Kremer’s Corner: Dumb and dumber

Jerry Kremer

Allow me to test your memory. Which party won the 2018 elections and installed 41 new members into the House of Representatives? Which party campaigned on the issue of saving your healthcare? Which party has made climate change a serious national issue? The answer is obvious. The Democrats control the House for the next two years thanks to their willingness to fight for issues that resonate with the voting public.

We assumed that after taking the worst electoral beating since the 1970s, the Republican Party would figure out that the nation wants solutions, not empty rhetoric. Instead, thanks to their fearless leader, President Donald Trump, we are about to relive the 2018 elections all over again.

It’s hard to imagine narrow-minded elected officials like Vice President Mike Pence urging the president to stay away from endorsing a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Pence may be a rigid right-wing true believer, but he can spot a bad political issue when it looms on the horizon. It was only four months ago when his party took a brutal beating. That experience didn’t stop the president from starting the healthcare debate all over again.

Everyone agrees that America is polarized on a large variety of issues. But every poll shows that no less than 65 percent of Americans want to keep their right to coverage for pre-existing conditions and need to go to sleep knowing that they will have access to a doctor and a hospital in times of illness.

So, let’s presume that the president gets his way and Obamacare is dead in the water. What are the consequences? To start with, 21 million people who either buy health insurance through the marketplace or receive some form of Medicaid coverage will lose it all. On top of that, figure another 12 million low-income adults who have Medicaid will be the losers.

The Affordable Care Act currently provides $874 million in assistance for people with addiction to opioids. What was once an unknown disease is now a plague throughout the country, destroying lives in rural, urban and suburban communities. How many people currently have coverage for pre-existing conditions? The best estimate is that 133 Americans, half of the people under 65, would be disqualified from buying health insurance.

The second topic that will haunt the Republican Party in 2020 and was another major issue in 2018 is climate change. The president can enlist as many so-called scientists as he can find on Fox News to debunk climate change, but it will not stop the avalanche of climate tragedies on almost a daily basis. I don ‘t believe that natural disasters only hurt one political party, but it is ironic that the red states like Iowa, Nebraska, Florida and Texas are taking a brutal beating from Mother Nature.

Not everyone in America is immersed in the issues surrounding climate change, but with each passing day more and more people are asking why are we having so many violent tornados, spectacular flooding, wild fluctuations in temperatures and disaster after disaster? Republican members of the House and Senate can poke fun at climate change and even throw snowballs on the Senate floor, but their constituents are dying and that isn’t a laughing matter.

The release of the Mueller report has captured the attention of political insiders and the media. But without a guaranty of healthcare coverage for all Americans and a debate in the halls of Congress about the causes of climate change, the road ahead will be rockier and rockier. Today’s Republican party reminds me of the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” But it’s up to the Democrats to show how much smarter they are by leading the battle for a better country and winning it.

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