Carol Fischer: ACHA will doom the sick
May 31, 2017
The Senate has formed a committee to finalize the Senate version of the American Health Care Act. It has 13 members: 12 white guys and one Cuban (Ted Cruz). No females and No Democrats.
These 13 men will write the Senate’s health care bill in secret Republican-only meetings. No media allowed. Our fate is in the hands of these 13. What could possibly go wrong?
There are no experts on this committee. Senator Lamar Alexander, who was chair of the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee, was barred. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La., who have introduced their own health care plan and have been prominent voices in the debate, were excluded. There are no actuaries in this group. No one with knowledge of monetary problems and solutions related to the health care industry is on the committee.
The legislation is moving under special budget rules known as reconciliation. This means it is not subject to usual filibuster rules and cannot be blocked by the minority party. Senators and House members have expressed a range of concerns about the task ahead including:
• Avoiding the political consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood. They are rightly guessing this will cause outrage from we the people.
• Converting Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a fixed block grant. Doing so would mean that some low-income Americans would not be automatically covered by a program that currently covers 70 million Americans.
• Avoiding premiums going up as five times higher for people over 60. It is predicted that 23 million people will loose health care coverage if the bill passed by the Congress were to be enacted.
There are several Republican Senators who are highly skeptical of anything that is being discussed. They fear a catastrophe in the next election cycle when people figure out what has happened.
I highly recommend everyone take some time and contact each one of the members of this committee and suggest they scrap any thoughts of passing a bill anything like what is being considered. As it stands right now, there will be huge tax cuts for the rich and heartache and pain for the poor.
The only sane solution to the deplorable state of our health care system is going to be some form of Health Care for All. Congressman John Conyers has introduced HR676 – Medicare For All, and it now has 110 co-sponsors in the House. It's what the majority of Americans want.
It is up to all of us to make our voices heard and try to turn this toward a solution that will last for generations. Point out to this committee that anything like the AHCA will doom their party, but more importantly, it will doom those who are sick and need good health care. While getting behind something like HR676 will make them heroes to their constituents, and it will be the right thing to do for the country, and for our children and grandchildren.