By now anyone paying any attention to national news knows that if Senate Republicans can muster the votes, Obamacare is history, with massive Medicaid cuts and caps thrown into the bargain. This is very, very bad news for scores of millions of Americans – vast numbers of poor, disabled, and elderly among them – dependent on Medicaid for health care coverage. Poor states like Mississippi that currently enjoy high levels of federal cost share will be particularly hard hit. That miserable prospect alone should serve as a five-alarm call to action for social workers.
But I think there’s much more to this story; health care “reform” is just chapter one. Should Republicans succeed in zapping Medicaid, next up will likely be Medicare, and after that, Social Security. As early as the Reagan presidency, Republicans declared war on “entitlements,” along with a long-range goal of dismantling the social safety net that emerged from the New Deal and the Great Society, while cutting taxes for the rich and powerful corporations. Their moment has arrived, with all three branches of the federal government under virtual control of the political right and their big money backers and kleptocratic partners in crime.
There’s a name for this – oligarchic class war, and we’re in it, even if most of us aren’t yet aware of it.