Repealing Obamacare Part One: Making America sick again

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When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took off, we had no way of anticipating how many people would need — and use — their healthcare coverage for (drum roll) preventative care. No matter how you slice it, research shows that preventative care ultimately lowers the likelihood of many high risk and high cost ailments later in life.

The new Healthcare Bill appears to be nothing more than this administration’s way of attempting to insult our former administration in a game of “My picture’s better!” Never you mind that Trump is basically tearing off a decent drawing with some flaws and hanging up Macaroni and Cheese Art that not even the most loving mother of a preschooler would hang on her fridge.

Speaking of preschool, the attitudes surrounding the creation and insistence upon this new anathema are surely on that level.

President Trump: The still living demagogue

Sadly, once entertaining talk show hosts are beginning to be the unlikely canaries in the coal mines, with their usual topics and light-hearted fodder dying in favor of monologues that sound eerily like dying gasps for common sense — and anti-eulogies for a still living demagogue.

When Trump was making his campaign promises, he promised to do away with Obamacare, and to replace it. Beyond that, details were vague. But for some reason, this is the issue upon which he would like to prove himself trustworthy. Of course, the few “details” he gave are not even close to accurate. Not only does this proposed plan cover fewer people, it is not affordable. It’s not giving you the freedom to choose your healthcare so much as it’s making you choose whether you want healthcare. I mean, you could just get sick and stay sick. That’s an option, freedom loving ‘Merica.

And let’s not even get started on Paul Ryan’s feeble attempt to try and convince us that Trump was actually involved in writing legislation. More than one source now has noted that this claim is fairly unbelievable, and the fact that Republicans are speaking out against this disaster is telling.

ABC’s Quinn Scanlan reported such, using quotes from Senator Rand Paul, who predicted in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that the House will “repeal part of it and leave in place all of the stuff that causes your insurance rates to go through the roof.”

Using the presidents’ favorite communication forum, Michigan Representative Justin Amash continually tweeted his dissent, stating: “They haven’t changed the bill’s general framework. They don’t have the votes to pass it. They have seriously miscalculated.”

Have they?

Calculations are amuck everywhere, with Maureen Groppe of USA Today reporting on Monday, March 20th, 2017, that the original version of the bill is supported by some data from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO predicts that many will “drop coverage once they are no longer required to have it” and “by 2026, premiums would be about 10 percent lower than projected under the ACA.” This, she reports, is due to the demographic of those covered (younger, healthier), and the fact that people who don’t have insurance through their job but have no health problems are unlikely to buy health insurance if they are not threatened by a tax penalty for lack of coverage.

Ah, it all makes sense. Of course, if you’re talking about a program that allows for people to pay their bills when they deliberately plan to be ill, hospitalized or injured, insurance is exactly not that. Way to go, CBO! (Let’s just turn that into the title of a warped Dr. Seuss book on missing the big picture by staring at the bottom line.) It’s worth noting that calculations have not been made for the revised version of the bill, but come this Thursday, Americans will learn what the Government really thinks of its citizens.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
delivering the spin (YouTube)

Based on what we see in the new Budget proposal (cutting massive funding for PBS, Meals on Wheels, After School Programs, and WIC), they don’t care about poor people, old people, or children.

That sentiment will be echoed if there’s enough fervor to launch this monstrosity that would cut vital aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as including substance abuse and mental health coverage as part of Medicaid. All this is happening at a time when we’ve seen a spike in our opioid abuse crisis, and we have been rising to meet the challenge.

Given that the passing of this or any similar piece of legislation would also likely cause over 20 million people to lose coverage entirely, preventive care is also in danger. According to NBC, premiums for older and low-income Americans are expected to increase the most, with some reports indicating rates more than triple those paid under the ACA.

Not to beat a dead horse, but the loss of mental health/substance abuse coverage as part of the Medicaid expansion would have drastic implications. (1) Addiction treatment has finally transcended the either-or models seeking to define it as a medical or a moral deficiency, thus we are beginning to embrace the complexity of compassionate treatment for those in the throes of addiction. (2) We have also finally climbed aboard with the rest of the civilized world when it comes to preventative care. Now, there’s a distinct possibility that we will essentially be calling these ideals into question again, making addiction treatment and preventive care a privilege once again, rather than a right. It isn’t a luxury to offer your citizens access to keep themselves well; It’s a damn good strategy for a strong nation.

And who are those people who are set up to benefit from Trump’s plan? Well, the rich will fare quite well, which says something about the state of our union already.

Part Two will be coming soon.

Top photo: YouTube screen shot of House GOP leadership explaining how Trumpcare will (not) benefit all.