Remember the “compassionate conservative”? Back in the 1980s, Republicans espoused the idea that their conservative beliefs (like unregulated free-market capitalism) were based in the fact that they honestly thought that they would help the plight of the average man:
‘Republican leaders could be fiscally conservative, favor “small government,” and believe in the free market, for example, but also believe that government should and must partner with the private sector — especially non-profit and faith-based organizations — to help lift people out of poverty, both abroad in the developing world and here at home in the richest nation on the planet.’
In order to sell the free market bill of goods to the Religious Right, politicians like George W. Bush used this term to explain exactly how monetary enrichment could fit with the ideology of Jesus. By the time Donald Trump began his presidential bid, the mask had slipped. Republicans didn’t even have to pretend anymore that their greed was motivated by helping others.
Fox News is not conservative. It's a Trump propaganda arm and Trump is using them. Trump is not a fiscal conservative; he loves debt and calls himself "king of debt." He's not a compassionate conservative; he's not evangelical, faithful, or kind. He's just Trump – an illusion.
— Bernie's Teachers (@BerniesTeachers) March 21, 2018
Now, since Trump has installed like-minded heads of federal agencies, profit is the priority, not people. How else could you explain the fact that the federal government is trying to keep poor women from getting cancer screenings? According to a report from ThinkProgress:
‘The Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Office on Women’s Health removed a webpage dedicated to breast cancer and other helpful reproductive health information, including important insurance information for low-income people, according to a new report.’
It just seems like the unbelievable plot line of a crappy superhero movie from the 80s. How in the world could someone justify removing information that could save lives? This information is, make no mistake, was vitally important:
‘This breast cancer page did serve as a repository of links dedicated to this disease, like “Breast cancer symptoms”, “Screening and diagnosis”, “Breast cancer risk factors and prevention”, and “Government in action.” Informational pages and factsheets about the disease can’t be found elsewhere on the OWH website, according to the Sunlight Foundation’s comprehensive review.’
The removal of information is especially sickening, given the main audience for this helpful material:
‘The information removed is especially helpful to low-income individuals and people of color, such as important insurance information.’
If 90 percent of women 40 & older received breast cancer screening, 3,700 lives would be saved each year~Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary HHS
— Diontrae Hayes (@DiontraeHayes) October 3, 2011
One of the most egregious deletions relates to Trump’s well-known disdain for the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that it offers life-saving screenings for everyone regardless of income:
‘The Affordable Care Act requires coverage of no-cost breast cancer screenings for certain individuals, but the website no longer makes mention of this.’
The Dep of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health has just removed webpages related to Breast cancer & ways to receive free or low cost screening via the Affordable Care Act.
It appears that in an effort to hurt Obamacare, they are covering up it's benefits.
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) April 2, 2018
This shouldn’t be entirely surprising, given the leadership Trump placed over the Department of Health and Human Services. His first pick, Tom Price, only lasted six months (approximately 23.2 Scaramuccis) before leaving the agency in disgrace. We all heard about Price’s affinity for private jets:
Don't forget Trump's HHS Secretary Tom Price. https://t.co/gvpRoLD4X6
— Watchdog4Democracy (@rosemhook) March 29, 2018
That was just the tip of the iceberg. Price had a history of using his position to further his personal wealth, showing the American people where his true loyalties lie:
‘In March 2016, according to CNN, Price bought up to $15,000 worth of stock in Zimmer Biomet, a medical device company that specializes in hip and knee implants. Two days later, he introduced legislation to delay a regulation that would have hurt the company’s business by changing how Medicare and Medicaid reimburse those procedures. Zimmer Biomet then donated to his campaign. (Price says he was not aware of the purchase, which was made by his broker.)’
If Azar is anything like his predecessor, his true motives are likely connected to his investments and the companies he owns. Azar, like Trump, refuses to completely divest from the industries he is now regulating as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He still receives profits from Eli Lily (his former employer). Eli Lily is a behemoth Pharma company that has a vested interest in keeping healthcare costs high. He also owns Seraphim Strategies, a consulting firm created to help health insurance companies make huge profits.
Under Alex Azar, HHS started stripping away vital information that would help keep health costs lower for our most vulnerable citizens. Coincidentally, the companies Azar profits from will reap great rewards. Compassionate conservative, indeed.
— ♨️Saucy Stacey♨️ (@DrSCubed) March 24, 2018
Featured image: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty