Today, the United States House of Representatives put another nail in the coffin of the country I once loved. Lately, every time I turn on the news, I see more evidence that empathy, citizenship and ethics are a way of the past for the people (especially the leaders) of this country. Nationalism, fear, selfishness, isolationism, xenophobia, conceit, and arrogance, and violence are on the rise, not just here, but all over the world. We see the signs in the campaigns and elections in the U.S., the U.K., and France, in the increasing numbers of hate crimes and civil rights violations, in the more open and less covert activities of hate groups like the KKK and other white nationalist groups.
I feel like, despite my protestations, my heart is being ripped out of my chest and stomped on…. except it’s not just my chest – I’m watching it happen to millions of fellow citizens. And the people doing the stomping? They claim it’s for our own good. “America First.” Screw that.
But let’s get back to today.
Today, Republicans passed their healthcare plan that would “repeal & replace” the Affordable Care Act (A.K.A Obamacare). The Republican plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), just scraped passing by a single vote. Thankfully, not a single Democrat voted in support of this dangerous and unethical plan, one that Nancy Pelosi called a “cowardly choice.” [Trump Scores Victory in House (BBC)]
The American Health Care Act now needs to pass in the Senate, and I really hope that Republican and Independent senators take a hard, realistic look at the data and listen to what medical and fiscal experts have to say.
WHY is this new plan so dangerous? Well, a variety of reasons, but most importantly, it eliminates the guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions that was part of The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). BUT, let’s not gloss over a supremely important fact: there is a congressional exemption regarding this clause!! Yes, that’s right – insurers would still be required “to continue guaranteeing pre-existing condition coverage to members of Congress.
I and many of my family members and friends would be denied coverage. How bad would it get? According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), the uninsured rate would go up by 14 million more people NEXT YEAR ALONE if the American Health Care Act is signed into law. By 2026, that would go up to 24 million more uninsured (compared to the ACA/Obamacare).
“If ever there was a war on seniors, Trumpcare — this bill — is it,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
That is because the AHCA would allow health insurance companies to charge up to 5 time more for older patients (rather than three times more under Obamacare). According to a report by the non-partisan CBO, the effect would be “substantially reducing premiums for young adults and substantially raising premiums for older people.” [source]
[Read more here: Congressional exemption from GOP healthcare plan to be addressed separately (The Hill), Republican Bill Still Exempts Republicans in Congress From Repeal of Obamacare Protections (Slate)]
These are just a FEW of the groups opposing the passage of this dangerous bill:
- The American Medical Association (AMA)
- American Nurses Association
- American College of Physicians
- National Nurses United
- National Physicians Alliance
- Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Hospital Association & Federation of American Hospitals
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
- American Health Care Association
- America’s Hospitals and Health Systems
- America’s Essential Hospitals
- American Public Health Association
- National Disability Rights Network
- National Partnership Women and Families
- American Federation for Suicide Prevention
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Children’s Defense Fund