Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gingrich Now Cheerleading Radical Right-Wing Social Engineering

I was willing to give Newt Gingrich some substantial credit for foreseeing the electoral problems that Ryan's Folly would walk the GOP through. Last week when Mr. Gingrich came out against the "radical" plan to remove medicare coverage and replace it with an annual check to insurance companies, it seemed like the sane political move. After all, Americans have about as much taste for "right-wing social engineering" as they do for using the metric system. The public resentment of Ryan's Folly was evident in the Republican forfeiture of a traditionally very conservative upstate New York congressional seat yesterday, in a race that revolved primarily around Medicare.

So you can imagine my surprise that after Newt Gingrich was proven right that Ryan's Folly is a Randian-phantasm too far for the American public, he flip flops and comes out with support for the disastrous Republican budget. In his letter today to the Republican House caucus, who pursued a lemming-like plunge in its unanimous April vote to end Medicare, Newt Gingrich pledged his support (and epistemic closure) to the House Republicans:
“Paul Ryan and the House Republicans are trying to save Medicare in a period of enormous economic and fiscal difficulties,” Gingrich wrote to lawmakers after the GOP suffered a loss in a special election in upstate New York Tuesday night. “THE ROAD AHEAD: CHEERFULLY KEEP TELLING THE TRUTH.”
That'll work- cheerfully keep telling Americans that a single-payer system like Medicare can be replaced by sending checks to insurance companies without serious losses in coverage, decreased efficiency, and skyrocketing debt for individual families.

The larger Republican vision for health care: "Repeal and Replace" would also remove the Affordable Care Act's protections against insurance company policies of simply declining coverage to pad corporate profits. Republicans would allow HMOs to discriminate against patients who present higher-than-average risk. Ryan's Folly would send a check to your insurance company, but only after removing the guarantees in the Affordable Care Act that companies would have to accept you as an insured patient.

If Republicans continue to "cheerfully" go down this road to removing the basic protections for the sick and elderly embedded in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, Americans will increasingly become aware that they are completely out of touch with the financial, health, and political realities. Gingrich has realized that the party he created has swerved out of control; to win its base, he is forced to ignore all political reality and take the plunge with the leader-less House Republicans.

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