Paul Ryan is currently the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States. That sounds like a pretty lucrative title, but I’m not personally convinced it’s a job most of us would really want.
As Speaker, Ryan is forced to grapple with the reality that the nation and his party are deeply divided. This reality became explicit during the recent health care debacle, where the Republicans failed to come up with a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
As most reading know, the Republicans failed to pass their Obamacare alternative, the AHCA. The failure came not because Democrats objected, they certainly did, but because the bill was not conservative enough for a group of House Republicans calling themselves the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus is composed of “small government” minded Republicans who see the Affordable Care Act and even its Republican alternative as examples of a growing amount of socialism in American governance, which they reject.
Paul Ryan seems to be a guy who tried to strike a balance that may be impossible. Perhaps there’s no pleasing the small government types without conforming to their rather extreme views. As a result, Ryan has suffered a bit of a career blow. In fact, Donald Tump tweeted a recommendation to his followers to watch the Jeanine Pirro show. Pirro wound up calling for Ryan to step down from during the show. People are speculating that this is exactly why Trump told his followers to watch, though the White House claims it’s a “coincidence.”
Health care in the United States is a mess. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would seriously blame Speaker Paul Ryan for not fixing it, but it seems like in Washington D.C., the rule of the day is to find a scapegoat for failures, as no one wants to take responsibility for anything. Paul Ryan could be the new scapegoat, and like his predecessor Joh Boehner, he could soon be stepping down from his role due to not being “conservative” enough for some people who have what can only be described as extremist views.
Maybe the American people deserve better than to have to be victim to these empty political games. According to Time, the Koch Brothers put out large amounts of money to kill the Republican health care bill. But who are the Kochs and why should their money have such a tremendous impact on Americans’ lives?
The Republican health care bill was a bad bill and was immensely unpopular. It’s good that it failed, but it’s a bit disturbing that the reason it failed was that it’s too “socialist” for a small group of Republicans who seem to think America would be better off as something out of a particularly gritty Charles Dickens novel. It’s hard to understand why these people despise humanity so much that they want to see people suffer, but they do.
An alternative is a bill called HR 676, the Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act. This bill would expand Medicare to cover all Americans under a single payer healthcare system. Seems like a humane, logical, and easily doable idea. Of course, conservatives hate it. Their irrational fear of “socialism” is the reason the right-wing version of Obamacare failed. Even Paul Ryan, an Ayn Rand acolyte, is too “left” for some of these people.
The American people are starting to get serious about this health care mess, and Paul Ryan’s career is an incidental aspect of a much greater problem. Perhaps with a continued push from the people, we will get the sensible single payer health care plan this country needs.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]