Disclaimer – though this is a blatant political post, I want to stress that it is in no way intended to lean in one direction or the other, insult any of our governmental leadership other than the blatant failure to guarantee health care for each and every citizen of the United States of America. Health care for all should be a right, and not a privilege simply for those who can afford it.
I belong to no political party as I detest attributes (I will not call them values because I believe most of our representatives value only the money that is accepted by them, from their lobbyists, that normally determine how each will vote.) of both parties.
Now that I have that off my chest, I must say that there appears to be some sort of encouraging news today out of Washington. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has been quoted that efforts in dealing with health care, may just be heading to a bipartisan effort. To understand what this Herculean effort means, look at the history.
President Obama approves the Affordable Care Act. While Democrats do not argue that improvements need to be made to the ACA, over the next 7 years of Obama’s presidency, nothing major is accomplished in doing so. During those same 7 years, Republicans concentrate only on “repealing” the entire act – no improvements, just complete repeal, and have nothing but empty promises to replace.
Elections are charged up with emotion, both parties running on the campaign promises to either “improve” or “repeal” the ACA, but now the Republican party is offering hints at replacing the ACA, because at this point, even the Republican party can see the same good that has come from certain parts of the ACA, while still recognizing the other problems of the ACA. But with the election of 2016, one political party has complete control to make everything happen, the Republicans control the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. Taking care of health care should be a slam dunk with the Democratic party basically having no say in the process.
But there is a group within the Republican party as I mentioned, that sees part of the ACA being a good thing. It is another group though, publicly referred to as “extreme right wing”, that have put their foot down and said the entire ACA must go, anything less than that, and these certain Senators will not even vote along with their party to “partly” replace the health care bill with another.
Here is the thing. All Republicans campaigned with the promise of Repeal. The President ran with Repeal and Replace. As it stands right now, someone is going to end up breaking their campaign promise. Even the latest rumor, and actual tweet from the president, “if the current bill is not approved before the July 4th break, then immediately repeal the ACA, and we will replace later.” That clearly is a broken promise by the president. But for those who support “repeal now” and “replace later,” they put an asterisk by that comment by saying, the repeal would not take effect for a year to allow time to come up with a replacement. Well, then that would be a broken promise by the government representatives who promised to repeal immediately (technically by the president also – until he found out how difficult health care was).
If you truly believe that the ACA could be repealed, and a replacement guaranteed within a year, then clearly you have not payed attention to this discussion for the last eight years, especially the last six months. I also would have some beach front property in Las Vegas to sell you.
I want to make you understand, what is at stake with flat out repealing the ACA, especially without any decent and humane replacement plan.
Repeal the ACA and you…
go back to being discriminated against to qualify for insurance based on pre existing conditions
go back to life-time limits which for many can occur within the first week of someone’s life
higher premiums based on older age
will continue just as before the ACA, with the ACA, and today, to see increased insurance premiums
These four reasons alone are why the Affordable Care Act cannot be repealed 100%. Just cancer survivors like myself, would automatically no longer able to get health insurance. Sure, a certain party wants you to believe that pre-existing conditions will be covered, but refuse to accept that allowing high risk rates for us, would price us out of health care, these representatives will simply sit back and say, “not our problem.”
Recently, a story was published about a 3-year old boy, named Ethan Chandra, who had been born with a birth defect called Heterotaxy syndrome which causes a whole lot of complications internally with any or all body organs. The bill for the corrective surgery for his heart was over $230,000 of which, covered under the ACA, only cost his mother $500. Clearly, without the ACA, the family would have lost everything, and the child himself had the possibility of nearing what would have been a lifetime cap. And while our government argues over the merits of health care being a right or a privilege, even those against health care reform offered absurd and offensive comments directed at this poor child and mother.
Even with a Republican controlled government, I do not see an end to “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act. Sure, it is great that finally the Democrats may be included. In all honesty, they should have been working on improvements even under the new president. But now, if efforts of a bipartisan attempt fail, we may finally have representatives to come forward with the only proposal that will work, health care for all. If I had to guess, an out of control premium and deductible would be replaced with a tax. And while no one likes to hear the word “tax”, a set tax rate to cover health care is easily more controlled than greedy insurance companies.
We are the only industrialized country that does not guarantee health care for its citizens, in spite of us having some of the best care available in the world, only if you can afford it. But no matter what health care bill gets passed, unlike the ACA, if there are problems, passing the bill is not good enough. Improvements must be made. So for all that want to point to “wait” times of certain countries, look at other countries who do not have that issue. The system can work, and has worked with many countries having it in place for decades.
And for those who fear the term “socialism,” I call bullshit. You cannot be afraid of providing health care for everyone, yet support the fire department, the police department, ambulance personnel, and a whole list of other programs paid for by our taxes. The only ones who are afraid of a “socialist” program like universal health care, are the ones that have the most to lose, insurance companies, and Big Pharm. And just like the debate of legalizing medical marijuana as an option to Big Pharm opioid control, money continues to do the loudest talking from the pockets of our representatives who are supposed to be “of the people”, and “for the people.”
Do not repeal the Affordable Care Act. Either fix it, or accept that the only humane, Christian (apologies to my atheist friends but unfortunately as one political party hides behind their religion, I have to call out their hypocrisy), and right option, is health care for all.