Paul Ryan’s Assault On Vulnerable Americans Inconsistent With His Faith
Last September Charlie Rose sat down with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to talk about his vision for America. Ryan said, “The ideas that built [America] are the ones that made us so exceptional in the first place. What are those basic ideas? You know, I can get a little philosophical here, but your rights come from God and nature, not from government; government’s job is to protect your rights and build a society based on liberty, freedom, equality, free enterprise, self-determination, government by consent of the governed.”
Sounds pretty good, right?
Ryan has assaulted Democratic-created safety net programs by offering up an entirely new budget that calls for the privatization of Medicare and the deterioration of Medicaid to the states. Governors would be able to eliminate healthcare for the poor at will, affecting the poorest of poor in America. This should cause individuals to question what Paul Ryan thinks of the poor when he attempts to pass legislation that would be cataclysmic for the very people he claims to want to promote. Are the poor merely lowly bottom-dwellers to Paul Ryan, or are they people of worth who deserve human dignity and basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothing and healthcare?
History has shown us that privatizing Medicare is disastrous; furthermore, doing so worsens the well-being of many of those who are covered. With the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Medicare beneficiaries were given the option to receive their Medicare benefits through private health insurance plans instead of through the original Medicare plan . This originally benefitted some recipients of Medicare by balancing their benefits package by offering lower co-payments for non-specialist doctor visits.
But many of these private plans used excess subsidies to offer dental coverage and other services that were not covered by Medicare; this left members exposed to high medical bills if they fall gravely ill. Many private plan members ended up with circumstantially high out-of-pocket costs. Sadly, many seniors, and some with Lou Gehrig’s disease, simply could not pay these high out-of-pocket costs and were left to depend on the charity of their families and communities to help pay for their healthcare. The exact privatized system that was implemented to lower the cost of healthcare for receivers of Medicare left many of individuals more impoverished and unable to receive the adequate healthcare that they so desperately needed.
Rep. Paul Ryan is a practicing Roman Catholic and I have listened to him talk about his faith and commitment to God in many interviews. I have no doubt that Rep. Ryan loves God. As a follower of Jesus Christ myself, I am pleased to hear that Paul Ryan has found a faith that gives him happiness and reason in the world. However, it truly saddens me when I see him attack the weakest and most vulnerable in our society–the poor. Chapter 25, verse 40 of the Book of Matthew in the New Testament says, “And Jesus shall answer and say to them, truly I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.”
This verse endlessly resonates within me whenever I see people, especially leaders of our own government, wanting to cut or do away with programs that are intended to help our citizens in times of need and assist those of us who cannot assist ourselves. No other church has assisted the poor of the world more than the very church that Rep. Ryan seeks fellowship in, the Catholic Church.
As Christians, we believe that it is a blessing for God to appoint a person to a political office, especially one as high as Representative Ryan’s. The Bible teaches that we are to use blessings from God responsibly and justly. Chapter 14, verse 31 of Proverbs claims that, “He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker: but he that honors him has mercy on the poor.Click here for reuse options!
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