Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The weight of a bad promise

This article appeared in the Virginian-Pilot, on July 30. They made one change replacing, "They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an ob/gyn clinic, donning rubber gloves and preparing to do what our current president has bragged about doing without gloves." with simply, "They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an ob/gyn clinic.” I kind of expected the change but it would have been interesting to see Republican “Fake news” (the ad) featured alongside the real news (Trump on tape) that he and his supporters would like us to forget.     

THE MOST COMMON defense I’ve heard for the Republican “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” bills, whether they be from Senators or Congressmen, is that they made promises to their constituents and they must keep their word.

President Obama also made a promise—to the country as a whole—to extend health care coverage to everyone, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. He kept that promise. Interestingly, Republicans on the day he was elected promised their base they would have nothing to do with this effort, and on day two and every day afterwards, continued with their “Repeal and Replace” promise.

Republicans warned about death panels. They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an OBGYN clinic. They continually tell us the richest country in the world can’t afford to do what every other country in the world does routinely. They are at a loss as to why drugs costing $70,000 in this country only cost $7,000 in other countries. Worst of all, they appear to seriously believe that money spent on poor, elderly, and sick people can be better spent by millionaires and billionaires.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we promise to deceive.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t go this way. How about this one?  Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them, or if you shouldn’t keep them.

Promises always make life difficult.

I know this from watching Law and Order, the History Channel, and listening in on any interview with any Republican politician on any news show.

The cop shows up at a crime scene, feels remorse for the helpless victim and says something that makes his partner cringe. “Don’t worry ma’am. We’ll get the guy who did this.” He might have the best intention, but he can’t predict the outcome of the case and his partner let’s him know this.

General MacArthur, when driven from the Philippines promised, “I shall return.” Luckily, for him, he was able to keep that promise but it didn’t come about easily and the cost was high.

Then you have the GOP for the last seven years, promising to repeal and replace Obamacare. Unlike the poor cop on the beat, or MacArthur boarding a boat, they didn’t have what you might call honorable intentions. The driving force behind their promise was to stick it to Obama.

“Repeal and replace” has become the holy grail of Republican politics. Every Republican in every state in every district for the last seven years has been running against Obamacare.

How has this ruse paid off? What has it gotten them?

Well, it’s taken a while, a lot of money, and a lot of bad faith promises, but they finally have complete control of the federal government—Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, and a fair share of the state governments. What they are learning, in the words of the titular head of the party, is that health care reform is harder than anyone thought. Repeal and replace is even harder still.

Yet, all we hear from these opportunists is, “We made a promise—to our constituents—and we have to keep that promise.” What their constituents are telling them is, if they replace, “Repeal and replace,” with “We’re going to take away your health insurance,” many of those constituents are prepared to replace their elected officials.

There are good promises and there are bad promises.

If you make a good promise, work hard to achieve it, but eventually fail, people will be mad but they will probably understand. This is the way it was for a long time for politicians trying to extend health care benefits until Obama finally succeeded in doing so.

On the other hand, if you make bad promises, work extra hard, even fanatically hard, to achieve them but keep coming up short, sensible people are going to say maybe you should rethink the original promise.

This is the problem with health care in America. Too many people don’t have coverage. Drugs are too expensive. Pharmaceutical companies are motivated more by making a profit than making people better. So are insurance companies. Scam artists are taking advantage of patients, insurance companies and government agencies to make a crooked buck.

A promise to fix these problems will go a long way to making people forget Republican s have spent the last seven years trying to fulfill a bad promise.     


  1. You are a good writer and I agree with you. Thanks for using your voice. Always happy to find someone new to read!