Tag Archives: PPACA

Nobody ever died from Obamacare.

This week, Republicans in the House of Representatives rolled out what they had been trying to hide from the public for about a week: the “repeal and replace” legislation for healthcare.

Known as The American Health Care Act, the bill covers many things. In time-honored Republican tradition, it wants to eliminate the right to coverage in exchange for tax breaks. And that’s just the beginning.

What’s surprising to me though, is how much resistance to this legislation has materialized from nearly everywhere, including from conservatives. And I’m left wondering: why is the response to this different?

“We want a system that is affordable and accessible.”
Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary

I could write 10,000 words on how this bill would make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions who depend on Obamacare plans right now. Not to mention the incredible balloon to the federal deficit this bill would undoubtedly unleash.

But that’s not all. The bill also wants to reduce Medicaid expansion, putting a lot of the burden on individual states, which creates an atmosphere where health care could be more affordable in one state and less affordable across the state line; and mostly, on the people most likely to be hurt by that—the poor. These are not the people many decry as just taking a handout while providing nothing in return. Trust me: you don’t want to be a Medicaid recipient. But it’s better than nothing.

The bill also defunds Planned Parenthood. Now, you may not like Planned Parenthood, and I won’t try to change your mind on that, but if you want to put them out of business, you’ll have to find another way for women to get cancer screenings. Or women will die who otherwise don’t have to.

That’s a lot of what I think is missing from this debate. All I’m hearing is political spin about choice and tax incentives. Nobody seems to be talking about the people who will be bankrupted or killed as a result of the havoc that this legislation would enact. I’m not stretching to say that. Even Republican lawmakers admit that it will cost more.

“So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah

Well, representative Chaffetz, I do not have an iPhone. I do know many people who have iPhones because it’s the only mobile platform that will allow them to see real time blood glucose data on their children living with diabetes. You know, the disease they did not “make a choice” to get. Many of these parents are Republican, many are not. Their children still have diabetes.

He’s tried to walk that statement back after some initial uproar over its insensitivity, but even the walkback didn’t sound like much of a mea culpa. Overall, it still sounds like he’s repeating the stupid sound bites he’s been fed by his friends over drinks at the country club.

“If we did nothing, the law would collapse and leave everybody without affordable healthcare. We are doing an act of mercy by repealing this law and replacing it with patient-centered healthcare reforms.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Failing after seven years. Seven. Not six months. Not a year or two. Seven. Years.

I know he and his Republican colleagues in congress have been trying to kill this law for seven years, and with all the power in the U.S. government at their disposal, they still can’t get it done. Why?

People and patients, conservative and liberal, can see right through the arguments. Not because of their political leanings. What’s missing here is the acknowledgement that both Republicans and Democrats have children, spouses, and parents who need and deserve care. They all have the same needs, and the number one need of all is to keep their loved ones alive. The number two priority is to keep them as healthy as possible without going broke.

People don’t need detailed actuarial analysis. They don’t need political spin. They need to answer three questions: Will I keep my coverage? Will it at least cover the same things that are covered today? Will it cost more?

So far, the answers to those three questions is Maybe, No, and Yes.

People understand that Obamacare isn’t the best thing ever. Many would like to chuck Obamacare into the river and start over with something new. Many are eager for that. But… they’re going to take care of themselves and their loved ones first. The reality is, if you can’t at least give people the same access to care without it costing thousands of dollars more, they’d rather have the devil they do know as opposed to the devil they don’t.

Bottom line: the proposed legislation needs to be at least as good as the legislation it wants to eliminate. Otherwise, if you’re one of the 20 million with coverage through Obamacare, or one of the tens of millions with a loved one being helped through Obamacare, why would you want a change? Don’t forget, there are Republican as well as Democrat voters in this group. By and large, the message I’m hearing from both sides is:

It’s not Repeal and Replace. It’s Repeal and Deny.

It’s not Repeal and Replace. It’s Repeal and Bankrupt.

It’s not Repeal and Replace. It’s Repeal and Kill.

No one ever died from Obamacare. As the debate on health care rages, let’s keep the focus right where it belongs. On American Lives.

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The Republican formula, in three easy steps.

**Author’s note: I do not have a political affiliation. Over the course of nearly 37 years, I have voted for Democrats and Republicans, and others too. I am fiercely independent politically, and I plan to stay that way for the rest of my days.

January has never seemed colder.

On inauguration day, the United States Congress and the incoming President will set in motion the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite what some who support the incoming president believe, this is also known as Obamacare. Republicans in Congress and the republican President are taking away the established right to health care for 350 million American citizens.

That’s right… this is about more than the 29 million people living with diabetes, or the 14.5 million cancer survivors, or the 30 to 50 percent of men over 40 living with erectile dysfunction in the USA.

They’re taking away the right to care, treatment, and drugs for every single one of us, whether we’re currently living with a disease, condition, illness, or nothing at all. We will once again be on our own.

They’re doing this for a number of reasons, but mostly, because they want to take away my right to health care, and because they can. They can because they have a majority in the House of Representatives, and through the budget reconciliation process, they only need 50 votes in the Senate to repeal the law.

