Thursday, February 16, 2017

Backlash against Republican’s repeal and non-replacement of Obamacare

By SJ Otto
For years now the Republican Party has been trying to kill Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA). That was a major promise made by President Donald Trump as he ran his election campaign. But he also promised to replace Obamacare with his own program that would take care of the nearly 20 million people who now have health insurance thanks to the act. Trump has kept the first part of his promise. The Republicans are busy trying to repeal Obamacare. The second part is not so clear. There is no replacement of the ACA. Chances are there never will be a replacement. That has been traditional Republican strategy.
And so far repeal and no replacement is causing a backlash across the country. Angry people are not just willing to die over Trump’s inaction on health care.
The strategy has always been to keep US medical policy the same. Those who make good money can either afford the extremely expensive insurance rates or some lucky workers get some kind of coverage through their job. There is also Medicaid for those few individuals who are poor enough to be eligible for public assistance. And thanks to hard working Republican leaders, very few poor people are eligible for Medicaid, in most states.  
The Republicans represent the 1 percent of the population who have most of the money and most of the political power (such as the Koch brothers). They want to do what is best for businesses and wealthy people who profit for voting for them. And they represent the insurance companies that profit off of the sick and dying, but wealthy individuals.
So the real plan for US medical policy is actually repeal Obamacare then stall. That will give them what they want….the old status quo we had before President Barack Obama.
But so far, many of the people who are set to lose the coverage, that they have, are not willing to just die off for the benefit and convenience of their wealthier fellow citizens. Reports have come in from all over the country that Republican politicians have been hearing from such people—the people whose health is now at risk because Obamacare is being repealed and not replaced. According to last Sunday’s The Wichita Eagle:

“It's a scene that's played out around the country over the past several weeks as Republicans and President Donald Trump have assumed control of Washington and begun moving forward on their long-held promise to undo former President Barack Obama's health care law. In an echo of the raucous complaints that confronted Democrats back in 2009 as they worked to pass "Obamacare" in the first place, Republicans who want to repeal it now are facing angry pushback of their own at constituent gatherings from Utah to Michigan to Tennessee and elsewhere, even in solidly Republican districts.”

And The Wichita Eagle article had its own example of a person who is worried about his loss of insurance:

“The voter identified himself as a cancer survivor, and he had something to say to Republican Rep. Justin Amash: "I am scared to death that I will not have health insurance in the future."
The comment earned 61-year-old retiree Paul Bonis a standing ovation from the crowd packed into a school auditorium in Amash's Michigan district Thursday night. And the congressman was booed for his response: That the Affordable Care Act has "hurt a lot of people," and he supports his party's plans to repeal and replace it, even though the GOP still hasn't united around an alternative.”

It seems a lot of people have said they are scared that they will die waiting around for the Republicans to come up with a better plan. They should worry, because the plan is really to do nothing once the old act is repealed. I know I am scared, because my wife retires this year and when she does I will not have health insurance. I had Hepatitis C for nearly 10 years. I was treated for it with an old set of medicines that made me real sick, almost like a person going through Chemotherapy, as they do for cancer. The first treatment didn’t work. I have stage four liver damage. A few years ago they came out with a new drug that cures Hep C. Even though I am free of the viruses, the disease has left me with liver damage and other health problems. If I can’t afford health insurance under someone’s plan, I will probably die in the next few years. I know there are many people who are in similar situations. As with many others, I don’t want to die just so some wealthier people won’t be inconvenienced or because the drug companies need to make massive profits. Facing death over a political situation creates contempt. And it should cause contempt as it has. For example, from The Wichita Eagle:

“In a Salt Lake City suburb on Thursday night, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz faced irate constituents chanting "Do your job!" as they pressed the House Oversight Committee chairman to investigate Trump. Chaffetz struggled to be heard as he faced a litany of sharp questions and screams from a crowd of people who grilled him on everything from Obamacare to Chaffetz's desire to overturn a new national monument in southern Utah.”

This is what is needed here in this country. There needs to be a powerful backlash against repealing Obamacare and finally—we may have that backlash. It is badly needed. Even before Trump won, there are parts of the country where Obamacare is not being implemented because of certain stubborn Republican Governors and state legislators. Such an example is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. He has opposed every part of Obamacare including expanding KanCare, his state's version of Medicaid. The results are that many working poor people and other poor persons are dying from preventable diseases. There has been some backlash against him, but it hasn’t been enough.
Much of what the Republicans are talking about doing, to replace Obamacare, is the usual foolishness that comes from their insensitivity to the poor. For example they want to encourage poor persons to build savings accounts for their medical needs. If I set up such an account, I might as well start a second one for a LearjetThe cost of medical treatment in the US is so ridiculously high that it isn’t much cheaper than buying a Learjet.
This backlash is a positive sign. If we can capitalize on it, then we can begin to push for serious change in US medical policy. We need a single payer system. But anything is better than the status quo we had before Obamacare. For all its wealth, the US has the worst health care system in the industrialized world.

To see The Wichita Eagle article click here.

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