Thursday, September 21, 2017

Up for Sale

Raymond Chandler’s famous detective, Phillip Marlowe, once said of a small town he visited on a case, “… It’s probably no crookeder than Los Angeles.  But you can only buy a piece of a big city. You buy a small town like this all complete, with the original box and tissue paper.”  The same can be said of big countries and small states.  That is exactly what is going on in the Senate right now. 

Under the Graham-Cassidy bill large sums of money would be transferred from Blue states that opted for the Medicaid expansion to Red states that didn’t. Senator Cassidy has been sniveling for sometime about the “unfairness” of states like California and New York receiving more funding under the ACA’s Medicare expansion then Louisiana and Nevada. It seems to escape the notice of Cassidy that the Red states in question had as much opportunity to accept the expansion as Blue states. They refused. The funds transferred to the Red states would, in theory, provide a much reduced version of healthcare benefits to the citizens.  The distribution of the money would be left up to the states.

There are many names for this kind of thing.  Bribery would be one, cajoling Red states Senators to vote yes on this abomination of a bill. That is what is in the works with Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.  It has worked with Dean Heller of Nevada.  Another word could be a chisel, meaning a cheat or a con.  Many people, your author included, believe that the cuts in ACA funding will eventual end up in the pockets of the wealthy by way of tax cuts be they in Red states or Blue. 

Raymond Chandler’s idea of crooked is as good as any.  Crooks ferment corruption. He was an expert on corruption, studying it in the Los Angeles of the 1930’s. It was a dark theme running through his stories.  Phillip Marlowe was driven and isolated by a need to battle corruption endlessly.  So, “crooked” works.  The whole damn thing known as Graham-Cassidy is crooked; not because they have lied about it, they have; not because they lie for a living, they do; but because it is not about health care or public policy or serving their constituents. No, it is about scoring a win for their donors and the man in the White House.

Consider the cynicism, the selfishness, the crudity and cruelty that it takes to throw millions of Americans off of the ACA and risk their lives, limbs and solvency to put a win on the political scoreboard. Think about what it means to have such people running the country. And think about the fact that if after all of this nightmare is said and done, whether this bill passes or not, if we haven’t been shaken out of our apathy than we deserve exactly what we get.

Chris Carter said, through his character Fox Mulder, “Liars don’t fear the truth if there are enough liars.” However, that was 15 years ago.  It was before social media replaced the 4th Estate as the glaring light that intrudes into dark chambers and deep holes to expose the secrets of those who prefer to work without light. It was before people like Rachel Maddow and NPR started obtaining any bill under consideration with a few key strokes or through carefully cultivated sources and exposing them to the light.  So, while liars don’t fear the truth if there are enough liars, they certainly must fear the truth when there is more light than liars.