• author
    • Tom McMasters-Stone

    • July 2, 2017 in Columnists

    Tweak or tweet

    The word of the week is “healthcare.”

    Or not.

    I am tired of hearing how much premiums have increased under the Affordable Care Act. All legitimate studies have shown that the rate of increase in healthcare premiums has slowed under the ACA. Sure they have gone up, but not as fast or dramatically.

    One faction is pissed off that the GOP proposal does not go far enough to do away with coverage, to reduce government.

    The other faction is not supportive of the cuts to Medicaid, which go well beyond just the expanded formula levels. The proposed cuts are huge, and they fly in the face of the very-specific promises that Trump made during his campaign for POTUS.

    Somebody asked me the other day why I am picking on POTUS, because all politicians lie. Huh? Really? How about the buck stops there?

    This is going to be controversial, but so be it.

    Arguably, the greatest prayer ever written is the St. Francis Prayer. It’s not a Catholic prayer, but a prayer designed to make us the best, most selfless, spiritual people we can possibly be. It is right there with anything Buddha or any of the Dalai Lamas have written.

    There are many versions of the prayer, having been tweaked by many, to suit their fancies, or to suit the environments in which they are used. Here is one of them, which may be the original:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.

    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

    This is healthcare, and the debate thereof, in a nutshell.
    What would St. Francis do? What would Jesus do? Buddha? Mohammed?

    You see, they were not just Sunday Subscribers, getting their religious books delivered only on Sunday. They lived it — not without failure along the way, but with overall consistency and fervor.

    Every. Single. Day.

    If you support what the GOP is trying to do, you are not a Christian. Period.

    This is not about politics anymore. This is not about smaller government, nor is it about priorities.

    It is about people with severe character defects, with out-of-control egos.

    They unblinkingly want to throw more money at the most powerful military in the history of the world, more money gifted away to the rich, more money sent to our allies around the world — while ignoring our own.

    Where is the decency? Where is the humanity?

    Where are the jobs? Where is the $1 trillion infrastructure package? Where is the easily-funded Medicare for all? Why hasn’t somebody pivotal stepped up and said that the military should not get more than 50 percent of the federal budget? Somebody needs to say to the generals and admirals: “Deal with it!”

    Jesus is your co-pilot, and you want to take medical care away from the poor, from children, from those with pre-existing conditions? We are the only first-world country without universal health coverage — even under the ACA, too many have no coverage at all.

    And, of course, there is a racism component to all this.

    Screw the poor minorities, right? They didn’t support Trump, and he has shown that he intends to retaliate or withhold funds from states/people that oppose him.

    So, where are we now? We are looking at “Repeal, Replace later.” AYFKM? Things are not getting better, they are getting worse.

    Personalities over principles. I hear that comparison often in my life, of course, in my meetings.

    I have found that it’s not too difficult, but also rare, to have principles, to have a philosophy, and to stick to it most, if not all, of the time.

    One of my favorite movie quotes: “John, it’s not easy dealing with a man who sees things in black and white.” Mr. Skimmerhorn, sometimes it’s not easy being a guy who sees things in black and white…”

    Sure, sometimes my philosophy costs me more money, or inconvenience, or outright angst. But that’s the cost of having beliefs, of being consistent. One thing I can say without hesitation, is that I have never knowingly violated my sworn oaths in serving the public in my various capacities, even if there were personal deficiencies involved.


    I am tired of hearing that the ACA is a disaster. It’s all PR bullshit.

    Millions have coverage. Pre-existing conditions cannot be held hostage. The economy of the masses.

    Some areas have only one provider. They may very well have had none without the ACA, but you never hear that.

    “We need to be able to cross state lines in covering people.”

    Red Herring, because they can do that now.

    Yes, it needs some tweaking, of course it does.

    So, perhaps the slogan for the weeks ahead should be “tweak over tweet.”

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