The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 17, 2014

Could be funny, except it's infuriating

— A few months ago I wrote a letter to the editor crowing about Obamacare, and how I was finally going to be able to afford health care insurance because of its provisions. I caught a lot of flak from my conservative friends for that letter, because they were sure that I hadn’t been able to actually enroll due to all the problems with the website. Well, they were right — I wrote my letter to score some political points before I’d been to the website, which was indeed impossible to use.

Still, I didn’t feel too bad, because I was pretty sure the basic thrust of my letter was true — with my income and dependents, I was finally going to be able to afford a little peace of mind. I recently completed the ACA enrollment process and do you know what the outcome was? “Based on the information you provided, the new federal health care law provides that you could be eligible for free or low cost health care through Medicaid. However, the state of PA has chosen not to offer you this new health care coverage at this time.”

So, because the state government (Republican governor and Republican majorities in the House and Senate) doesn’t want the federal government to provide any kind of social safety net for poor or unlucky people, it refused federal dollars (which you’ve already paid, by the way — it’s just going to other states now) to expand Medicaid. Meaning that you’re still out of luck in Pennsylvania if you fall into the gap between the truly destitute and the middle class. All of us working poor people who are just scraping by get a big, fat nothing from our state, just because Republicans want to score political style points.

Let’s see: I man up and admit I told a lie in order to score political points; no one gets hurt; but I catch all kinds of flak for my fib.

Pennsylvania’s Republican governor tells a whole string of lies to score political points; lots of us get badly hurt; and he throws a childish tantrum about being fed up with the Feds. It would be funny if it wasn’t so infuriating.

What is the end game here? We’re getting close to a point where there is no “common good” — it is simply and brutally “every man for himself.” Is that what we want? Civil war between the haves and have-nots? Over health care? At what point do I say, “You’re threatening my family,” and turn to vigilantism? “Don’t step on me” is an old theme in America, and it is as pertinent today as it ever was.

Although I am stung with disappointment and worry, I am also disgusted at the pathetic, miserly and hateful world view that has brought us to this point. And although I may suffer personally, I am perfectly confident that in the long run this brutal politics of class warfare will fail.

Trey Casimir,


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