Editorial: Of snake oil, tea and the GOP
On the national political scene, the GOP leadership is stirring the pot with talk of shutting down the government. With inflammatory speech about a government run amuck, spreading socialism and deficit spending that’s out of control, these holier-than-thou hypocrites then offer the soothing tag-line that their intent is to create a “smaller government that cares for the people” by returning power to the Republicans.Most Americans can tell the difference between the unscrupulous salesmen of snake oil and local merchants selling bona-fide products and services they are willing to stand behind. But in politics, it seems, too many Americans fall prey to fast-talking, smoothing-sounding preachers of blind faith and outright lies.Consider, for example, some specifics the Republicans are so riled up about with the new health care law that goes into effect this Thursday:• It will require health care insurance companies to allow young adults to remain on their parents’ health care plan until they turn 26. Previous law forced students off their parents’ plan at the age of 21 or when they graduated from college, leaving large numbers of Americans age 21-26 without health care. Not so onerous, is it?• The bill also would prevent insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on the amount health care plans will spend on benefits. Previously, health insurance companies had the ability to cap expenditures on customers regardless of how much they had paid into the system. So if you paid $12,000 a year for 20 years (that’s $240,000), the insurance company could willy-nilly limit health care benefits to $200,000 and consumers were helpless to prevent it.• The new bill also prevents insurance companies from canceling coverage on those who become sick — a recurring abuse among too many companies that prompted the public outrage that produced such corrective legislation in the first place — and end the insurance industry practice of denying coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions.That’s the unwieldy government the GOP thinks is out-of-control and that has Tea Party members spouting anger and disdain in the streets?Vermonters have the good common sense to understand the benefits of correcting the abuses of the marketplace in the aftermath of eight years of the Bush administration. Restoring that balance is not a move toward socialism or is it a government run amuck. Rather it is restoring common sense in balancing the private marketplace with reasonable consumer protections. One can’t be allowed to overshadow the other.Angelo S. Lynn?