In May, when the House of Representatives passed an unconscionable health care bill, I noted that the bill would not stand a chance in the Senate. I must retract that statement at this time, for it appears that the Senate has no more conscience than the House, and plays an even dirtier game of pool.
Nobody can say for certain what is in the Senate’s version of the bill that promises to repeal ACA (Obamacare) and replace it with … who knows? It is apparent that the main goal is simply to repeal ACA, to pander to Trump’s narcissistic desire to erase President Obama’s name from every and anything and replace it with his own. Never mind that ACA has worked fairly well, despite its entirely fixable problems. Never mind that the House bill would rob some 24 million U.S. citizens of their ability to even have health care. The goal of the GOP members of Congress has nothing to do with We The People, and everything to do with tax cuts for big corporations.
Republican Senate leaders are now trying to ram through their own version of the the bill the House passed last month, one that, all reports suggest, will differ only in minor, cosmetic ways. And they’re trying to do it in total secrecy. It appears that there won’t be any committee hearings before the bill goes to the floor. Even the senators have not received so much as a draft of the text of the proposed bill. Some have seen a PowerPoint presentation, but the “slides are flashed across the screens so quickly that they can hardly be committed to memory.”
“Clearly, the goal is to pass legislation that will have devastating effects on tens of millions of Americans without giving those expected to pass it, let alone the general public, any real chance to understand what they’re voting for. There are even suggestions that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, might exploit loopholes in the rules to prevent any discussion on the Senate floor.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times, 19 June 2017
Recently Vox asked eight republican senators what, exactly, the bill is intended to do, what problems it will solve, and who stands to benefit. Let us look at two of these interviews:
Tara Golshan, Vox and Senator John McCain:
Goldshan: Generally, what are the big problems this bill is trying to solve?
McCain: Almost all of them. They’re trying to get to 51 votes.
Golshan: Policy-wise. What are the problems [in the American health care system] this is trying to solve — and is the bill doing that right now?
McCain: Well, it’s whether you have full repeal, whether you have partial repeal, whether you have the basis of it. It’s spread all over.
Golshan: But based on the specifics of the bill you have heard so far, is it solving the problems [in the health care system]?
McCain: What I hear is that we have not reached consensus. That’s what everybody knows.
Golshan: Right, but outside of getting the votes. From what you hear of the actual legislation being written, is it solving the problems you see —
McCain: It’s not being written. Because there’s no consensus.
Golshan: But generally speaking, what are the big problems it is trying to solve?
McCain: You name it. Everything from the repeal caucus, which as you know, they have made their views very clear — Rand Paul, etc. And then there are the others on the other side of the spectrum that just want to make minor changes to the present system. There’s not consensus
Jeff Stein, Vox and Senator Chuck Grassley:
Stein: I want to ask a very broad question: What do you think this health care bill will accomplish that will improve America? What’s the positive case for this bill?
Grassley: Well, I can tell you what it’s going to do for Iowa. We are one of those states that in a couple of weeks if [the insurer] Medica pulls out, we’ll have 94 of our 95 counties won’t have any insurance ,even for people who have the subsidies. That’s what we have to concentrate on now.
Stein: How do you think the bill will fix that problem?
Grassley: Well, by bringing certainty to the insurance market. They don’t have that certainty now.
Stein: By bringing certainty to the insurance market. What certainty?
Stein: What do you mean by certainty?
Grassley: Well, they can’t even file. They have to check the rates real high if they don’t know what the government policy is. And so the certainty is that passing a bill gives the health insurance companies certainty.
Stein: Wouldn’t not passing a bill also do that?
Grassley: No, it … well, yeah — it gives them certainty that you’ll have a lot higher rates than if you pass the bill.
Stein: So you’re saying [the bill] will lower the rates?
Grassley: Um, if you’re talking about lowering the rates from now down, no. The rates could be way up here. [Points to sky] And if they — if we get a bill passed, it maybe wouldn’t go up or would go up a heck of a lot less than they would without a bill.
Stein: By “rates,” are you talking about premiums?
Grassley: Yeah, premiums. … I’m sorry I have to go.
There is more, but obviously I cannot replicate the article here … to read the full article click this link.
Both McCain and Grassley came across as having the intellect of a high school sophomore … how did they even get elected in the first place? And these people are the ones who will vote for a bill that they do not understand, simply in order to maintain their standing with a so-called president who also does not understand health care, and to rob the American people of the opportunity to seek medical care when they need it.
One of the biggest problems in health care today stems from the greed of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Many health insurers could see significant tax cuts if ACA is rolled back. Repealing ACA’s taxes on the industry, plus the anticipated corporate tax cut, could save health care companies upward of $200 billion over the next decade, by some rough estimates. If anybody still believes that “trickle-down economics” actually works and that the insurance companies will somehow share that $200 billion with people in need of healthcare, then I have a beautiful bridge I will sell you cheap!
The senate bill will likely, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his way, come for a vote very soon. If passed, it then goes to the House, then to Trump. If this bill is allowed to go all the way and become law, more people than ever in this country will die because they cannot obtain medical treatment. It is that simple, folks. All that is required is for three republican senators to find their conscience and vote against this bill … just THREE! What can we do? We can e-mail and call our unconscionable senators and make it very clear that if they vote for this bill, they will be out of a job next time they come up for re-election, either in 2018, 2020, or 2022. Tell them that we have longer memories than they believe and they will not receive our vote. If we do not use our voices, WE LOSE!