House Republicans’ hateful healthcare bill

By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook

On Thursday, May 4  U.S. House Republicans sealed their fate by passing one of the meanest bills in Congressional history. Now we just need to do our job in the 2018 election. Trump and House Republicans held a big celebration after passing their so-called healthcare bill by a 217 for to 213 against margin, with about 20 Republicans standing with House Democrats to protect the rights of Americans for affordable healthcare.

It is important to understand what they were celebrating, however, to really know the hearts of the people who voted for this bill. So here it is. They were celebrating narrowly passing a bill out of the House of Representatives that will do the following.

1.   Cause over 24 million Americans to lose their healthcare.

2.   Will cut Medicaid by $900 billion, causing millions of children, elderly, disabled Americans, and low income families to lose their healthcare benefits.
3.    Drastically decrease coverage for all of us by eliminating all Obamacare Essential Benefits like out-patient, emergency, preventive, pregnancy, pediatric care, prescription drugs and mental health services.

4.It will eliminate coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and place all people with these medical conditions in a high risk health pool. The kind of ailments covered under Obamacare that House Republicans have included in their high risk pool are AIDS/HIV, alcohol/ drug treatment, Alzheimers/ dementia, arthritis, cancer, cerebral palsy, congestive heart failure, heart disease/ bypass surgery, diabetes, epilepsy, hemophilia, hepatitis, kidney disease/ renal failure, lupus, depression/ mental disorders, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, obesity, organ transplant, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, pneumocystic pneumonia, pending surgery or hospitalization, pregnancy, sleep apnea, stroke, high blood pressure, sickle cell, and almost any ailment insurance companies choose to include in this list. It is so broad that someone in every family is likely to be included in this high risk group.

5.    Insurance companies can place people with the above ailments in a High Risk Pool and charge premiums as high as $26,000 a year for health coverage.
6.The plan would increase health costs for 130 million Americans.

7.The Obama healthcare subsidy for Americans living below the federal poverty line will be eliminated.

8.Large businesses will no longer be required to provide health coverage for employees.

9.States will be allowed to opt out of requiring insurance companies to provide basic health coverage for residents of their state.

10.Healthcare costs for older Americans will increase to at least 5 times the cost for younger Americans. Not a good thing unless children and grandchildren don’t care about the well being of their parents and grandparents.

11.With savings in the federal budget created by denying health care to millions of Americans, Republicans will give a huge tax cut to the wealthiest among us. Way to go GOP. Punish the most vulnerable in our country in order to give more money to the rich.

Professor Jonathan Gruber, considered the architect of Obamacare, says the Medicaid cuts that will provide this huge tax break for the rich “is the biggest redistribution of money from the poor and elderly to the rich in recent American history”. He noted that Obamacare brought healthcare rates down to 8%, the lowest in decades. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff shared an experience he had with a constituent who was angry over his vote in favor of Obamacare in 2009 who stated, “People who can’t afford healthcare shouldn’t have it”. That seems to also be the position of most of the House Republicans who are happy with American tax payers providing them with the best healthcare money can buy, while denying even basic healthcare to the rest of us.

Thank God, in spite of the big celebration by Trump, Ryan, and their Republican colleagues who voted for this awful Bill, Obamacare is still the law of the land unless the U.S. Senate approves it as passed by the House of Representatives. Thankfully, the Senate has indicated it will wait to have the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score the House Bill and report on the true cost to the federal government and the American people before considering the Bill. The U.S. Senate consists of 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats, instead of the overwhelming Republican majority in the House of Representatives; which should make approval much harder if we let our Senators know we want them to remember who sent them to Washington and vote their constituents’ interests.

We cannot sit and wait for others to protect us. We must get in this fight to preserve our own rights. And we must remember who turned their backs on us when we go to the polls in 2018. If we don’t, we will deserve what we get.

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