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Universal: Health care for all

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Medical care should be a human right for everyone. Nearly all advanced democracies support this principle and provide government-run national health plans. It's shameful that America has lagged behind, failing to achieve what other countries accomplish.

President Obama's landmark 2010 medical reform was a major step toward universal care. But Republicans keep fighting it bitterly -- almost as if they want to prevent more American families from receiving treatment.

GOP members of Congress slashed federal funds for projects to inform people how to utilize "health care exchanges" that will go into effect Oct. 1, enabling uninsured families to choose the best coverage they can afford. After major sports leagues agreed to air TV spots explaining the system, senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, sent a menacing letter urging the National Football League to cancel -- and the NFL did.

In an editorial titled "GOP poisons ObamaCare, then claims it's sick," USA Today denounced "Republicans' latest assault on ObamaCare," adding: "Having lost in Congress and in court, they're now using the most cynical of tactics: trying to make the law fail. Never mind the public inconvenience and human misery that will result."

The national newspaper said it was "an appalling abuse of power" for Senate GOP leader McConnell to hint that "if the league did help inform the public about ObamaCare, Senate Republicans had their own methods of retribution."

USA Today added that Republicans employ "fear-mongering, which dates back to inventing non-existent 'death panels,' and try to rouse public distrust of the 2010 reform. "More broadly, GOP governors have refused to expand Medicaid or to run state health insurance exchanges, making it harder to get the program up and running."

Why do conservatives endlessly oppose programs that help people? Look back over the past century and you'll see a clear pattern: Conservatives tried to block voting by women, birth control for couples, Social Security for retirees, equality for blacks, Medicare for oldsters, Medicaid for the poor and decriminalization of gay sex. But liberals won all those progressive victories. Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives ruthlessly passed a farm bill omitting food stamps for 48 million low-income Americans.

We hope Republicans lose their attempt to sabotage ObamaCare, just as they lost previous efforts to block other humane advances. The tide of history is flowing toward making health care a human right for all. We hope the tide is unstoppable.


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