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Miller: Healthcare should be left up to each state

Tiffany Miller
Special to the Tribune
Tiffany Miller

Welcome to America, the land of the government shutdown and the home of the bounced check.

While hundreds of thousands of federal workers wait to get paid and thousands more healthcare workers are laid off, both sides of the political aisle are playing chicken with American lives. Instead of paying our bills, we are turning away World War II veterans from the D-Day memorial on the shores of Normandy because we can’t afford to honor our fallen heroes any longer. Our government has become a selfish teenager who charges everything on daddy’s credit card without any regard for the cost. Meanwhile, our leaders are either too busy negotiating with Iran to negotiate with their own countrymen or too stubborn to see the political suicide they are committing.

Take the virus-infested Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare, for example. The federal government has taken over our futures before, by way of Social Security and Medicare, with disastrous results. Congress has raided and pillaged these funds without regard for the generations of citizens who may never see the fruits of the programs they’ve paid into all of their lives. Do we actually think they’ll do any better the second time around?

No one disputes that an approximate 44 million Americans are uninsured and that our healthcare system needs a major overhaul, but the federal government taking over is the last thing we need. The Democrats continue to point toward England and Canada as proof that universal healthcare can work, but those countries have populations of around 63 million and 37 million respectively. California alone has 38 million people in it and the needs of its population are vastly different than that of the other 49 states. Florida’s 19 million people, for example, includes more than 4 million senior citizens and Mississippi’s population has a whopping 20 percent poverty rate. We are a vast nation with 50 smaller nations’ needs to care for. That’s why the only universal healthcare system that can work is one that functions state by state. To suggest anything else would be like forcing the populations of Mexico, Great Britain, Syria, and Japan to combine in their healthcare systems — and the United States is literally as diverse as that melting pot would create.

The Democrats pretend that they’ve taken this into consideration by allowing states to exempt out of the federal system and create healthcare exchanges of their own. So what happens if all the states with healthier, wealthier citizens opt out and the states with older, sicker, poorer citizens opt in? Expecting the most diverse country in the world to provide universal healthcare is a broken argument that the Democrats believe they’ve won. Well according to the majority of Americans, the Democrats are wrong.

But don’t get too comfortable on your moral high horses, Republicans, because the principles you claim to be standing on may just be your political undoing. I am a lifelong conservative and even I don’t like the GOP right now. The Republicans are running full force into the political minefield the Democrats have laid out for them and the political left is loving every minute of it. Remember, sometimes you have to retreat from battle to win the war. Shutting down the government, and therefore the economies of many communities in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., whose bread and butter come from federal workers, is not the answer. The Affordable Care Act is now law, whether we like it or not, and the only way to fight it is to take back the Senate and White House in the next few rounds of elections. Republicans, scream as loud as you can that you disagree with this law and remind your constituency that you did everything you could to stop it. But if the Affordable Care Act is a success, then shutting down the government for nothing won’t be principled, it will be petty. Either Obamacare will be an unmitigated mess or it will be a triumph for all the uninsured people of our nation. Republicans are just going to have wait in line and see what happens with the rest of us.

Oh, that’s right, if you are a member of Congress then you don’t have to wait in line with the rest of us. Congress has once again used subsidies and exclusions to write themselves out of the new healthcare laws — the very definition of hypocritical. Ask yourselves this, America: If Obamacare is so wonderful, then why is Congress scared to take a dose of their own medicine?

— Tiffany Miller is a Tahoe resident and mother. Visit her website at http://mycrayonbox.org.


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