The Bad Religion at the Heart of GOP Healthcare Policy

Even as Mitch McConnell’s last-ditch and putatively face-saving “repeal, then replace” maneuver fails, it’s important to remember that the anti-Obamacare gospel remains firmly in place among True Believers.

VP Mike Pence, a “real Christian” in contradistinction to our Sinner in Chief, made the gospel teaching really clear in his speech to the National Retail Federation meeting, given at just about the same time that McConnell’s last gasp was tanking.

Why must Obamacare be destroyed? asked the Rhetorical Mike.

Well, three principles, an Unholy Trinity from the Pence version of twisted Christianity:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Free markets
  • The right of the individual states to regulate insurance.​

Allow me to construe all three “principles” in respect to the Pence mentality and in respect to the sensibilities of the one-third of American voters (at minimum), also ostensibly mostly “Christian,” who will apparently stick with Trump through thick and thin.

Personal responsibility: The righteous antidote to the false gospel of mutuality and solidarity and collective responsibility. To wit: you are entirely all on your own, folks. And if you are poor and without health coverage, that’s all about you. We wash our hands.

Free markets: If you are poor, you are perfectly “free” to sleep under a bridge, in the immortal words of Anatole France. But the wealthy are totally free to suck up health care resources via tax-favored health savings accounts. And it goes without saying that the insurance companies and health providers are totally free to suck out your blood.

State authority on insurance matters: Where to begin with this one? “States’ rights” has an obvious and nasty racial history. It was hardly surprising that most of the states that refused to expand Medicaid or adopt exchanges represent the Old Confederacy and the Wild West.

We might breathe a momentary sigh of relief that the destruction of Obamacare is temporarily halted. But we had better brace ourselves for the next attack on the social contract.

In fact, the very idea of any kind of social contract is anathema to these good Christian people.

Remember their Holy Trinity.