There is a lot of talk about a lot of issues. It is sometimes hard to follow the moving ball as various Republicans modify and change positions or try to defined or obfuscate them. (Or, like Chris Smith, they keep silent about them- except through their votes.) But the Republican specific plans tell us about the world that the Republicans, including Chris Smith, really want to create.
1) Abortion will be illegal without exception and women and Doctors will go to jail.
While Republicans claim that there is no ‘war on women’, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Chris Smith and the Republican Party platform all support a “personhood” amendment to the US Constitution. In short, regardless of the cause (i.e. ‘forcible’ rape, incest, etc) and regardless of the consequence (e.g. health of the mother) there will be no abortion and no exception for anything and no choice for any reason. And when asked if women would go to jail as a result, they say simply “illegal is illegal”. Also, since most states do not distinguish between types of parenthood, a rapist might be involved in the women and the child’s life for life. So she might have to deal with her rapist on issues like parental visits, healthcare, schooling, etc. Finally, ‘personhood’ rights could make many existing infertility and contraception practices illegal as well.
Chris Smith is a leader and in full support of ‘Parenthood’.
2) Medicare will be eliminated and replaced with vouchers and people will be impoverished.
Republicans have been publically forced to back away from Paul Ryan’s and Chris Smith’s original ‘vouchers for all’ position to make current seniors more comfortable. But this is their stated preferred and ultimate objective. And once it has been implemented for the majority it may not be hard to re-introduce it for current seniors. We also know from the proposal that the vouchers will not keep up with inflation and will be an additional financial burden on seniors.
It is important to note Medicare was originally created because insurance for seniors and the disabled was either unavailable or unaffordable. Less than half of seniors were able to get insurance at the time. (Not surprising since insurance companies naturally prefer healthier younger policyholders.) Many seniors were impoverished or bankrupted by the lack of such coverage. Ryan’s plan therefore seems like a giant step back in time with no clear explanation of why things would be dramatically different from those times.
Strangely, both the Obama and Ryan plans called for Medicare saving by reducing some payments to insurance and hospital providers. Yet Romney has now withdrawn that savings proposal and now attacks it as “raiding Medicare and endangering seniors”. Of course Politifact called that Romney claim a “Pants On Fire Lie. Apparently, once a Democrat has adopted a Republican idea it must be summarily rejected
3) Medicaid will be dramatically reduced and people will likely die.
The Paul Ryan plan, supported by Chris Smith, claimed to be concerned with our most vulnerable. Surely some of our most vulnerable citizens must be those on Medicaid in nursing homes, etc. Yet his plan to give block funds to the states is estimated to cut funding by one-third ($800 billion!) compared to current law. And that cut to senior benefits would start next year.
Medicaid is particularly important in tough times. For example in the 2008-2009 great recession states and individuals suffered with declining taxes and rising unemployment. Predictably the Medicaid enrollment increased by millions and the federal government’s contribution rose to meet the need. Under Ryan and Smith’s fixed block payment system those states and individuals would be left without support options. It is difficult to believe that such future circumstances would not lead to increased suffering, sickness, and deaths. Perhaps this is why Ryan’s plan was so strongly criticized by religious organizations as favoring the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
All in all it is not a picture of a safe, friendly, or secure world. If you are a woman or a senior (or plan to be one!) you probably don’t want to vote for that world