There are a lot of reasons Republicans should not be in charge of healthcare policy, like: Not believing that healthcare is a right; prioritizing corporate profits over people's health and very lives; not regarding abortion (and, in many cases, even contraception) as basic parts of healthcare. As but a few examples.
Over the past few days, Republican men in particular have been showing their asses on healthcare policy, demonstrating exactly why they cannot and should not be entrusted to decide healthcare policy for anyone.
First, there was Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, saying: "Americans have choices. And they've gotta make a choice. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they wanna go spend hundreds of dollars of that, maybe they should invest it in their own healthcare."
Then, there was Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, invoking that old chestnut about how everyone can get healthcare at emergency rooms. As though a federal law mandating emergency treatment is a solution for terminal disease. Or chronic illness. Or disability. Or preventative care.
Then, there was White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refusing to answer how many people would be covered (or lose coverage) under the Republican healthcare proposal, and instead deflecting to commentary about access, as if how many people have (or don't have) health insurance isn't a key part of the access issue.
Then, there was Speaker Paul Ryan, the intellectual [sic] leader of the GOP, revealing he does not understand and/or does not care how insurance works at the most fundamental level.
Paul Ryan says insurance can't work if healthy must pay more to subsidize the sick. But this is exactly what happens in every employer plan.— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) March 9, 2017
Then, there was Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois demanding to know why men should have to pay for prenatal healthcare coverage.
Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania: I'd just like to say to our friend from Oklahoma: None of us think this bill is perfect. I've never heard a single Democrat say that this bill was perfect. We knew that it needed work, and we wanted for the last seven years to work with Republicans to try to improve this bill. You guys weren't very interested in that. I'm not sure what the gentleman is talking about when he talks about mandates. What mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with? Certainly not with preexisting conditions, or caps on benefits, or letting your child stay on the policy to 26. So I'm curious, what is it we're mandating—And then there was Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas, who incredibly argued that poor people "just don't want health care and aren't going to take care of themselves."
Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois: Will the gentleman yield?
Doyle: Yeah, sure.
Shimkus: What about men having to purchase prenatal care? [Doyle stutters in disbelief; murmurs throughout the chamber] I'm just— Is that not correct?
Doyle: Ah, ah, reclaiming my time!
Shimkus: Should they?!
Doyle: Reclaiming my time! There's no such thing as ala carte— [call for order] There's no such thing as ala carte insurance, John. You don't, you don't get a list and say, "Gimme that."
Shimkus: That's the point! That's the point! We want the consumer to be able to go to the insurance market and be able to negotiate on a plan—
Doyle: You tell— Reclaiming my time! [call for order] You tell me what insurance company will do that. There isn't a single insurance company in the world that does that, John. So you're talking about something that doesn't exist!
In response to a question about Medicaid expansion, Marshall said:
"Just like Jesus said, 'The poor will always be with us,'" he said. "There is a group of people that just don't want health care and aren't going to take care of themselves."Echoes of Mitt Romney's 47 percent of people refuse to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives" comments. It was ignorant, indecent rubbish then, and it's ignorant, indecent rubbish now.
Pressed on that point, Marshall shrugged.
"Just, like, homeless people. …I think just morally, spiritually, socially, [some people] just don't want health care," he said. "The Medicaid population, which is [on] a free credit card, as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I'm not judging, I'm just saying socially that's where they are. So there's a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [into] the ER."
And finally, of course, there was Donald Trump, skipping out on promoting his party's healthcare proposal, and instead just tweeting: "Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!"
And in the sense that there's a chance it could end in a photo of him at a desk, signing a piece of garbage legislation, I suppose it could end in a picture. But given that it would be a picture of a cruel man signing people's death sentences, it would hardly be a beautiful one, as far as I'm concerned. Leave it to Trump to describe the endgame of this horror show in terms of optics, whether he meant so literally or figuratively.
I just don't know how much more evidence any person could need that the Republican Party is catastrophically unfit to be tasked with healthcare policy. They have zero credibility—and, more importantly, they have zero compassion.
Healthcare policy that does not center compassion is healthcare policy not worth consideration.