Biden Backs Down On Survival Checks And Healthcare
Politicians often fail to live up to the promises that they run on, but these two in particular are shameful to see at a time when so many Americans are suffering and in need of the help that was promised. In the final days of the Georgia Senate race, Joe Biden ramped up the rhetoric, telling voters there that “one state can chart the course, not just for the next four years, but for the next generation.” It seems that Biden should heed his own advice, because the same could be said for the actions that he and his party take. The Georgia race gave Democrats narrow control of both the House and Senate, which also gives them a chance to change things for the better and prevent another Trump situation in the next election. The news that Biden would “seek a deal with Republicans on another round of COVID-19 relief, rather than attempting to ram a package through without their support” was one of the first bad signs, and things haven’t exactly improved since then.
During his speech in Georgia, Biden also said that the “$2,000 stimulus check” would “go out the door immediately.” As it turns out, that’s actually going to be $1,400, and it may not get to us until April. There has been some heated discussion in various circles about whether or not he really meant $2,000, or just the $1,400 that would add up to that amount with the last $600, but apparently many people, including some number of Georgia voters, took it to mean the full $2,000. Speaking to Mediaite, organizers who campaigned for Ossoff and Warnock on that issue said that they felt betrayed. One of them, Rogelio Linares, told a reporter:
“I was on the ground and I knocked over 1,000 doors… I was literally telling people, ‘$2K checks, you can rely on this.’ I’m a man of principle and morals and I feel like s***. I lied to them. I was lying to them the whole time. I was lying to people that were relying on this. At the time I didn’t know it was a lie. But that was not the reality.”
As pointed out by Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski, this move is, at best, rather underhanded. Kulinski also notes that this goes against another plan that had been discussed by Democrats, which was to pass direct aid in a standalone bill using the process known as budget reconciliation, a move that would have made it much easier to pass. This is also a bit suspicious.
Regardless of what was really meant, or how this bill works out, however, people need that money now, and just extending eviction moratoriums and providing some meager food assistance is not enough. Evictions keep going despite moratoriums, and many have ended up in situations where their unemployment benefits disqualify them from food assistance, or other bureaucratic red tape leaves them literally out in the cold.
The second promise Biden turned his back on recently is his healthcare plan. As reported in Jacobin, Biden has done away with even the inadequate “public option” plan he was touting during his campaign, in favor of one that “adopts proposals from health insurance lobbying groups’ recent letter to lawmakers demanding lucrative new subsidies for insurance companies.” This is inexcusable in a country where 66% of bankruptcies are due to medical issues, but insurance companies are making record profits.
This coincides with the issue of survival checks and more Americans falling into poverty as well, because as it happens, it is also harder for those in poverty to seek care, whether they have coverage or not. Issues such as child care and transportation are often hindrances, and the pandemic is only making these problems worse.
COVID relief and healthcare were understandably two of the biggest issues in this past election cycle, and this is a troubling beginning for the new administration. Although the COVID relief shenanigans are upsetting, the giveaway to insurance companies is is perhaps even more egregious. Democrats in Washington and their supporters keep saying that it’s the Republicans who are withholding healthcare, but as this shows, it’s actually a bipartisan effort.