That’s Very Generous Of You
Well, a week has gone by since I began “hitting back!” I don’t know what I expected, but, somehow, eternal optimist that I am, I come away disappointed at best. The results were underwhelming.
Let’s start at with the “best” of the bunch, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R- TX). At least Senator Hutchison sent me an e-mail reply to my initial comment on the issue of health care. At the end of her lengthy reply, she said that she valued my comment, but there was nothing in the text up to that point that convinced me that she “valued” my comment. In fact, since Mrs. Jack also sent her own individual comment to the Senator’s website and got back the exact same word-for-word reply, I am doubtful that anybody other than a computer program in her office “read” Mrs. Jack’s or my comments. Later, I will go into her reply in more detail so that we can all understand exactly what the Republicans have in mind for us. But for now, I will recount my experiences with my other two “representatives” in Washington.
Senator John Cornyn thanked me “warmly” for my comment in an e-mail acknowledgement entitled: DO NOT REPLY! It promised that the good Senator would send an answer to my comment in the future. Having yet to hear from him in all these many days, I’m not sure which future year I should be expecting that reply. Maybe 2014 when he is up for reelection. I guess it doesn’t matter all that much because from what I heard this morning on State of the Union with John King, Senator Cornyn and the Republicans in Congress are pretty entrenched in their position and won’t be waffling between now and 2014 anyway.
That brings me to my U.S. Representative, Kevin Brady (R-TX). His website thanked me for my comment and offered a check box to sign up for his e-mail newsletter. I checked the box and received a “do-you-really-want-the-newsletter” e-mail telling me to type only the word “ok” in reply to the confirmation request and I would be added to the list. What came back was frightening. I got an e-mail from the Congressman’s office with what looked to be Chinese characters on it interspaced with “unknown command” and “help” in English. In subsequent e-mails I was informed that my request had gone unanswered for over 24, then 48 hours and I should try again. The same weird thing happened again. I hate to assume anything from this strange experience, but I do suspect that, due to my unwillingness to agree 100 percent with Representative Brady’s views on health care, perhaps, just perhaps, he put me on his don’t-waste-your-time-on-this-guy list. Just a thought. Anyway, now, I seem to be caught up in an e-mail Twilight Zone where I receive a daily message from Mr. Brady’s office telling me that my request didn’t go through and to try again. I guess he’s “hitting back.”
That brings me full circle back to Senator Hutchison, who wants to leave Washington behind and become Governor of our State. In her “lengthy” canned reply to my comment requesting a government option for healthcare, she went on and on with what she believes in. It went something like this: I’m a Republican, blah, blah, blah. I’m afraid of big government, blah, blah, blah. You should be afraid of big government, too, blah, blah, blah. Socialism, blah, blah, blah. It may LEAD to government-run health care in the future, blah, blah, blah. We need tort reform, blah, blah, blah. It may drive our good friends the insurance companies out of business, blah, blah, blah. Free enterprise, blah, blah, blah. Be afraid! BE AFRAID! BE VERRRRRRRRY AFRAID! Finally, near the bottom of the text was her generous solution to the entire problem: vouchers for you to buy your own health insurance. It was just wonderful. The government will give you a voucher of $2,000 per person or $5,000 per family to offset those nasty insurance premiums. And due to the huge level of competition in the health insurance market, rates will go down, and everybody will be able to afford to go to the doctor. It will be wonderful and, without the pesky interference of Big Government, the insurance companies will do the right thing and take care of us all, making us all, healthy, happy and free! (Wave flag here.)
The only thing soaring higher than Senator Hutchison’s rhetoric is her oversized Texas high hair wig! So I decided to offer a rebuttal. I wondered if she or an aide would respond to my rebuttal with a different canned message, or actually answer it. Nothing! Not a word has come back from Senator Hutchison’s office since I dared to “question” her plan. I merely pointed out that for Mrs. Jack and myself, since we are past 60 but not yet 65—that is, Medicare eligible—and we both have “pre-existing” conditions, the best quote we got on health insurance for both of us was $1400 per month. Now, let’s see. If we “qualified” as a family, which I’m not sure we do—but we’ll say so for sake of argument—that means our $16,800 per year insurance premium would be offset by $5,000, leaving us a mere $11,800 out of pocket. That would leave us about $4,000 a year to live on. How very generous! Perhaps the delay in Senator Hutchison’s reply to my reply is to allow her time to come up with a ladylike way of saying, “That’s too bad; f**k off!” I don’t know if you’ve ever seen her on TV, but there’s an old Southern expression for women like her: Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Anyway, on with the saga.
Then this morning on State of the Union with John King, I saw the always scary House Minority Leader John Boehner, (R-Ohio). He clearly outlined the Republican plan for health care reform when he said, “We want to ‘fix’ the CURRENT health care system.” Then he added some blah, blah, blah of his own, but in short, he stated that “most Americans” just want the current health care system fixed, not some sort of major overhaul. When pressed about the 47 million Americans without health care insurance, he brushed the question aside and went on with his Republican, “Big Government, blah, blah, blah” argument.
So let’s take a good look at what the Republicans are really offering the American people. They want to give you $2,000 a year to offset your insurance premiums and allow the “current system” to stay in place allowing Big Insurance to do what it pleases, and allowing the costs of health care to continue spiraling into the stratosphere. That is the CURRENT system! That is what the Republicans are offering. What it amounts to is a $2,000 annual tax break to those who can afford to buy their own insurance and nothing for everybody else. Now, that’s reform we can believe in. Oh, that’s right, they aren’t interested in REFORM! The Republicans are only looking out for the interests of Big Insurance and their own political party to keep the hated Obama from doing what he promised the American people he would do: REFORM THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN AMERICA.
Instead of doing anything to help people, the Republicans, as always, are dispersing scare scenarios and citing the burden on “our children and grandchildren.” Of course, those would be the children and grandchildren who survive because they have access to health care. And that would be the really important children of that upper crust portion of the Republican Party who can afford their own Cadillac-quality health care insurance.
I’ve got a better plan for the Republicans, if they don’t want the government involved with health care. Why don’t they demand their overlords, the Health Insurance Companies, do on their own what the Republicans say they will do if we leave them alone? If the Health Insurance Companies are so willing to get rid of those pre-existing condition clauses and let everybody buy their product, and if they’re willing to lift all the bans they have lobbied into place in the States to protect themselves from competition and even losses, why don’t they start TODAY. It would make the need for health care reform moot. But they are not doing that, are they? Just like the banks, they are grabbing while the grabbing is good, threatening to raise premiums in the years prior to the reform measures kicking in, and clamping down even harder on their customers’ rights to access medical care. Yeah, these are nice guys indeed. I trust them. Don’t you? Oh, come on, the Republicans say we can trust their friends, the Insurance Companies. Where’s your faith?
After all we’ve been through during the Republican Revolution, where Big Banks and Big Insurance have taken the best that our country has to offer and have returned nothing, I’ll put my trust in government. At least I can vote against it if I don’t like it.
I’m Jack. I am who I am, and I’m HITTING BACK!
With Liberty and Justice for All!