They Just Don’t Get It …

I had not planned to address the ridiculous piece of health ‘care’ legislation under consideration by the Senate again just yet, but my hackles were raised this morning by a story in Think Progress about the new party line floating around on Capitol Hill.  The headline read:

Republicans Argue Anyone Who Loses Coverage Under Trumpcare Really Doesn’t Want It

According to the article, this is the ‘talking point’ these days in the halls of Congress.  The philosophy being that once the mandate to purchase insurance is gone, some people will simply choose not to have insurance.  With reductions in coverage, higher rates, and state’s ability to choose not to cover pre-existing conditions and essential services, the Congressional Budget Office estimates some 22 million people will not be able to afford adequate coverage. The Republicans in Congress seem unable or unwilling to understand how those of us without 7-digit bank accounts live. Let us take a look at a few of the more egregious statements members of Congress have made recently:

  • Just this morning, a reporter accused Senator John Cornyn from Texas of not caring that 22 million people would lose their coverage. His response?  “Not lose, choose. People will buy what they value.”

  • On Sunday, Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs claimed, “That’s not losing, that’s choosing.”

  • Last month, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryans, said, “So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

  • Back in March, former Representative Jason Chaffetz made this statement: “And you know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve gotta 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 in their own health care. They’ve gotta make those decisions themselves.”

And the worst one of all came from Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama …

  • “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

Mr. Brooks’ comment is so deplorable that it causes one to question his mental acuity.  Let’s face it, most of us have some form of pre-existing condition, whether it is diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or something more serious such as a heart condition or cancer. His suggestion that those of us with pre-existing conditions are in this situation because we don’t “lead good lives” is a crock of very stinky stuff.  Brooks is in line for Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award soon. Mr. Brooks is from Alabama, as is Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions … maybe that explains a lot.

The prevailing attitude, however, is of greater overall concern than the ignorant comment of Mr. Brooks.  It is further proof, as if we needed any, that some of our elected representatives, particularly those of the Republican Party it would seem, are so far removed from the people they are supposed to represent, that they might as well be living in another universe.

If the costs for health insurance rise, as they will do with reduced subsidies, higher costs for certain people, such as those with pre-existing conditions, and reduced benefits, it will not be a matter of “choice”.  Or rather, the “choice” will be between putting food on the table, or buying health insurance.  A choice between paying the rent in order to avoid being homeless, or buying health insurance.  It is NOT a question of buying an i-phone rather than health insurance, and anyone who thinks it is, does not deserve to be sitting in Congress!

The chart below* reflects the average net worth of members of Congress.  I think it goes a long way toward explaining why our elected representatives do not understand how those of us in middle and lower income brackets need to make purchasing decisions!

   

 

U.S. Senate U.S. House of Representatives
Year # of Senate Reports Senate Average Year # of House Reports House Average
2011 112 $14,013,596 2011 512 $6,594,859
2010 116 $13,224,333 2010 525 $5,992,869
2009 116 $13,229,651 2009 536 $5,106,476
2008 110 $13,835,333 2008 490 $4,719,554
2007 106 $17,170,451 2007 497 $5,661,643
2006 107 $14,106,027 2006 487 $5,071,549
2005 101 $14,553,612 2005 441 $4,511,705
2004 105 $14,455,289 2004 475 $4,243,935

Not surprisingly, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is among the 10 wealthiest senators with an estimated net worth of $22,841,026.

While I do not pretend to have all the answers for having a Congress that can at least begin to relate to the needs of their constituents, not only in health care, but in all areas, I see a few changes that might have a positive effect.

  • Term limits – I have discussed this before. I once was against term limits, thinking that if a senator or representative was good, we would want to keep them as long as possible, and if they were not good, the democratic process would weed them out quickly enough.  Turns out, this is not the case, as in this day and age elections are bought by PACs, lobbyists, and large corporations.  So, term limits must be seriously considered.
  • Gifts to members of Congress – I would propose a moratorium on all gifts to members of Congress, monetary or otherwise. A gift in this case is not a gift, but to put it bluntly, a bribe.  Almost every Republican in both the Senate and the House received monetary gifts from the NRA in 2016, ranging from $250 to $11,900.  Not huge sums, admittedly, but suggestive of an expected ‘return on investment’ nonetheless.  Insurance companies and other large corporations also contribute ‘gifts’ to members, especially during election years.  Even if there were no strings attached, there is room for speculation.
  • Congressional healthcare – Since members of Congress believe the plan they are proposing is such a great plan, they, too, should be able to take advantage of it! It hardly seems fair that We The People should have this wonderful plan, while our elected representatives are stuck with the one they receive as part of their fringe benefits, whereby the federal government subsidizes approximately 72% of their health care costs.

