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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/19/13

It's their Ideology, Stupid. Or it's their Stupid ideology. Take Your Pick.

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Politics get real personal when you or your loved ones are being affected by government decisions. Take the case of Senator Portman who recently changed his position on gay marriage because his son came out. Well, despite the criticisms, I completely understand his change of heart. I have my concerns too.

Although I'm annoyed by many Republican political personalities, it's their ideology that I find so offensive. Specifically, I'm an anti-Republican for some pretty personal reasons.

I'm retired and depend on Medicare for my healthcare needs. I also purchase additional insurance to cover what Medicare doesn't--but it's the major portion of my coverage. The Republicans want to put in a voucher system that would raise my costs considerably. Why would I want to support that? And please don't tell me that we can't afford it. If we simply allowed Medicare to negotiate volume discounts with big Pharma like the VA does, we could probably eliminate enough cost to keep it viable forever. (By the way, the prohibition of negotiations was a gift to the pharmaceutical industry from the Bush II Administration.)

Then there's the Social Security question. The confusion created by the Republicans on this issue is ridiculous. This from John Boehner: "We do not have an immediate debt crisis. But we all know that we have one looming. And we have--one looming--because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They're gonna go bankrupt. Washington has responsibility--to our seniors and our near seniors--that we firm up these programs so that they're there for the long term. Because if we don't do it, not only will they not get benefits, we will have a debt crisis right around the corner. We have time to solve our problems. But we need to do it now."

First off, Social Security is not an entitlement program. Secondly, the system is funded until 2033. It seems to me that we have enough time to make the adjustments necessary to keep it working without reflexively making monstrous budget cuts to other essential programs, 66 percent of which will affect the low and middle income classes. But Republicans have been trying to get rid of government social programs since their inception. I guess this is just more of their "same Ol, same Ol".

Now they have a new target: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or, in the vernacular, Obamacare. What amazes me is the extreme religious right leads the charge to get rid of this program. How they can reconcile Christ's messages of love and compassion and their political stance on this issue is beyond me.

In spite of all the disinformation about it, I think the ACA doesn't go far enough. Let me explain my personal reasons. I have three grandsons who have pre-existing conditions that would make it impossible for them to get health insurance without the ACA when they become adults. Two have Cystic Fibrosis and one has type I diabetes. (And for the cynical, the latter is not overweight. He is an active athlete. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can affect anyone.)

My youngest son, the father of the two mentioned above, has Cystic Fibrosis too, and I remember the fear that settled in my gut when he was hospitalized all those many times. Fortunately, I had insurance provided by my employer. But when I went on my own to start my consulting career, losing insurance coverage for him frightened me almost as much as his condition.

So I personally know the fear and pain of having a child with serious health problems. I don't know how dark the future would look if you faced mounting medical bills with no insurance while your child's life is at risk. This problem shouldn't exist in a wealthy country like ours.

You see, the real question for us as a modern country is not whether we can afford to provide the safety nets that other countries do. We have more than enough resources to match any of those programs. It has more to do with a disagreement about government's role in creating a well-fed, well-housed, well-educated and healthy citizenry. I say that meeting these goals unarguably makes for a more successful society. The Republicans have proven time and again they will say no.

Folks, it's mainly the Republican ideology that makes some of their personalities seem so unlikable. Others, though, like some Democrats too, are simply unlikable--regardless of their ideology.

Robert DeFilippis      

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Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published eight books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)

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