A “survival of the fittest” budget

Irv Randolph | 4/23/2017, 9:04 a.m.
In their health care plan, budget proposals and policies, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are sending a message about ...
Irv Randolph

In their health care plan, budget proposals and policies, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are sending a message about what kind of society they want.

Their message - Government is the problem and privatization is the answer for almost everything except for the military.

This is clearly reflected in their approach to health care.

The GOP is pushing long-promised legislation, strongly supported by Trump, to dismantle Barack Obama's health care law with a conservative plan estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that would result in 14 million fewer people having health insurance in 2018 with the number of uninsured rising to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026.

The Republican plan would replace income-based subsidies Obama provided with tax credits based more on age, and insurers would charge higher premiums for customers who drop coverage for over two months.

The extra billions the federal government sent to states to expand Medicaid would phase out, and spending on the entire program would be capped at per-patient limits. The plan would repeal about $600 billion in tax boosts that Obama's statute imposed on wealthy Americans and others to finance the health care overhaul. Under the GOP proposal, insurers could charge older customers five times more than younger ones instead of the current 3-1 limit.

This is bad plan that would hurt millions.

But Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), a member of the GOP Doctors, says the real problem is that poor people take health care for granted.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’ ” Marshall said in response to a question about Medicaid, which expanded under Obamacare to more than 30 states. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” the poor, including the homeless, “just don’t want health care.”

Congressman Jason Chaffetz R-Utah was equally insulting to Americans when he said low-income Americans may have to choose between buying iPhones or health care.

The same regressive view was revealed when Trump outlined a budget proposal last month that provided a big boost in military spending and major cuts in education, environmental, housing and social programs.

The Trump budget will slash more than $6 billion in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and eliminate community development grants which support a wide range of urban-renewal projects.

Trump also proposes to eliminate money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the national endowments for arts and humanities and more than a dozen other independent agencies financed by the government.

The biggest winner in the budget proposal is the Pentagon. Trump proposes a 10 percent increase in the massive defense budget, adding $52 billion in military spending in one year to expand personnel, equipment and capability. Another $2 billion would go to nuclear weapons.

Homeland Security would get $2.8 billion more, a 6.8% increase. Most of the increase, $2.6 billion, would be used to begin building the border wall. Trump also wants an extra $1.5 billion for more immigration jails and deportations, and $314 million to hire 1,500 immigration enforcement and border patrol agents.