Ultimately the responsibility to hold members of Congress accountable for their rhetoric and actions rests with We The People.  We must stop being influenced in election years by rhetoric and flashy ads sponsored by corporations and PACs whose interest is far different than our own.  We must say to the Mitch McConnells and the Paul Ryans, “You know what?  You did not go to bat for me over health care, so you are not going back to Washington next year.” And then we need to vote for people who have, perhaps a little less wealth and a lot more conscience.  Until we do our homework, research issues and the candidate’s views on those issues, until we all vote and vote responsibly, nothing will change.  Think about it.

* Https://ballotpedia.org/Net_worth_of_United_States_Senators_and_Representatives

 

30 thoughts on “They Just Don’t Get It …

  1. Pingback: They Just Don’t Get It – The Militant Negro™

  2. Dear Jill,

    What these clueless republican lawmakers don’t get is they have no knowledge of the insurance business. First to keep costs lower, the risk pool must be spread over as many peoples as possible (law of large numbers). For health insurance, this means that there must be a mix of healthy folks mixed in with the not so healthy folks with a pooling of as many folks as possible.This why there was the ACA mandate which is a crucial feature.

    The minute you carve out the young and healthy peoples you are skewing the insurance product to fail. This would be like home insurance COMPANIES only covering homes in California near fire prone brush areas. The company would be wiped out with one major fire. The homeowner’s insurance companies would love to and are trying to carve out homes that are in flood zones for example, but there is no way they would carve out insuring homes in low risk areas.
    Fortunately, there is a mandate when the mortgage companies demand that owners of mortgaged homes be required to carry homeowners’ insurance.

    Almost all insurance companies have their own insurance coverage called reinsurance, that they can tap into when an unforeseen event causes the insurance companies to incur unanticipated huge losses, where they are in peril of not being able to pay client’s claims.

    The (ACA) had this access to reinsurance for the first few years in the form of “risk corridors” which was established to cover insurance companies losses if somehow they ended up insuring many more unhealthy folks than what was reasonably predicted (Adverse selection.)

    But republicans sabotaged the ACA by refusing to fund this provision as required by the ACA BILL, which caused a spike in premiums/ deductibles and insurance companies leaving the ACA marketplace. .

    It is important to know that if for example, auto and homeowners’ insurance companies were barred from carrying reinsurance policies, our premiums would all spike, bigly.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, but my head spins whenever someone talks ‘insurance’ to me! This is part of the problem, too … it is too complex and daunting for the average person to understand, let alone the under-educated living in poverty. Even with ACA, there are so many problems, but if it is repealed and not replaced, or replaced with the plan the senate proposes, I can only imagine how it will affect people who do not have jobs that provide adequate income, or who do not have jobs at all. I do not believe the bill, as it stands, will pass, but the abomination is that these bloomin’ senators and representatives think it is a simple matter of choice for us, that if we didn’t buy luxury items, we could afford our healthcare. Grrrrrrrr ….

      Hugs, my friend!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Jill,

        You got the point! The folks trying to write this bill don’t understand the insurance business either but they are trying to write law that they don’t understand but that will affects about 1/6
        of the US economy. Now what is wrong with that picture?

        Would you believe that within 2 minutes, I could lay out a plan to insure more peoples, with less expensive better quality healthcare coverage, via existing current health insurance companies and still allow for savings so that lawmakers would have their tax savings?

        You know what? I think I’ll have to do a blog about this?

        Hugs, Gronda

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I didn’t fear so much disappointment looming for you.
    This current Choose not Lose is obviously the party line. No-one really believes it but they think coming up with a smart slogan will persuade the press and those people who want to believe the Republicans that this is the truth and no-one is priced out of insurance by them. People only need believe it till the bill passes.
    I think you have a huge problem in allowing businesses to make gifts to Senators and congressmen. Until it can be stopped things will always fall in favour of businesses. It’s bribery under a different name.
    As for the people voting out senators last year who have not worked on behalf of the people. There’s so much apathy that Mitch McConnell, architect of this Trumpcare will no doubt be voted in again just because he’s well known in Washington and his voters like that, it won’t matter how many people have died without hospital care.
    There should be a new slogan for the people to counteract the Republican one. Hear our cries, Don’t tell lies.
    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hear you, and I agree, though I wish I didn’t. I thought this health care debacle would be the catalyst that awakened the lemmings and made them see what they had done, see the monster of greed they had created, but that is not happening. The lemmings are still smiling and nodding … ever see the movie Stepford Wives? That is what they remind me of. I do not think the bill as it stands can pass the senate, but there will be another, and another, until finally they wear down the naysayers and We The People are once again trampled. I find that I have gone from Moderate to Liberal to Socialist in about 18 short months! Next step? Won’t matter, as ‘they’ will have destroyed the nation, if not the planet, by that time. But I must say, I love your slogan … Hear our cries, Don’t tell lies. I may begin using that on my posts! 🙂

