Well, well, well … it would appear that Trump & Co. have finally come up with what he earlier said would be “the greatest” healthcare, that it would “provide insurance for everybody … much less expensive and much better … “. And this … “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
Yesterday, it was announced that after nearly two months in office, the “plan” is finally unveiled in all its splendor. Only one slight problem … if I may be a tad crude for just a moment … it sucks. It sucks and nobody likes it. It will cost all of us, except, of course, that infamous 1% at the top of the food chain, more, and many more of us will be without insurance … read, without healthcare. Period.
A group of influential hospitals and doctors groups sent a letter to all members of Congress stating their objections to the ‘replacement plan’ that will “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their claim is that it is likely to result in a substantial reduction in the number of Americans able to buy affordable health insurance or maintain coverage under the Medicaid program. “Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that the proposed Medicaid program restructuring will result in both the loss of coverage for current enrollees as well as cuts to a program that provides health care services for our most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and disabled.” The signatories included the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital Association, along with others.
Though not signatories on the aforementioned letter, the American Nurses Association and AARP also rejected the bill, for similar reasons.
The Republican bill would eliminate the mandate for most Americans in favor of a new system of tax credits to induce people to buy insurance on the open market. It would also eventually roll back the expansion of Medicaid that has provided coverage to more than 10 million people in 31 states. One thing to remember: tax credits are useless for those who make so little that they do not need to pay income taxes to begin with. Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax owed, but if you owe none, of what use is a tax credit? None.
Despite opposition from Republicans and Democrats, the medical community, and others, Trump remains optimistic, saying, “We’re going to do something that’s great, and I am proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor, and this will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is. This is the plan. It’s a complicated process, but actually it’s very simple, it’s called good health care.” Sigh … just shut up, please, for once, Mr. Trump.
Interestingly (and disgustingly) some conservative Republicans also do not like the plan, but only because they say it does not go far enough in reversing ACA!!! Some conservatives have labeled the House plan “Obamacare lite,” saying it is nearly as intrusive in the insurance market as the law it would replace. They dislike the Medicaid expansion, dislike the tax credits, and they dislike the term “essential benefits”, meaning certain things that all insurers must offer. They are disturbed at the continued prohibition on denying policies for pre-existing conditions!!!
Allow me to make a brief, personal digression here. While I rarely share much personal information on my blog, I think this is for a good cause. For most of my 65 years, I have had Type I, insulin-dependent diabetes, the cost of which, under the best of circumstances, is some $15,000, or 86% of my Social Security income per year in testing supplies, 2 forms of injectable insulin, and other medications alone. This is a pre-existing condition. This is also a condition that has led to any number of other, related conditions, such as heart problems, dental problems, loss of eyesight, and others. If those conservatives have their way, I, and millions in similar circumstances, will be unable to obtain insurance at any cost.
In short, those conservatives who object that the plan does not go far enough to the right of ACA, want to provide absolutely ZERO assistance to anybody for any reason. Thank you for your compassion, your humanitarianism, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, and other like-minded assholes people!
Enter Representative Jason Chaffetz, also from Utah:
“Well we’re getting rid of the individual mandate. We’re getting rid of those things that people said they don’t want. And you know what? Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.”
His remarks reflect a generally held attitude among far-right Republicans that if only people made better choices — if they worked harder, stayed in school, got married, didn’t have children they couldn’t afford, spent what money they had more wisely and saved more — then they wouldn’t be poor. No further comment is needed, I think.
While congressional Republicans are trying to push this bill through at warp speed, Democrats and even some Republicans are urging caution. Senator Tom Cotton, a conservative Republican from Arkansas, said, “What matters in the long run is better, more affordable [healthcare] for Americans, NOT House leaders’ arbitrary legislative calendar.” Typically, any discussion of a bill of this magnitude would include a cost analysis issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but since this bill is being pushed through at lightning speed, that analysis is not yet completed, nor will it likely be for some time yet. In the words of one analyst, moving forward without the cost analysis is the legislative equivalent of flying into a storm without instruments. In the words of Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett: “Health care is too important, it impacts too many lives, to have a health-care bill jammed though in the same manner as President Trump’s immigration order. What this bill needs is some extreme vetting.”
I’m sure I will have much more to say in coming days about this, but for now, suffice it to say that I hope the saner heads in Congress are able to delay this bill at least until a cost analysis can be completed and opinions heard, issues discussed. My real hope is that enough in Congress will stop and consider what is best for We The People, rather than what will keep them in Trump’s good graces. Perhaps that is a pie-in-the-sky hope.