Republicans take aim at the Affordable Care Act in court

Oral arguments begin today, July 19th, 2019, in the Republican, Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Coverage for 20 million Americans and protections for 134 million people with preexisting conditions hang in the balance.

This graphic tells the story.

But it’s even more than that. The Affordable Care Act ensures access to free birth control, mammograms, and cholesterol tests for millions of families, including those with employer-based insurance. It helps keep Medicare and prescription drug costs down for seniors. It helps hundreds of millions of Americans on a daily basis—and Trump and his Republican allies want to rip it all away:

  • Coverage losses: If this sham lawsuit succeeds and the Affordable Care Act is overturned, an average of 45,600 people in each congressional district would lose their coverage.

  • Higher premiums: This is just the latest attempt by the Trump administration to sabotage our care. Due to their efforts, a typical American family is already paying about $3,000 more for marketplace coverage than they would have otherwise.

  • Hypocrisy: In 2018, Republicans in Congress ran on a promise to protect preexisting conditions. In reality, they voted over and over to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and overturn those protections.

  • Packing the courts: The only reason this lawsuit—which legal experts have condemned—has a chance of succeeding? Trump (with the help of Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans) is packing the courts, including the Supreme Court, with far-right ideologues.

  • We need universal coverage: Even if this lawsuit fails, Trump and Republicans will continue to attack our health care. We have to keep fighting, and we must move toward universal health coverage. Read more about Medicare Extra for All, a progressive plan from the Center for American Progress that would provide universal coverage for all Americans.

Apologize to Trump? We don't think so!

The Mueller report is not yet out so it is misleading for conservatives to cite it, claiming it supports their argument. Attorney General Barr spent one weekend cramming and then pretended that his 4-page letter fully summarized the more than 300-page Mueller report.

Even so, Barr's letter states that the report does not exonerate the President and yet there is loud chorus of "complete exoneration" and "apologize to Trump now".

Yes, dear reader, there is a world out there in which the inhabitants think "not" means complete! Here's the quote from Barr's letter:

The Special Counsel [Mueller] states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Even if Barr tried very hard to make his letter an accurate summation of the Mueller report as opposed to the basis for the Trump 2020 campaign, think of the vast amount of information lost in such a distillation. It's like summarizing the complete works of Shakespeare in a short graphic novel.

We are asked to apologize for suspecting that something was not kosher about a campaign that acted suspiciously, with repeated contacts with Russians, and then lied about those contacts.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from overseeing the Special Counsel because he met twice with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak and then failed to mention those meetings when asked about Russian contacts during his confirmation hearing.

Jared Kushner had to get his father-in-law to pull rank in order to get his security clearance. His initial security clearance form did not mention any foreign contacts so he then had to revise it over and over. His ethics disclosure filings have had to be repeatedly revised and then resubmitted. (It makes one wonder how he got into Harvard.)

Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions that President Barack Obama had just placed on Russia, and about a planned United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements. But when FBI agents interviewed him about all this in January 2017, Flynn lied to them about what his talks with Kislyak entailed, he now admits. 

We could go on, but that's three of the highest ranking members of the Trump administration.

And now we're supposed to apologize for being suspicious? Suspicious behavior is not a crime and Mueller is not charging them regarding their Russian contacts. But having suspicions is not a crime either, and certainly not treasonous as Trump has been claiming it is.

We're not apologizing to Trump; we'd rather apologize for Trump... to the rest of the civilized world.

Republicans, the Party of Lincoln?

Now, when I read someone claiming the mantle of Lincoln for the Republican party, I have to wonder: do you need to go that far back to gain legitimacy on civil rights and have you seen lately have far Republicans are from Abraham Lincoln’s ideals?

It is true that Democrats were the main obstructionists to treating people of color equally for many decades, but a funny thing happened on the way to passing the Civil Rights Act: Lyndon Johnson, knowing that his support for it would doom Democrats chances in the South for at least a generation, went ahead and pushed it through. Then, starting with Richard Nixon, the Republican party gladly stepped in to ally themselves with Southern racists that were once Democrats.

And now today, it is not a Democratic president that couldn’t bring himself to condemn the racists marching in Charlottesville. It was Donald J. Trump who owns the Republican Party and leads it further astray from Lincoln’s ideals.

But it is not Trump alone, other Republicans are working overtime to show they have lost their way. Look at the power grabs being instigated now in Wisconsin and Michigan using North Carolina of 2 years ago as their model—taking away powers from incoming Democrats and dishonoring the voter’s intent.

When Lincoln was an Illinois state legislator, he gave a speech in which he said: "To those who claim omnipotence for the Legislature, and who in the plenitude of their assumed powers are disposed to disregard the Constitution, law, good faith, moral right, and everything else, I have not a word to say.”

I think it is highly disingenuous, if not dishonest for Republicans to call themselves the party of Lincoln.