Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Nearing the abyss

Friends, it's raining cats and dogs here in central Kentucky this morning.  Well, not really.  And who came up with that turn of phrase, anyway?

But it IS raining again this morning.  As someone who travels regionally for work, I tell myself how fortunate we are that this is rain and not snow, which tends to paralyze our area.  Easy to say that from inside the house, but when you get doused the first time you have to get out of your car and spend the rest of the day damp or worse, well, you get the idea.

Speaking of plans, it now appears that the Republican plan to "repeal and replace Obamacare" now looks more like a plan to change it to better fit the traditional Republican narrative of tax cuts for those who largely don't need them and making healthcare more difficult to obtain for those in need.  It's telling that the House of Representatives plans a vote a scant two days after the details of this bill were made public, which will not allow proper scoring by governmental agencies.

In the Senate, there are apparently four Republican senators who are already expressing reservations about this law.  I won't get into the specifics of this, but much of what Republicans have decried about  the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, will still exist.  But what's gone and significant in its absence is the requirement that all citizens purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.  Without there being any "musts" for individuals to access the health insurance market, however they would do so, the number of insured people will decline dramatically--one set of estimates I read was between fifteen and twenty million people will be without coverage.

I've also read quite a few treatments on the number of regulations that are being set aside or revised in the current governmental setup.  It's a large number, made more significant by the fact that these regulations cut across so many aspects of American life or business.  The mentally ill will now be better able to purchase a gun.  Golf course operators will not bear any responsibility regarding the quality of bodies of water that flow through their property, and salaried workers who were routinely expected to work many extra hours each week for no additional compensation will again be expected to do exactly that.

There's a systematic effort to undo more regulations, and what's worse, it seems that most of the cabinet secretaries who were nominated and confirmed were selected to help ensure that these regulations went away and in some cases to benefit personally from these changes.

I don't even know what to say about the White House and what's emanating from there via Twitter or third-hand leaked stories, but we can likely be certain that much of it is not accurate.  But as we're seeing, that doesn't seem to matter anymore, at least not to a certain percentage of our fellow citizens.

I know, as you do, that this is far from a perfect country.  Our flaws are too numerous to mention here.  Perhaps we lack a common goal, as we had in working in unity to defeat the Germans and their allies in World War II.  Or the lofty expectation of working to put men on the moon and return them to Earth safely.

I'm naive enough to believe that things can get better.  I also believe that if enough of us want them to improve, they will.  I just hope that there are enough people of like mind that it will come to pass.

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