By Jason Taylor
Any Republican bill that kills the pre-existing condition coverage is nothing short of an abject betrayal of the average American. It opens the door for those most in need of healthcare to be held hostage by their insurers. The meager additional funding to supplement insurance for pre-existing conditions is a joke. The funding lasts five years. Pre-existing conditions last forever.
The philosophy underlying the American Health Care Act is quite simple.
With a few exceptions, Republicans in Congress and the Republican in the White House believe that if you have cancer, lupus, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, or a host of other diseases, you did something to deserve it. If your disease diminishes the quality of your life, you deserve it. If you live in chronic pain, you deserve it. If you will die without costly treatment, you deserve it. And if your family thinks otherwise and steps in to help you, they deserve to be bankrupted.
These “enlightened” civic leaders have carefully crafted American Health Care Act to reflect this mindset; they are counting on the average American voter to go along with it, and they are in for quite a surprise in November 2018 when we show them just how wrong they were.
Contrary to what the majority of House Republicans believe (or pretend to believe), the bill still does nothing to ensure Americans, especially those with preexisting conditions, can actually obtain affordable health insurance. The additional funds offered through the Upton Amendment constitute a drop in the bucket when it comes to funding high-risk pools.
Cancer patients in active treatment can easily exceed $1 million dollars in treatment per year. So can extremely premature babies in the NICU. $8 billion dollars is really a drop in the bucket when it comes to healthcare. If folks with preexisting conditions can’t get affordable coverage at any point in their lives, this won’t go far. It’s a fig leaf at best, but will likely do just enough to assuage the guilt and responsibility of those on the fence.
This whole drama has been a balancing act between satisfying the most venal members of Congress and satisfying the ideologically driven but less venal members. The most venal of them are representative of those constituencies who were more than happy to believe that our black president was a Muslim, hellbent on destroying the country. If the Republicans manage to attain their goal, to water down the ACA to the extent that it does not protect our sickest and most vulnerable citizens, I blame the “moderates.” As President Obama sometimes said. “These guys know better.”
I’m all in favor of killing off Obamacare if, in the end, it means that we American citizens get what we really want – a single payer option that cuts out the insurance industry and that has the muscle to take on Big Pharma. Call it socialized medicine if you like but that is what we need. Oh, and when that day comes, Americans will embrace it with no less fervor than we have embraced social security.
Thank you, GOP for your continued efforts to make sure Americans cannot get health insurance or go bankrupt paying for health care. Your efforts will not be forgotten.