Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

GOP congressman: Republicans 'irresponsible' to celebrate health vote

Regarding the May 5 news article "Health care bill clears House; Senate fate iffy": Now that it appears that health care will be left up entirely to individuals, what will happen to millions of Americans who can not afford insurance?

The bill would shift power to states to set some health insurance rules, slash Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion and cut almost $600 billion in taxes under the health-care law, most of which will benefit the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans, including President Donald Trump, are trying to drown out the chorus of doctor, patient and hospital groups that say people with chronic medical conditions could be priced out of coverage under the Republican health plan that narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Thursday. Baloney. Sick people could be charged premiums so high as to make insurance unaffordable. And in the process, they may actually be making the Affordable Care Act worse and setting themselves up for a lot of electoral defeats in 2018, which would then, I think, cause the pendulum to swing back in the direction of the Affordable Care Act or maybe even a single-payer system. Private for-profit health insurers do whatever they can to insure groups of healthy people, because that's where the profits are. But they don't have to have insurance every year.

The most likely alternative under the GOP plan would be to steer many of these people into high-risk coverage pools for the medically uninsurable.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is not seeking re-election next year, warned that the bill "has the potential to severely harm the health and lives of people in south Florida".

The House doesn't care about those who can not afford reasonably priced health insurance.

"Congressman Yoder is focused on health care policy here and isn't anxious about political implications", his office said in a statement. Or avoid sick people altogether.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are on the defensive working to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

A Quinnipiac University survey in March found that American voters overwhelmingly disapproved of an earlier version of the House health-care plan by 56 percent to 17 percent.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, individual health coverage must be offered to people with pre-existing conditions, which can be anything from asthma, acne and obesity to cancer, heart disease and AIDS. Wrong again. Whatever is wrong with the Affordable Care Act could be easily fixed, but Republicans have refused to do the fixing.

"Thousands of Americans would die because they would no longer have access to care", said Senator Bernie Sanders. We will not see premiums come down for everyone. Childless Americans pay taxes for schools so children are educated. Americans with secure jobs pay into unemployment insurance so those who lose their jobs have some income until they find another.

Some House Republicans already have endured protests at home and outrage on social media in the days since the vote. They don't believe in sacrificing for the common good. "I think those members who stood with the president, the president will remember that and their voters will remember that", he said. It's all about the art of the deal. It was a perilous journey, and its Senate pathway will be at least as bumpy with little doubt the measure will change, assuming it survives.

But the House-passed legislation shows there is a different, more targeted way, to address the problem.

I hope you'll be there every step of the way, until Trumpcare collapses under the weight of its own cruelty. The bill, as now written, stands no chance of earning 60 votes in the Senate, but liberal concessions could jeopardize a new bill's ability of passing back through the House, where Freedom Caucus members are determined to slash Medicaid, attack contraceptive services, and quarantine sick patients in prohibitively expensive high-risk pools.

Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who completed focus groups in OH on Thursday evening that briefly touched on this topic, concluded that there was "considerable confusion over what was in the legislation".

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