New Republic Writer Blasts GOP’s ‘Callous’ Concept of Liberty

March 16th, 2017 5:04 PM

In “Me and Bobby McGee,” Kris Kristofferson wrote that “freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” In The New Republic, Brian Beutler suggested that “freedom” is just another word Republicans use to deprive Americans of health coverage.

The GOP, contended Beutler on Wednesday, “coopted the language of liberty long enough ago that they deploy it unthinkingly…Under the terms of the [American Health Care Act], 14 million people will lose their insurance almost immediately, in many cases because higher premiums and lower subsidies will make health plans unaffordable. This is a weird way to define liberty…Their conception of liberty and freedom [is] exceptionally callous.”

Beutler opined that “where TrumpCare is practically optimized to screw over Trump’s base, replacing the ObamaCare with a Medicaid-for-all option would eliminate the ACA’s narrow disincentive to work harder while continuing to free motivated workers to voluntarily leave their jobs.” That, he argued, “would be genuinely liberating” (bolding added): 

Not in the sense proffered by GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz, that people would be free to forgo buying iPhones until they can afford bad insurance; or in the sense that it would give millionaires a big tax cut; but in the sense that the fear of injury or bad health would no longer be a tool the government uses to scare people into keeping jobs they’d otherwise leave.

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Trumpcare, by contrast, enshrines indenture as a facet of personal liberty. As a governing philosophy, it is the freedom to work until you die. And if it weren’t for Medicare, it may well be the freedom Trump and Ryan would bestow on all of us.

On Tuesday, Beutler claimed at greater length that Trump had taken many of his voters for a ride regarding health care. An excerpt:

Republicans claim that Trumpcare is a simple matter of keeping their promise to repeal Obamacare. But if keeping promises were their guiding principle, they wouldn’t be ignoring the other ones they and…Trump made: to preserve coverage gains and lower costs, and in doing so take care of people on the flip side of repeal. They are instead attempting to break those promises as swiftly and completely as possible, and at the expense not mainly of liberal Obamacare supporters, but of the very voters most inclined to have believed the lies. The swindle is greater than even we imagined.