      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, what is a sinful comparison is to contrast wealth coming in to Congress to wealth now. Even though insider trading rules were added, there is too much wealth creation going on as a member of Congress. The answer to the question do we have a corruption issue in US politics is yes, we do.

    These comments on healthcare reveal a disdain for people. To me the most offensive one is Chaffetz’. And, when they bring up not personally needing the essential benefits, the same insurance is protecting the overweight and high blood pressure polician at a higher exposure to cost for the rest of us.

    This issue is too complex and important to be done behind closed doors not recognizing key facts. Such as the GOP role in stiffing insurers for promised adverse selection payments.

    We need to open this process up and involve all parties. While the GOP chose not to vote for the ACA, there were months of committee meetings which included many Republicans. And, let us not forget Obamacare is largely based off a Republican idea. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree … it is far too complex to be relegated to the fools who are currently left in charge of the circus train, but alas … that seems to be precisely the case. I thought this would be the point where the lemmings would wake up and see what they had created, start screaming at the top of their lemming-lungs … but nope … they are still just smiling and nodding with an oddly metallic clunking sound accompanying each nod.

      Like

      • Jill, what Gronda wrote about on more detail and what I mention is a scandal no one knows about. While premiums have gone up, they have gone up more because of these GOP senators actions to stiff insurers. The dilemma is the press does not understand what this means or what it does. But it is a significant problem. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, while I admit that there are some problems that need to be worked through with ACA, I believe the GOP set out to intentionally exacerbate the problems, to make it fail, so that they could point their fingers and say, “See … we told you it wouldn’t work!”

          Like

  5. I have enjoyed Healthcare in one form or another…either via Tricare with the military or via my employers’ health care plan. The hardest thing is that many people find healthcare intimidating and overly convoluted. So, first, educating the populace properly on Health Care is important. Drafting bills in secret to try and pull one over on the rest of us is certainly not “education.” Additionally, the life of a privileged white, male republican fails to account for the financial burdens some Americans face.

    Do I have money for health care? “I’m in good health now…and I have a mortgage and a car to pay for as well as my taxes.” This is all fine and good if you are in good health and are inclined to gamble. Health Care, like car or homeowners insurance, is something we hope we do not need to use; but to go without it is courting disaster…yet, many americans have to make hard financial choices in order to keep their home or simply buy groceries for the month. A life of privilege has made the republican leadership blind to real issues their electorate faces and has made them callous in the face of preserving this appearance of Austerity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You make excellent points, and the most relevant, I think, is that health insurance is complex and intimidating. I can relate to this on a personal level … I am fairly well educated, with a BS in Accounting, a CPA, an MA in political science, and lack only the dissertation for a Ph.D. in International Relations, and yet I am completely stymied by insurance! (Mental block? Perhaps … 🙂 ) Fortunately, my friend Herb is a former insurance salesman and has helped me navigate the tangled web of insurance so that I do have a Medicare Advantage plan to supplement my Medicare, but I was so frustrated with the whole thing that I had given up trying to understand it! And even with the plan I have, as a Type I diabetic, I must purchase my insulin from Canada, for to purchase it in the U.S. would cost me more than $1,300 per month! I am an advocate of state-sponsored health care, similar to what exists in Canada, the UK, Australia and other countries, but … unfortunately the upper 1% in the economic stratosphere in this country seem to have a problem with contributing a few tax dollars to ensure that the other 99% have a chance to seek medical treatment when they need it. And the voters seem to agree. It seems to me that Congress and the administration have no concern for the welfare of the 99% who are not millionaires, who live from paycheck to paycheck, or who have no paycheck. Sigh. This, I thought, would be the issue that would awaken the lemmings and they would see that they, too, are affected … but so far, it does not seem to be happening. I’m not sure what it takes …

      Liked by 1 person

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