The 'Triple Evils' Of Republican Health Care Reform—Ryan, Price, Mulvaney
Decades ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke about the triple evils in society—poverty, racism and militarism. These three things still exist and continue to feed off of one another, but this week three more evils emerged. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan; Secretary of Health And Human Services (HHS), Tom Price; and Director of the Office of Management And Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney recently embarked on a tour to spread Step One of their evil health care plan. Shameless lying about an Obamacare death spiral is to be expected from these three, but the callous response to their health care bill's impact on the elderly and poor is shocking.
With a little preparation, Ryan, Price and Mulvaney hit the media circuit and boy did their true colors shine through. Ryan continued in his persona of the cocky politician staying true to his conservative principles. Price adopted the role of the all-knowing physician giving the uniformed a hard dose of medicine on the evils of government "interference" in health care. And Mulvaney, serving as Trump's representative, is just hard to watch.
The one and only good thing about the introduction of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), is that it totally destroyed Paul Ryan's (fabricated) reputation as a brilliant policy wonk. Ryan's contribution to the AHCA is ideological and administrative. Ideologically, Ryan does not believe in taxing rich people and does not like entitlement programs. Consequently, questions about the tax cut for the wealthy and the gutting of Medicaid elicit smirks and God-awful responses from Ryan, including these gems from his interviews with radio host, Hugh Hewitt and Fox News' Tucker Carlson, respectively:
“But we always know, you’re never going to win a coverage beauty contest when it’s free market versus government mandates.” Ryan's response is reminiscent of remarks made by former Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, when he rolled out his Obamacare repeal plan:
"whatever amounts of money conservatives were willing to allocate to address a problem, Democrats would always be willing to spend more, so conservatives cannot get into a bidding war." And, “I think it's a mistake if we measure health care reform in terms of how many people we give cards to.”
But Ryan wasn't done being a jerk, this is what he said when called out by Carlson for eliminating an investment income tax on the richest Americans as part of his reform reconciliation bill, "I'm not that concerned about it because we said we were going to repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and this was one of the Obamacare taxes."
And concerning millions of people potentially losing Medicaid coverage, Ryan has expressed absolute giddiness about the billions of dollars in federal savings and the prospect of de-federalizing Medicaid once and for all.
With Paul Ryan, you get an ideology without a soul.
Tom Price, Preserver of the Doctor-Patient Relationship And Access Proponent
Tom Price is first and foremost a businessman. His business was orthopedic surgery before he became a politician. Orthopedic surgeons are one of the highest paid medical professionals in the country. Dr. Price's views on health care are simple and harken back to the time before health insurance, public and private. Price doesn't like anyone to stand in the way of doctors making money. All financial intermediaries are a threat. These intermediaries include insurance companies that force doctors to offer discounts for their services and fill out paperwork that prevents them from seeing more patients and making more money. It also includes government, federal and state, mandates and other regulations that limit reimbursements to doctors.
If it were up to Price, there would be no laws governing medical practices, including laws on safety and efficacy of care. Doctors could never be sued or harshly disciplined even for committing fatal errors.
Dr. Price wants to go back to the days when patients paid doctors directly. He hates employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP. He hates all of these programs because they don't pay the full price of medical care. Price is in favor in allowing doctors to balance bill Medicare patients instead of accepting the Medicare allowed price as payment in full. And he's trying his best to convince the country that Medicaid is a disaster not worth saving.
Tom Price's deception does not stop with Medicaid, this week he claimed that Americans would not be "worse off from a healthcare standpoint." A sentiment that is as meaningless and cold as saying people will have access to health care.
With Tom Price, you get greed without conscience.
Mick Mulvaney, Government Spending Cheapskate
Mick Mulvaney is as stingy with government money as he is with his own. Yes, Mick's the guy who did not pay FICA, federal and state unemployment taxes from 2000 to 2004 for an employee working in his home. He should never have been confirmed by the Senate to work in the Administration, but I digress.
Mick's motivation is to cut government spending no matter what the harm. The idea of taking other people's money to pay for government programs that he deems ineffective seems to offend him personally. And Mick will say just about anything to make his point, including discrediting the job of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), lying about Medicaid expansion and making false claims about the cost of Obamacare plans, using himself as an example.
Ultimately, Mick's role in the Republican health care reform rollout is to convince Americans that the country is in dire financial shape and we have to cut our budget by making tough decisions, including leaving people without health insurance. As Mick stated, "insurance is not the end goal, here." He followed that nonsensical statement up with an equally harsh picture of the role of government:
“You're only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place.”
Mick wasn't talking about health care when he made this statement, but it gives you a clear idea of his worldview—efficiency, as defined by him, over compassion.
With Mick Mulvaney, you get the illusion of government efficiency with a dash of meanness.
All politicians are hypocrites at some time, but that alone does not make them bad people. Paul Ryan, Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney are bad people because they value money over morality.