A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

13 January 2018 — 0134 mst

President Trump’s loathsome immigration comments divert
spotlight from his administration’s sabotage of Medicaid

President Trump’s reprehensible characterization of Haiti and other impoverished, low quality of life, black, nations in equatorial latitudes has drawn condemnation across the political spectrum as a racist attack on black people. Although he used his pejorative adjective to modify the word “countries,” not people, the context of his diatribe leaves no doubt he was describing people, not nations, and asserting that white people are superior to black people. That’s the classic definition of racism. His unpresidential comment rightly brought opprobrium on himself and his nation.

Unfortunately, his comment on immigration also diverted many progressives from a far more important development: his administration’s endorsement of a work requirement for allegedly able-bodied recipients of Medicaid, followed immediately by an approval of Kentucky’s scheme for kicking tens of thousands out of Medicaid:

Under its plan, Kentucky will also require many adults who aren’t elderly or disabled to pay premiums of $1 to $15 a month, depending on their income. And it will disenroll people from Medicaid for up to six months if they fail to report changes in income or work status. Those who qualified for Medicaid under the Obamacare expansion will also have to “earn” dental and vision benefits, which they have been able to access freely until now, through activities like taking a financial literacy course or getting a GED.

The Bevin administration has estimated that the plan will result in 100,000 fewer Medicaid recipients after five years and save $2.4 billion, mostly in federal Medicaid funds. But Mr. Bevin couched the policy change as a moral rather than a fiscal decision, saying he did not care about the savings and saw it as an opportunity for Kentucky’s poor “not to be put into a dead-end entitlement trap but rather to be given a path forward and upward so they can do for themselves.” [Highlighting added.]

A similar plan will be proposed in Montana if Steve Bullock is replaced by a Republican governor in 2020, and Trump is re-elected because Democrats again nominate a weak candidate and run another divisive identity politics campaign.

Racism, and racial discrimination, are blights on humanity that must be opposed. But they are not the most important issues confronting our nation. Health care is. Progressives must save as many components of the Affordable Care Act as possible while working to replace the ACA, which is better than nothing but much worse than what is needed and possible, with an everyone covered for everything, zero copay, federal single-payer system financed by progressive taxes.

Health care is a human right, and it must be recognized as a legal right, as a constitutional right, that’s conferred on people through their membership in a society. That’s why, in a contested primary, I will not vote for a Democrat who does not enthusiastically embrace a single-payer health care system; or for a Democrat who thinks racism and racial discrimination are more important than health care.

President Trump’s abhorrent comment on immigration is beyond the pale. But what really makes me see red is progressives chasing after the wild hare of politically incorrect speech instead of relentlessly pursuing the path to single-payer health care.