Not just “Affordable”, the American Health Care Act also seems to have taken a lot of healthcare out as well leaving just an Act. The remaining “Act” seems much like Act V of Macbeth–pure tragedy.
Finally, everyone can read the bill, including the 13 Senators who were diligently “working” on it. How, you may ask, can people sitting behind closed doors day in and day out for a couple months not have read the text? Oh, they chatted about it, sure enough, but the people who ultimately put the words on paper are not the senators who wander Statuary Hall seeking enough fame to get their faces put on a cereal box. The people who wrote this bill are lobbyists paid by Aetna, Humana, and Anthem.
This bill has some Republican ideas, like taking care away from 22 million people–15 million in the first year, and returning tax money to rich citizens. But, mostly it is an insurance company deregulation, taking us back to the pre 2010 “age of profit” era. Democrats could have been included in forming the bill, except “all they want to talk about is single payer, universal, Medicare for all (or some variation).” Over-the-top Capitalist Republicans and for-profit insurance companies will have nothing to do with that kind of talk–“Out damned spot.”
I’m not going to write about the millions of people benefiting today from getting healthcare for which they could only dream eight years ago. The poor, the sick, the disabled, and the huddled masses can go to a doctor or hospital and not have to worry about going into unfathomable debt, or ripping off the rest of us by simply not paying the bill and passing costs along as higher premiums. Nor will I write about how drastically Medicaid will be cut affecting funds for rural hospitals, insurance for 39% of all children (76% of poor kids and 60% of kids with disabilities), and 49% of all births in the U.S.
I won’t write about that stuff. I’ll write about what is important to those lobbyists, their insurance company bosses, the 13 Senate members who are allowing this to be ghostwritten for them, and those wealthy donors who actually get a say in Republican governance. I’ll write about money.
I agree. Obamacare needs to be revised. All the actual healthcare stuff is cool, but new ways of getting money into the system must be explored–early Medicare buy-ins and public options in the exchanges to help with choice and consistency are two ideas.
The Conservative way is to force healthcare to run within the free market. This works for selling cars, vacation cruises, and most everything else in our economy, but it doesn’t work well with healthcare. We had healthcare run by a free market before 2010. Lest we forget, premiums were going up faster then than they are now, only a select group could be covered, and some cheap policies didn’t cover anything people needed.
Yet still they persist.
The Senate bill mirrors the House of Representatives’ bill. A reader would be hard pressed to find any wording exclusively about healthcare. What that reader finds is hundreds of words about taxes and even a bailout. The bill gives most of the $800 billion Conservatives seem excited to cut from the ACA back to the richest people. In the first year alone, the top one percent of earners will get $33,000 each in tax cuts. Even better, the top one tenth of one percent (.01%) will each get $197 thousand more yearly to stash in their off-shore accounts. The top 400 wealthiest citizens, those who get checks over $300 million (I hesitate to say “earned”, at this point money just piles up.), will receive a tax break worth $7 million a year. The money comes from programs that serve the poorest and sickest. The cuts eliminate taxes these ultra rich are already paying and even so, are still getting richer. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) enjoys saying that any tax cut is going to benefit the rich because, with our progressive tax system, they pay more. Fair enough, simply don’t cut taxes. We don’t have to, they don’t need it, and the government does.
Health insurance companies are making record profits too. They are a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Yes, the small divisions of those companies that provide coverage on the state exchanges are losing money. But, the rest of the industry is so sound, they set record profits every year. They are making a ton of money, but refuse to take a loss on a division that is about six percent of their business and is a boon for Americans–“Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
Not all of that $800 billion is going back to the already rich as a tax rebate. A big pile of this money is going to the insurance companies. It looks like a simple bribe to encourage them to stay in the markets.
One last fact, people earning $10,000 to $75,000 per year will see an increase in both taxes and healthcare premiums. Now, that’s mean.
That is how the AHCA strikes both “affordable” and “healthcare”. What’s left is an act–a tragic act with “eye of newt and toe of frog” stirred into the cauldron.