And that replacement that everyone kept harping on under the guise of “repeal and replace”? The idea was never to “repeal and replace immediately”, or to “repeal and replace with something better”. There’s a formula in place here, and this is what it looks like:

1. Repeal as soon as possible. Republicans can pretty much check that off their list.

2. Draft a replacement. Any replacement. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter that it’s not better (ACA is not perfect by any stretch, but the ideas being bandied about by congressional Republicans are sinister). It can be written on the back of a cocktail napkin for all they care. They just need to draft a replacement, and introduce it at the last minute before the vote. Here’s why… listen closely:

3. Vote on the replacement. This vote would pass the House easily, with a simple majority. But in the Senate, the replacement would require 60 votes. The Republicans don’t have 60 seats in the Senate, so that’s never going to happen. Here’s the entire point I’m making– pay attention: When Democrats won’t vote for the “replacement”, Republicans will have everything they need to then go to their press conferences and Meet the Press and Face the Nation and say, “we have a replacement like we promised, but Democrats won’t vote for it, so Democrats are holding up health care for everyone”.

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s how the Republican formula will work. They’ve been wanting to repeal this law for over six years now. Do you think they wouldn’t have a plan in place to try to make themselves look benevolent while making their opposition look opportunistic? There’s only one little thing though…

Republicans are taking away the right to health care for 350 million Americans. That right already existed. It was already tested in the courts. It was already the law of the land. There was no need to repeal it without replacing it with something better, or without rewriting the existing law. Republicans own that. For their part, Democrats are even willing to discuss changes to make Obamacare better, as long as all Americans retain their right to coverage in the process.

But, for whatever reason, Republicans aren’t interested in that. They, and the incoming president, would rather see all Americans without a right to health care than see Americans spend one more day with guaranteed coverage under ACA.

Well, that’s how I see things shaping up over the next few weeks. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the final outcome will be better than anyone had imagined. Right now, I’m still coming to grips with the idea that Republican lawmakers hate us, all of us, all 350 million of us, and are working as we speak to take away our right to heath care forever, guaranteeing that in the aftermath of their plan, some Americans will, in fact, die.

In that respect, Republicans are right… on the streets of D.C., life is cheap. They’re on their way to guaranteeing it.

PPACA Survives intact.

Healthcare advocates throughout my country were thrilled yesterday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) that allowed for subsidies to help patients pay for healthcare insurance obtained through insurance exchanges nationwide.

Had the justices overturned that part of the legislation, something akin to chaos in the insurance marketplace could have ensued, owing to the fact that many who can barely afford coverage with the subsidy probably would have dropped their coverage and risked prosecution for not being covered at all. It might have meant that many who are relatively healthy but still couldn’t afford the coverage without a subsidy would drop their coverage, which would have put insurers in a tough spot, with too many chronic and acute issues to pay for, and not enough money coming in from healthy patients to make up the difference.

The vote of the nine-justice panel was 6 to 3. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, once again surprising many who thought he was the perfect neo-conservative to lead the highest court in the land when President Bush appointed him to the post a decade ago. His remarks included this little nugget:

”Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”
 
 
Imagine that… he goes against nearly every republican in America, using one of their biggest rallying cries to do it: Free Market Capitalism!

The dissenting opinion, given from the bench by Justice Antonin Scalia, smacked of sour grapes, though I guess every dissenting opinion does to some degree. At one point, he got laughter from the courtroom for saying “We really should start calling this law SCOTUS-care”. He also referred to the majority opinion as “interpretive jiggery-pokery”.

Well, I’m just a high school graduate, so I never learned from books that contained such eloquent terms as “jiggery-pokery”, but I really hope that Justice Scalia, or Justice Alito, or Justice Thomas, who also sided with the minority, never have to experience moments where they have to choose between paying for healthcare for themselves or a loved one, and paying the rent. Republican members of the U.S. Congress, for their part, are still vowing to repeal this important legislation. They’ve already tried repealing all or parts of it 67 times.

I will also point out that a day later, our fair republic still stands, and still stands for the right to healthcare for everyone.

If we’re not for that, what are we saying? Really… if you’re against my right to affordable healthcare, are you saying that, although my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes is not my fault, I don’t deserve to be able to afford to pay for care, drugs, and devices? Are you saying I should “work harder”, “get another job”, “do whatever it takes”, or adhere to some other catchphrase out of the conservative handbook?

Well, let me quote from another one of your favorite books, the holy bible.
Matthew, chapter 25, verses 44 through 46:

“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 
 
Again, I am thrilled at the result of yesterday’s ruling. I do recognize that the law isn’t perfect, but had the challenge to the law been upheld, it would have been even less so.

Now, as I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, we can… continue to defend this law against all manner of attacks. Hopefully, yesterday’s decision makes defending it easier.

In other news: The Supreme Court just handed down another ruling, legalizing gay marriage nationwide. It’s been a busy week, Justices. Take the rest of the summer off.
 
 
 

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