I am more than a little annoyed with the Republican candidates for president right now.
The other night I was watching (listening, actually, how much attention does this merit?) to one of their usually hilarious debates, when a lady from the audience asked a question. To paraphrase (because the rise in my blood pressure at the time rules out an exact quote):
"I lost my job, and - as a result - no longer have health insurance. What will you - as president of this country - do to help people like me?"
A good question. A legitimate question. A question that is on the minds of every un-/under-employed person in this country.
And, in spite of all their constant bellowing about Obamacare, not one of them answered the question.
Oh, they tried. Some of their lines of reasoning:
- If you had a job, you'd have health care, so it's all about jobs;
- Health care used to cost a lot less, before that pesky federal goverment started regulating it;
- Health care problems? Not in my state;
- "Obamacare" is bad, and I'm going to save you from it.
To which I say:
- One of the main reasons we don't have jobs is that employers don't want to pay for health care benefits. And even if we have a job with a health care benefit, employers aren't giving it away for free. If we have anything less than an executive salary, what's taken out of our paycheck for health care doesn't leave us enough to live on;
- Yeah, "take two aspirin and call me in the morning" is certainly much cheaper than anything we got going on today. And who needs teeth?
- Oh, really? Maybe that's because you have Obamacare;
- I don't even know what Obamacare is any more. Apparently it's a sort of thralldom to the state which, taken to it's logical conclusions, would involve death panels.
Like not being able to afford to go to a doctor isn't a kind of death panel.
So, apparently, this lady is left with three choices: Pay for her doctor visits with her own money (which she doesn't have and wouldn't be able to afford it even if she did), go on public aid (that pesky government getting involved again), or just pray that she - or her family, if any - doesn't get sick.
You see my annoyance.
So, listen up, Republicans. I'm being the voice of underemployed middle-America here:
In spite of the yahoos in attendance at all of your debates, cheering lustily at every reference you make to repealing the President's health care plan (do you pay them? or do large numbers of really stupid people just drop in spontaneously?), the rest of us simply want the problem to be fixed. We don't give a damn if it's called Obamacare, Hillarycare, Newtcare, Jim-Bobcare, or whatnot. We just want to be able to take our kids to the doctor.
Clear enough? The very least you guys could do is pay one of your speechwriters to write something that makes it sounds like you understand the issue.
President Obama did.