Watch a toddler with one of those shape-sorter toys. He picks up the square block and first tries to put it into the round hole. Then he tries the triangular hole. Finally, he attempts to put the square block into the square hole, but the angle isn’t quite right. What does the toddler do next? It depends on the temperament of the toddler. Watch him closely, for what he does next may give an indication of the person he will become. Some will, at this point, throw the square block across the room in anger, not caring if it bonks his sister or the family dog on the head, and then sit down in a torrent of tears. But another may stop, look at the block, and try, try again until … voila! The square block makes a satisfying ‘clunk’ sound and the mission is accomplished. It is called perseverance, and it is generally a positive attitude, so long as it is accompanied by other traits such as intellect, reason and thought.
However, perseverance without those other traits falls short and can even lead to a destructive outcome. Using the above example, the toddler who is still trying to put the square block into the round hole will never succeed, even if he spends hours trying. This is not what I would refer to as perseverance, but rather a stubborn refusal to admit failure. Rather than admit that the square block does not, and never will, fit into the round hole, he is determined to make it fit. He is destined to fail, but he will not give up until either he runs out of steam or his mom takes the toy away.
Donald Trump is so determined to make his square block of the repeal of ACA fit into the round hole of the country’s need for healthcare that he is not giving up or giving in. What he fails to realize is that he is using the wrong tool. He blames everyone for the failure to repeal ACA – the democrats, the republicans in Congress, the press – but the fault is his own. He is trying to replace what is actually a pretty good program for the citizens of this country with a program that is basically … nothing. And yet, rather than stop, re-think the situation, and come up with a better idea, he keeps trying to shove that odious square block into the round hole.
What’s worse, he is threatening to destroy the entire toy if his square block will not go into the round hole. It is not his fault, it is not the block’s fault, but it must be the fault of the toy, so let’s destroy it. “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Trump tweeted Saturday.
The subsidies, which are not bailouts, totaling about $7 billion a year, help reduce deductibles and copayments for consumers with modest incomes. The Obama administration used its rule-making authority to set direct payments to insurers to help offset these costs. Trump inherited the payment structure, but he also has the power to end them. To do so would be foolish, but … such is the nature of Donald Trump.
Trump and Congress need to understand the flaws in their ‘square block’. The bills that have thus far been put forth in both chambers of Congress, while playing to the Trump agenda, are not in the best interest of the people who voted them into office. They are taking away, rather than giving.
If Trump really wants to see his “repeal and replace” get off the ground, then he needs to understand a few things:
- There are people in this country who, due to circumstances beyond their control, cannot afford to purchase medical insurance. It truly boils down to a choice between medical insurance or food for their children. Given that choice, they will feed their children and die young if needs be.
- Medical costs are out of reach for most of us who do not have insurance. One example I can cite from personal experience: An insulin-dependent’s cost for insulin purchased in the U.S. averages more than $1,500 per month. That is half the average wage of the average worker in the U.S., and 110% of the average Social Security payment for seniors. In Canada, that cost is less than 20% of that in the U.S. In addition, in the U.S., in order to keep a prescription valid, the patient must visit his/her doctor (another $300-$600) every 3 months, whereas in Canada, insulin is considered an essential-to-life medication and does not require a doctor’s prescription. The pharmaceutical industry is in need of an extreme overhaul, but that is a topic for another day.
- Trump is well aware of the estimates that some 22 million people would lose their medical insurance, thus their right to life, under the repeal and replace bill, and some 32 million would lose under the repeal only legislation. Yet he pushes for it only because he cannot stand to think that his predecessor did something good, something that he cannot do. Premiums and deductibles are expected to increase significantly, and states will be allowed to exclude pre-existing conditions and basic health services.
The healthcare bill that failed last week failed for a very simple reason: it is not the healthcare bill that we want, and it is not the healthcare bill that we were promised during his campaign when he said:
- “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
- “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”
- “I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
- “Will have much lower premiums & deductibles while at the same time taking care of pre-existing conditions! Our healthcare plan will lower premiums & deductibles — and be great healthcare!”
- “We will immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare – and nobody can do that like me. We will save $’s and have much better healthcare!”
- “I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!”
Not a single one of those “promises” are kept under either the House bill that was passed in May or the Senate bill that failed last week. This is the reason the bill failed and should continue to fail until such time as a bill is proposed that meets the above “promises”. The only people who will benefit under any of the bills proposed thus far are the morticians! Rather than spend his time ranting on Twitter, Trump needs to set aside the square block and try to find the round one, the one that works.
Donald Trump does not care about his square block, nor about the round hole, nor the toy that provides all this afternoon entertainment. No, what Donald Trump cares about is diminishing and destroying the success of the kids who had the toy before him. For those kids understood what it took to take care of the 300+ million people who call the United States “home”, and … just in case you forgot … the kid who had the toy last was black … an African-American who, in the eyes of Trump and his remaining base, must be demeaned and destroyed in any way possible, even if it costs the lives of thousands, perhaps millions of citizens. The man-child must prove himself superior, no matter the human cost. He must erase the legacy of a president who, while not perfect, was pretty damned good.