November 4, 1995 was a warm fall day in Northeast Ohio. I was driving to Kidron to talk to some Amish craftsmen about a dining room table. I remember the day because that was when the news broke that Art Modell was moving the Browns to Baltimore. That next day, when I chaperoned a group of Cub Scouts to the game, was my last as a Browns fan. We have heard any number of reasons why The Move was necessary. But one excuse, briefly floated, was that the move would be good for the City of Cleveland, too.
We are witness to any number of self-serving actions that are sold to us as being good for everyone, perhaps even better for us than the obvious beneficiary. These actions might have financial benefits. These actions might have political benefits. Of course, sometimes the benefits are strictly entertainment, such as watching some politicians now trying to weasel out of their actions and votes over the last eight years.
Turn on the TV and marvel at the advertisements from Republican candidates for both State of Ohio offices and seats in Congress. Sure, they were voting to eliminate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) last year with its guarantee of coverage for preexisting conditions. And no, there were never any alternatives that provided the same assurance that insurance, our method of accessing and paying for health care, would be available to anyone, regardless of health. But that is ancient history. Every one of them now supports coverage for preexisting conditions. Honest. Just don’t ask how.
This dissembling starts at the top. It was, after all, President Trump who said, “I will always fight for, and always protect, patients with pre-existing conditions” as his Attorney General Jeff Sessions argues that rules mandating the insuring of people with preexisting conditions and the guaranteed access to coverage are not constitutional. The cynicism of the last eight years has been taken to its illogical extreme.
Congressmen who were campaigning and fundraising last year on their personal mission to eliminate Obamacare are now running as the champions of the chronically ill and infirmed. I won’t link you to the commercials. And this is not an Ohio phenomenon. You can find this level of hypocrisy across the country. Some of the very same Attorney Generals mentioned in my last blog, Deep In The Heart(less) Of Texas, are campaigning on their concern for those with preexisting conditions.
It is important to remember that Mike DeWine and his cohorts really don’t want to throw sick people off insurance. They certainly don’t want to bar the poor and unhealthy from access to medical care. They don’t. They just don’t give a damn about how it gets done. They are sure that everything will work itself out. Meanwhile, being anti-Obamacare has been a terrific issue, a cash cow for fundraising, and gold at the polls on elections day. The very people who have benefited the most have, at times, been the most hostile to the law.
The Republicans have been playing Hide and Seek with preexisting conditions. And now, months before the 2018 mid-term elections, they have found the issue. But preexisting conditions have always been right here, in the middle of the entire health care / health insurance debate. It wasn’t that the issue was hiding. The Republicans simply weren’t looking.
Picture – David L Cunix – Hiding in plain sight