They’re at it again. The members of Congress who we elected to represent our best interests have forgotten us. Remember the health care bill that had so little support in Congress that last month House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill without a vote? Well, it’s baaaaccckk. Congress may vote on the revised bill as early as Friday. Guess what? As I am given to understand, the revisions do nothing to help you … or me … or anybody who is older, has health issues, or cannot afford insurance. It will still enable the insurance companies to deny us maternity care, mental health care, and other basic medical services. It will also make insurance cost-prohibitive for those of us with pre-existing conditions. And it will still deny affordable health care to some 24 million people. The only thing that has changed from last month’s bill is that it is even more restrictive to the average citizen. The changes were made, not with We The People in mind, but rather with the far-right “Freedom Caucus” who objected to the original bill, saying it did not go far enough in taking affordable healthcare from the average person.
Fellow-blogger Tea Pain said it best in a recent tweet: “All it took was proof that more poor people would suffer and the Freedom Caucus was all in.”
On Friday, March 24th, realizing that there were not enough supporters to reach the magic 216 votes required for the bill to pass, Paul Ryan informed Trump that he was pulling the bill from the floor … no vote would be taken. At the time, Trump said he would ‘walk away from health care reform’ if he did not get a vote. The morning after, he tweeted: “Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great health care plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” But by the next day he had apparently gotten over his bruised ego and tweeted: “I’m going back to it. I’m not going to give it up,”
Paul Ryan, also seeming to concede defeat, said, “I don’t know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It’ll remain law of the land until it’s replaced,” he said. “We’re going to be living with Obamacre for the foreseeable future.”
And most of us breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that now there was an opportunity to make some changes to ACA, to fix what was broken without having to worry that a new health care law would rob many of us. But alas, it did not take long for Trump to change his mind about that, as he has done so many things. Just last Friday, 21 April, he said, “This is a great bill. This is a great plan. And this will be great health care. It’s evolving, you know, there was never a give-up. The press sort of reported there was, like, a give-up. There’s no give-up, we started. Remember, it took Obamacare 17 months.”
The bill reportedly does not appear to vary significantly from the one proposed in March, but it seems that some re-working was done in order to satisfy the ‘Freedom Caucus’. It appears to have worked, as Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows is said to be in support of the latest bill.
Now, I have a few observations on this (surprised, aren’t you?).
- If you own a home, it’s an older home and in need of some repairs, but the foundation is sturdy and the repairs are minor … a bit of plumbing upgrades, some paint here and there, some new weatherstripping, and perhaps a new furnace. Do you repair the home, or raze it and build a new one? Me? I repair the old one. It’s why I was still driving a 1988 Olds until a year ago … I can make a heck of a lot of repairs for the price of a new car. Or house. The same can be said of ACA (Obamacare) … it has a strong foundation and has served millions of people well in being able to obtain medical care they would not otherwise have been able to do. But Trump is absolutely hell-bent and determined to raze ACA and build a health care plan of his making. The primary reason, I believe, is that he is aware that even with modifications, ACA will always be considered Obamacare, and it is his goal to erase the name of Obama from anything and everything. We all know that he likes seeing his name on things. This, friends, is NOT a good justification for robbing some 24 million people of their health insurance. It is pandering to the ego of a 70-year-old child who should have our best interests at heart, but does not.
- Each member of Congress was given that job because We The People voted them into office. And yet, it is not We The People to whom they are listening. According to the New York Times, “Senior White House officials, led by Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, have relentlessly pressed Republicans to revive the health care push before Mr. Trump’s hundred-day mark.” According to one White House official, “The President was saying, ‘We have to get a win,’ and that was his pitch. He said ‘No one is getting what they want here, but we have to get a deal, we have to get a win.’” Does this sound like a president whose greatest concern is the people of his country? No, for Trump it is about HIM winning, not the country or its people … only Trump.
- Doubts remain whether the House can muster the necessary 216 votes to pass the bill, since the amendments that satisfied the far right do nothing to ease the concerns of the more moderate Republicans or the Democrats. But even if it does pass the House, it stands a snowball’s chance in hell of passing in the Senate, and Trump is well aware of this. The margin between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is much narrower than in the House, and this bill will not pass the Senate. But that is not the point, for Trump. Although he claims that the 100-day mark has no meaning, he is, once again, lying. He cares only that this bill pass the House so that he can add it to what he calls his ‘list of accomplishments’ in the first 100 days. It will be an empty win, if it passes, but Trump does not care about that at this point.
You will be happy to know that there is a bright spot in the revised bill. One part of the new proposal would protect health insurance for members of Congress. This provision guarantees that lawmakers would not lose “essential health benefits” and could not be charged higher premiums because of their health status. Meanwhile, back here in the rest of the nation, those of us with pre-existing conditions can be charged up to five times the normal rate for health care premiums.
I plan to make some phone calls and write some letters to my elected representatives today … just to touch base and let them know my feelings on this.