Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stop the Make America Sick Again Act

House Speaker Paul Ryan introduces the GOP health-care plan, March 7, 2017. (photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)
House Speaker Paul Ryan introduces the GOP health-care plan, March 7, 2017. (photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Why does anybody believe anything Republicans say?   They are not on our side.

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
or Donald Trump and the greedy Republican Congress, erasing the signature legislative accomplishment of Barack Obama is more important than the health of Americans. We will always remember Lincoln for freeing the slaves, FDR for the new deal, LBJ for the war on poverty. Many of those accomplishments took tweaking after flawed rollouts. The Affordable Care Act has saved people’s lives and has the potential to be even better if we correct its flaws.

First Donald Trump tried to delegitimize our first African American president with his racist birther movement. That didn’t work, so now he is trying to erase Obama’s legacy and throw millions of people off of their health care. They claim to be scrapping an unsustainable system. They say they are keeping the good parts of the Affordable Care Act and repealing the bad.

What they aren’t telling you is premiums will skyrocket under their hastily created program. Let us start with the elimination of the individual mandate. I said eight years ago that the mandate would be political suicide without a public option to hold down cost. The mandate was necessary, however, to pay for the increased cost to insurance companies who have to cover people with catastrophic expenses. Take me for example: I am on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant. Aetna has to pay my bills. The reason they are not losing money is the mandate requires healthy people to buy insurance.

Some say, “I’m healthy, why should I pay for the costs of unhealthy people?” The answer is simple, we are all going to get old, and our body parts will stop working as intended. I once heard a differently abled person speak at a rally. She said disability issues should be important to everyone, because we are all going to become disabled – it is called growing old.

The Affordable Care Act was flawed. When the Republicans removed the public option from the original legislation, they removed the most effective cost control in the bill. By removing the individual mandate from their replacement version, they are guaranteeing skyrocketing premiums. Insurance companies will have to find another way to make up for the money they will lose covering people with long-term illnesses.

“The Make America Sick Again Act” proposed by the Republicans is a big win for the wealthy and corporations. They get their taxes cut and will no longer be required to provide insurance for their employees. The big losers are the middle class and the poor, who will lose their subsidies. Many who get Medicaid as the result of Medicaid expansion will lose their coverage. They won’t be able to afford healthcare, and without the mandate, they will choose to go without healthcare. We will return to the days when people get sicker because they cannot afford to go the doctor.

I know what that is all about. I went without for years, and my untreated diabetes damaged my kidneys. The Republicans argue that insurance companies will not be able to deny anyone based on pre-existing conditions. People may not go without insurance for their condition. Instead, they will go without healthcare because they can’t afford it. Sure, everyone will have access; I have access to buy a brand new Jaguar, that doesn’t mean I can afford to buy one.

The bill also defunds Planned Parenthood. We all know what that is all about. The defunding of Planned Parenthood and the rollback of Medicaid expansion are the legislation’s Achilles heel. Only two Republican senators need to vote against the repeal to kill the bill. There are Republican senators who oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. There are also senators in states that expanded Medicaid and oppose leaving the states holding the bag.

It is not a done deal. We can save the Affordable Act. We are still waiting for estimates on the cost of this legislation. There is one estimate that the tax cuts will cost us $600 billion dollars. That doesn’t include the revenue insurance companies will lose from the ending of the individual mandate. That cost will be passed onto you and me and will once again put healthcare out of the reach of millions of Americans.

The Make America Sick Again Act must be stopped.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

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