Sick? Have a pre-existing condition? Poor? You may be in trouble if the Republican lead Senate gets its way with its new “health plan.” Americans, our health, safety and happiness are under attack. The NY Times’ Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan report:
“Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law’s mandate that most Americans have health insurance.
The 142-page bill would create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy health insurance, while offering states the ability to drop many of the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment.
The Senate bill — once promised as a top-to-bottom revamp of the health bill passed by the House last month — instead maintains its structure, with modest adjustments. The Senate version is, in some respects, more moderate than the House bill, offering more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.
But the Senate measure, like the House bill, would phase out the extra money that the federal government has provided to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. And like the House measure, it would put the entire Medicaid program on a budget, ending the open-ended entitlement that now exists.
It would also repeal virtually all the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to pay for itself, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent, paid for by billions of dollars sliced from Medicaid, a health care program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but almost two-thirds of those in nursing homes. The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate.
The article has a graphic that summarizes the proposed changes including repeal of taxes, subsidies, individual mandate, and employer mandate.2
Readers of the NY Times column who commented note harms that will result to people and their families including people in nursing homes, and people needing emergency medical care.
The following commenter does an excellent job of explaining the impact:
“Let me put a human face to who these cuts will affect most: 64% of nursing home residents — our parents and grandparents with Alzheimer’s — receive Medicaid benefits; 49% of ALL births; 39% of ALL American children; 60% of American children with disabilities; and 76% — let me write that again: 76% — of all poor children in our country. [sources: Kaiser Family Foundation; Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission] What’s more, the overwhelming majority of Medicaid funds go to Red states (too many sources to cite). In short, the House and Senate proposals paint a picture of America that cares little about its most vulnerable citizens, and of a political party that appears to care not a whit about it’s own constituents. Shame on them! How is it that they don’t choke when they speak of “religious values” and American exceptionalism?”
The American people need to stand up to protect themselves.
An Op Ed in the LA Times shows Single Payer is one possible way.3
Ralph Nader has written Nancy Pelosi a letter calling for Single Payer.4