After to years of looking incredibly like Inspector Clouseau while they obstructed themselves while they had total control of the government, the GOP in the House has gone back to the more familiar and comfortable position of obstructing Democrats instead. But there seems to be something a itte bit reckless about their obstruction this time, almost like they’ve lost their mojo, at least in the House.
Republicans in both chambers ran like a scalded cat when Traitor Tot announced his latest foray into the Tattoine wasteland of healthcare.The Republicans took a severe wookie stomp in 2018 in the House, largely from Democrats running on the issue of healthcare. If there’s one issue that the GOP desperately wants so far off of the table that it’s in the dumpster outside the kitchen door in the alley, it’s the issue of healthcare.
It was reported yesterday that a couple of House Republicans had taken what could well turn out to be a rather risky step. In response to a letter from the Democratic chair of their committee to Big Pharma companies, requesting their presence at a hearing on prescription drug costs, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a die hard Teabagger with questionable social skills, and terminal myopia where college wrestling team doctors are concerned, sent a letter of his own. In the letter, he warned the pharmaceutical companies of the intentions of the chairman of the committee calling them in, basically telling them they were in for a trip to the wood shed if they showed up. The obvious plan being to try to undercut the chair by enticing the companies to decline to appear voluntarily.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Jim Jordan is in a “safe” Republican district, well enough insulated by gerrymandering to be untouchable. But the simple fact of the matter is that 2018 kind of redefined the meaning of the word “safe” when applied to GOP congressional seats. But healthcare was far and away the #1 issue for voters in 2018, and with the Trump DOJ now backing the lawsuit to try to have the ACA declared unconstitutional, you can pretty well rest assured that it will be right at the top of the issues leader board in 2020 as well.
It has been well documented and reported that the vast majority of Americans don’t even have $400 in savings to cover an unexpected expense. The last time I had health insurance, 4 years ago, my basic prescription co-pay table was $10/25/40. But for “designer” drugs, usually from major pharmaceutical companies, with no generic alternative, the table was $75/150. For a family with a child with a medical condition, that extra $50-125 can be the difference between food on the table and a healthy offspring.
And it isn’t just families with children. These days, the most reliable, although shrinking voting base that the Republicans have is senior citizens. And for frost tops like me, the cost of medications is a matter of critical concern. Leave aside for a moment those older Americans with serious medical conditions. Many healthy senior Americans are healthy because of the medications that they take on a regularly scheduled basis. And the cost of those medications can be the difference between a healthy, satisfying existence, and merely surviving.
I think that the Republicans are calculating with two mis-perceptions here. The first is basic arrogance. The GOP got away with unbridled obstruction for 8 years, while the Democrats basically pouted and bleated “no fair” like good little sheep. But a combination of the power of control of the House, and the attendant committee chairs, along with a new breed of Democrats, ready to stand up for themselves and push back in public, is going to come as an unwelcome surprise to these kindergarten bullies. As is the media attention that their spirited self defense is going to bring. The other faulty perception is their false sense of security in Trump’s high favorability among GOP voters.
But if an aspirational, inspirational presidential candidate like Biden, or Buttigieg, or O’Rourke, or any other candidate who finds the right message, comes into places like Ohio, with a down home, folksy charm, and a strong “dignity of work” message, polling could turn against them quickly. Especially if those candidates, as well as the Democratic opponents to those incumbents, highlight the fact that those incumbents are actually working in concert to keep prescription drug prices high, all hell could break loose.
Far be it from my pay grade to tell these sheep shorn wooly mammoths how to conduct a political campaign. But it seems to me that if you’re going to try to hide from a sensitive subject, especially when you plan is a pea-in-the-shell game of “after the 2020 election” peek-a-boo, the last thing you want to do is to get caught red handed sleeping with the enemy. Especially when the letter can be printed out in a newspaper. Stick a pin in this one, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it.
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