Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crunch Time


The Los Angeles Times finally got around to pointing out the appalling Republican hypocrisy when it comes to caring for the first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

After the tragedy, Republicans went around extolling the courage and selflessness of those first on the scene and commending those who were given the task of cleaning up the horrific mess. "9/11!" became the battle cry for an ill-conceived war in Afghanistan, for building a stupid fence across the border with Mexico, for the obliteration of our civil rights. Now, when those who were stricken with severe injuries or devastating lung conditions while performing their duties under the most trying of conditions, the Republicans say we can't afford it, and besides the Senate has more important business to tend to.

Congressional Republicans are coming under growing criticism for their opposition to a bill that would provide medical care for Sept. 11 attack responders and survivors, including ailing police officers and firefighters.

As advocates press for Senate approval, Republican resistance to the measure has grown increasingly untenable.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the GOP fashioned itself as the party that celebrated the heroism of the Sept. 11 workers, but now is seen by many as stalling the healthcare of last resort. ...

The Rev. Stephan Petrovic of Ohio, a chaplain who tended to the dead and dying at the World Trade Center and who now is in hospice care, does not expect to see another Christmas. Petrovic, his voice barely audible, suffered lung damage that he said resulted from breathing dust at the site following the attack. ...

Many responders and volunteers no longer have insurance as they became disabled from work or have bounced around the workers' compensation system.

"What insurance?" said Petrovic, 59. "Most of us lost our jobs; we couldn't work anywhere. We're sick people."

The "official" excuse peddled by the GOP is that the budget can't handle another "entitlement" program. How odd: it found a way for the budget to handle an "entitlement" program for the wealthy by extending that class's tax cuts.

The real reason for the unholy recalcitrance comes as no surprise.

The cost of the bill would be paid by charging fees on foreign companies that provide goods to the U.S. government and continuing existing visa fees on tourists and companies that hire certain foreign workers.

The Chamber of Commerce has been busy lobbying Congress on the bill, reminding the critters who their real constituents are. Retaining an old fee and imposing a new one just isn't prudent when it comes to who gets to make more money and who goes without health care.

Perhaps we could fund it differently. Perhaps we can take away the overly generous health care insurance plans provided to members of Congress and give it to those who are suffering so. Maybe that would work.

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Blogger PurpleGirl said...

It might be a small amount but we could close the Congressional medical office. Why do they need an on-site infirmary when they also have medical insurance and can get their private care from a private doctor? I've been unemployed for 2 years now and just signed up for Medicaid. I'd really like to see Republicans and blue dog Democrats have to go through the hoops at a public clinic.

12:06 PM  

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