Can we please come together and figure out the issue of health care? Please?

We’re not taking a philosophical approach. We can see merit in both sides of the philosophical debate.

On the one hand, just giving away health care with no personal investment could create a generation (or generations) of dependents. And that unwillingness to force people to pull themselves up from whatever situation they find themselves in could create massive economic problems down the road as people continually look for government handouts rather than working to better themselves.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with helping those who are unable to, for whatever reason, help themselves. We’re willing to do that with food, we certainly make education available to every child (for now, let’s see what new shenanigans the Legislature, governor and secretary of education get up to) and we even ask people to pay a little extra on their utility bills to help senior citizens from having to decide between paying for electricity or buying food.

If we’re willing to help in those ways, why is it bad to help people get vaccinations or treatment for illness?

No, we’re looking at this strictly from an economic standpoint — specifically, we’re worried about what will happen to our hospital if we don’t figure this out.

Just a few years ago, rural hospitals were ready to follow the dodo and black rhinoceros into extinction, thanks to the law requiring hospitals to provide care to anyone who walks into the emergency room — regardless of that person’s ability to pay. It’s known as “charity care” and it was bankrupting MGRMC.

Then along came ObamaCare. And our local hospital found itself able to continue. Things certainly aren’t perfect — nothing ever is — but we know our hospital isn’t going anywhere soon.

That is, until Trump won the White House and Republicans took control of both houses of Congress.

“Let’s not get too worked up,” we thought, “everything may still be OK. After all, the mantra from the GOP has been ‘repeal and replace,’ which means there must be another plan to keep rural hospitals alive and serving people who are too far from major metropolitan areas.”

Nope, there’s no plan at all.

Actually, that’s not true; there is a plan, courtesy of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. It’s just a plan that would, essentially leave rural residents out in the cold, which would put rural hospitals right back in dire straits.

We’ve been lucky so far because we have an incredibly incompetent majority running Congress; we have John McCain as a senator, a man who is not afraid to irritate people and do the right thing; and we have a president who seems incapable of holding a position for more than two minutes at a time.

In failing to repeal and replace (or just repeal, as Trump has said he’d like Congress to do), he’s blamed McCain, the Democrats, Republican senators, former President Obama and the “fake” news.

Allowing insurance and pharmaceutical companies to dictate coverage and costs has allowed pricing to spiral out of control, resulting in too many people not being able to afford to use the insurance they already pay too much for, as well as insurance premiums to skyrocket. That’s not Obama’s fault, the fault of the Affordable Care Act or CNN — that’s the fault of Congressmen on both sides of the aisle being bought and paid for by insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

We can’t continue down this path. Allowing corporations to dictate policy (usually writing the legislation that benefits the corporation over taxpayers) has to end or we will find ourselves without a local hospital.

And that’s something we can ill afford.

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