be seen as representing different segments of the corporate elite. Although there is much overlap, the differences between the two parties can be attributed to the different interests and goals within the corporatocracy itself. Clearly, a significant segment of the corporate elite supported Obama’s health insurance industry bailout – otherwise, it would not have passed in the first place. The Republican’s apparently staunch opposition to the bill indicates that at least some segments of the corporatocracy – and it’s generally the most conservative segments that support the Republicans – did not approve of certain parts of the bill.

However, given that both parties represent the interests of the corporatocracy, and that there is very little divergence between those interests, it is still more practical to think of the parties in terms of one unified corporatist Party. Seen in this light, the squabbling between the Republicans and Democrats can be thought of as a kind of internal deliberation – it certainly has no connection with the interests of ordinary Americans.

Second, the absurdly vocal attacks by the ultra-right against the extremely conservative health care package are an incredibly effective distraction. By screaming about the gross misconduct of Democrats and the dangerous expansion of federal power (all bogus claims, of course), the Republicans are able to focus the attention of Americans away from issues that really matter.

Obama’s health care plan sucked donkey balls, and in some respects the Republicans are correct in saying so. However, they are criticizing the plan for all the wrong reasons, flinging out an endless stream of patently false accusations. These accusations serve to confuse the American public, and draw them away from the issues of the day that truly matter.

It may seem truly pathetic that Americans are so easily manipulated, but that’s just the way it is.

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