Allegiance is fidelity to a country, religion, or a specific cause that exceeds every other aspect of a person’s life. There are various instances of people swearing allegiance to a sports team, a popular entertainer, or causes they feel require absolute devotion and their loyalty is tantamount to religious fervor that in extreme cases can have devastating effects. It is safe to say that in politics, Republicans have sworn allegiance to big business, the wealthy, and conservative ideals that belie their claims of devotion to government or the people’s general welfare. Throughout the Republican primary season, Willard Romney was accused of lacking commitment to conservative causes based on his ever-changing positions depending on who he pandered to for their support, but no human being with a brain can impugn his allegiance to corporations and big business. This week Romney demonstrated his devotion to the health insurance industry and in doing so, gave another example of his contempt for the American people.
On Tuesday, Romney spoke at an event in Florida, and he confirmed his intention of denying health insurance to millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions if the Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Willard said that unless a person has been “continuously insured,” they will not be protected from discrimination if they have a pre-existing condition. Romney is part of the Republican “repeal and replace” cohort that has no intention of replacing the benefits of the ACA, but that is another story. Romney’s statement is problematic for myriad reasons, but the primary message Americans can take away is that his first allegiance is to the health insurance industry, and not the American people. Regarding pre-existing conditions, Romney said, “we’re going to have to make sure that the law that we replace Obamacare with, ensures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who have been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve.”
What Willard did not reveal, is that there is already a federal law that forbids insurers from denying coverage to the continuously covered through the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) signed by Bill Clinton, but insurers neglected the law with impunity. Based on Willard’s dedication to corporations and his abhorrence of “government interference in private industry,” there is no conceivable scenario where he will enforce or strengthen the existing provisions in HIPPA, or “make sure the law ensures people with pre-existing medical conditions” receive coverage whether they were continuously covered or not. It is important to remember that Romney intends on eliminating as many government agencies as possible and consumer protections will be the first to go.
After Bush-Republicans crashed the economy, millions of Americans lost their jobs, and subsequently lost their healthcare coverage. Indeed, during Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, employees who lost their jobs to outsourcing, layoffs, or business closures also lost health insurance coverage and if the ACA is struck down, a president Romney will allow health insurance industry to offer bare-bones coverage with higher premiums and pre-existing conditions will not be covered simply because business decided to ship jobs overseas, restructure, or halt insurance coverage for higher profits.
There has been a 25 year-long practice of private employers dropping health insurance coverage for employees that has nothing to do with the ACA, pre-existing conditions, or prohibitive costs, and under Romney’s proposal, those who lost their coverage will be hard-pressed to find a policy that covers pre-existing conditions if the ACA is repealed or struck down by the High Court. It is important to note that Republicans have not made any proposals to replace any part of the ACA, and their grand scheme for healthcare reform is allowing Americans to purchase coverage across state lines and limit malpractice claims against corporate healthcare providers. The only beneficiaries of the Romney-Republican plan is the insurance industry that has spent over $100 million in donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to derail, repeal, or strike down the ACA.
Romney’s proposal becomes all the more troublesome after his remarks that there are too many police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and school teachers who will lose their “continuous coverage” when Republicans begin wholesale layoffs and cutbacks in public sector employees, and it demonstrates the contempt he has for Americans who are not wealthy. If anything, Romney’s plan guaranteeing coverage for continuously covered Americans will not help millions of Americans who lack health care coverage because of divorce, job loss, or could not keep up premium payments in the sluggish economy, or millions who could never afford health insurance.
Republicans, and Willard Romney, will not replace the ACA or strengthen regulations forcing the insurance industry to comply with HIPPA and its requirement that pre-existing conditions be covered if there was continuous coverage. Romney travels around the country making speech after speech promising to “get government out of the way” of corporate malfeasance and enforcing consumer protections, so it is a mystery who he thinks he’s fooling. One of the Bain Capital tactics to enrich investors was restructuring struggling businesses, laying off employees and if they were lucky, hiring them back at reduced wages without healthcare insurance, retirement plans, or union representation. It is the tactic Romney will bring to the presidency to save money for the trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and he has not been remiss to promise a reduced government workforce and an attempt at dismantling unions who are advocates for their members’ benefits.
If nothing else, Romney continues telling Americans that his allegiance is to big business and not the well-being of the American people. His cavalier attitude that firing government employees to enrich corporations and the wealthy, and thus interrupting “continuous coverage” for police officers, teachers and firefighters, is the salvation of America’s economy further illustrates that his first, and only love, is for big business. His contempt for working-class Americans is also coming to the fore with every proposal to raise taxes on the poor and middle class and promise to cut the government workforce. Conversely, President Obama’s signature healthcare reform legislation demonstrates his allegiance is to the American people and economic recovery the ACA will enhance as it becomes fully implemented.
What is astonishing is Romney’s proposals certainly do not reflect his alleged Christian sensibilities, but then again, he is definitely not a Christian. Perhaps the Mormon religion requires allegiance to greed and big business second only to the First Presidency, but that is one of those temple secrets mere mortals will never be privy to. One thing is certain though, Willard Romney continues demonstrating that he is devoted to enriching the already wealthy and punishing working Americans and he, or his campaign, cannot deny that their intention in winning in November is not to help the American people or the economy; it is helping corporations and the wealthy accumulate all the wealth in America, and if people with pre-existing medical conditions are left without coverage, then as John Boehner is wont to say; so be it.