What do you call a bill that will take away health care for millions of Americans? What do you call a bill that will deny low-income earners necessary medical coverage? Unwise? Unfair? Misguided?
Perhaps more accurately, this bill should be called something else: Absolutely evil.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a new, Trump-designed, Republican-backed health care bill. Among the bill’s countless cold-blooded consequences, most glaring is the fact that at least 24 Million Americans would become uninsured and end up with no health care whatsoever. The bill would also revoke Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, meaning a large percentage low-income Americans would lose their no-cost health care coverage.
This is not just another dimwitted policy pushed forward by the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans. This is something much, much worse. For millions of sick Americans suffering from deadly diseases, exorbitant pharmaceutical costs, and heaps of hospital bills, the Republican’s new health care plan is nothing more than murderous.
Death by Congress
When low-income Americans lose their Medicaid, it means that they don’t go to the doctor when they feel sick or become injured. Why? Because they simply cannot afford it. Then, when they find out that their worsening sickness is actually cancer, it’s too late, and they are left with no decisions to make except what to do with the little time they have left.
Furthermore, many people suffering from complicated life-threatening conditions will be out of luck if they can no longer afford to pay for their expensive, complex treatments. For example, many people battling cancer – including lung cancer or mesothelioma – will be left to suffer on their own if the new bill passes.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma are hardworking, manual-laboring men and women who were exposed to asbestos on their job sites. These are not the type of people who can afford to pay million-dollar medical bills all on their own.
Yet, sadly, if this health care bill passes the Senate, this will be the exact scenario they will face.
Dying from Mesothelioma? Too Bad for You
According to the Center for American Progress, a DC-based think tank, coverage for middle and low-income workers is likely to decrease significantly, while cancer (including mesothelioma) treatment costs are expected to skyrocket. The group explained: “The staggeringly large funding gap could leave many Americans with pre-existing conditions stranded outside the high-risk pool without affordable options for coverage.”
The “high-risk pools” for people with pre-existing conditions are most likely to suffer under the proposed bill. Already struggling, the high-risk pools will become even more incapable of covering especially sick individuals. Hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious pre-existing conditions (such as mesothelioma) will be left out in the cold, forced to fend for themselves.
By design, Americans who are deathly-ill will lose their coverage; this, because they have the highest healthcare costs. For many in this group, paying the necessary bills to extend their lives could now require huge sacrifices, such as selling property and assets, going back to work even when sick, taking out unpayable loans, or digging into savings or a child’s college fund.
Yesterday, our country’s leaders in the House made a statement loud and clear to America’s hardworking people: “Don’t get sick, because no one is going to help you. And if you’re dying, well, then that’s just too bad for you.”
An Unprecedented Monstrosity
Unfortunately, kicking the poor off Medicaid and abandoning America’s most needy citizens represent only the tip of this bill’s diabolical iceberg. Through countless other stipulations, the new healthcare bill’s goal is obvious: America’s wealthiest will pay much less and everyone else will pay much more for worse coverage.
For example, the new bill would provide hundreds of billions in tax cuts for families making over $250,000 a year. It would also eliminate Obamacare tax credits that help middle and low-income earners afford health insurance. The greatly reduced tax credits would then become pegged to age, not income. Older people, who are in general wealthier, would receive the newly distributed tax credits. That means that America’s richest individuals, for example Warren Buffett, would be taking the tax credits away from families struggling to make ends meet.
However, older patients, who were protected from predatory pricing under Obamacare, may have to start paying more for insurance coverage anyway. Under the proposed policy changes, insurers would be allowed to charge significantly higher premiums to elderly patients. That means that the older you get, the higher your insurance rates will become.
Under Obamacare, companies with over 50 employees were required to provide their worker’s health insurance or pay a penalty. That will no longer be the case. Under the new bill, many companies would stop providing health insurance for their employees.
Furthermore, under the new bill, deductibles are expected to increase significantly. The economic explanation is simple: if people are not especially wealthy, and they don’t receive tax credits for health care, then they will select insurance plans with lower premiums. Lower premiums mean higher deductibles. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for a typical health care plan is expected to rise by $1,550 if the GOP health bill is passed.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as the new bill is known, passed in the House by a narrow 217-to-213 vote. Now, the bill moves on to the Republican-held Senate, where it will be voted on again.
If the bill passes in the Senate and goes on to become a law, it would be a hugely consequential moment in American history, for all the wrong reasons. Passing the AHCA wouldn’t just mean worse health care – it would result in the deaths of millions of Americans, plain and simple.
This bill must be stopped.
House Republicans who voted “yes” on the bill must be held accountable (here’s a full list). They should not be allowed to get away with betraying the citizens they should be protecting. Even if the AHCA eventually fails, the depravity of those politicians who slammed it through the House must be remembered, and these individuals must not be re-elected.
It is ironic that Trump and his GOP cohort pretend they’re patriotic Americans who stand up for America’s hardworking citizens. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The new bill would devastate hardworking low and middle-income people who are already struggling to cover the hospital bills and insurance fees. And for hardworking people suffering from deadly diseases like mesothelioma, the new bill could amount to a nail in the coffin.
After the vote passed, Congressmen Peter Welch (D-VT) tweeted:
“@POTUS won election on backs of rural Americans. This repeal & replace bill betrays rural America. I will vote HELL NO this afternoon!”
Welch’s comment is spot on: Trump won his campaign by making big promises to the blue-collar communities across rural America. He portrayed himself as the savior of working-class people “suffering” under Obama. With the success of the sinister Republican health care bill, a different truth may become apparent: Trump is not these people’s savior, he is their executioner.