How Healthcare becomes Wealthcare

Senate Republicans concern’s with healthcare “reform” are all about tax cuts for the wealthy. And they are leaving no toadstool unturned in their efforts to make it happen. Their brand of hypocrisy starts with voting for a motion to proceed … I mean debate without having the slightest idea of what they would be voting on, passing it by a 51 to 50 margin, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

After watching his previous efforts failed, Senate Majority Leader McConnell went the full Hail Mary, shaking his etch-a-sketch, resetting the legislative board as it were. First, telling Senators they just voted to “debate” the House’s version of zombie care, the American Health Care Act, and then changing directions by opening the floor for debate on the Senate’s previously failed plan A; repeal and replace which promptly collapsed.

By these actions, McConnell makes it clear that he intends to do everything possible to by-pass the Senates usual deliberative process, where only minor amendments to House bills are even considered. Unlike the Kabuki like spectacle of flying John McCain cross country, fresh from his brain surgery, so he could deliver his hypocritical vote, and speech to the sounds of thunderous applause.

Over the course of the next few days, we shall see if Senate Republicans procedural smoke and mirrors provides  them with enough cover to pass something really bad like the “Skinny Repeal,” or will they have to settle for the simply heinous? Now that plan B; partial repeal has failed, it remains to be seen if they can they fabricate a Trojan horse big enough to hold 50 Republicans for their final vote, or if they capable of getting any plan through?

Should they manage to pass some version of wealthcare through, the Senate and House bills go to a “Conference Committee” where a small group of Senators and House Representatives hammer out final language. Assuming they can agree on the final language, both chambers must pass that bill before sending it back to the Drumpf to sign or veto.

As depressing as all this sounds, this isn’t over, it’s just the beginning. If Republican’s efforts to repeal the ACA are stopped in the Senate, they will have little choice but to move on to more pressing issues, like the debt ceiling and the budget. However, if it manages to gets to conference, they will rewrite it to be as draconian and punitive as possible, knowing they have the numbers to pass it in both chambers.

So if you want to protect your access to affordable healthcare, don’t waste energy kvetching, stay focused and start calling your Senators to defeat this wealthcare bill.  And since most of the Senators are from other states, here’s a guide to how you can help pressure them to vote no on Zombie care.

The health care industry represents roughly one sixth of the US economy with Americans spending significantly more per capita than other developed nations, with far worse outcomes. Even the ACA’s biggest beneficiaries, the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries are saying that if it is repealed, the effects will ripple throughout our society.

The first wave will be 20 to 30 million people loosing their health care, whose growing use of emergency rooms will tax an already overwhelmed system. Accompanied by many rural hospitals and clinics providing care, particularly opioid treatment closing due to a lack of funding, leaving more damage in their wake.

And despite Republican’s claims otherwise, their cuts to Medicaid will screw folks with physical and cognitive disabilities, and particularly the elderly ten ways from Sunday. While millions of others with traditional health insurance will end up paying more for in premiums for substandard healthcare thanks to unchecked free market forces.

Beyond ensuring tax breaks for the wealthy, Republicans intend to bring back; life time caps, along with pre-existing conditions, actions which will effectively put affordable and reliable health insurance out of reach for all but the wealthiest. Convinced that enough people buy their lie of “you’re not loosing health care; you’re gaining the freedom to choose.”

No one will notice what they really mean by freedom is that it’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

Jon Taylor

Editors Note: this is an expanded version of an unpublished letter submitted to the Central Virginian, Louisa county’s paper of record.

 

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