The Declaration of Independence says that, We the People are endowed with “unalienable Rights” of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. But the people’s Life, Liberty, and Happiness are dependent upon health care and safety.
Do “We the People” want to go where Republicans want to take us?
The new national policies being proposed by Republicans include big cuts in health and safety programs leaving millions uninsured.1
The NY Times reports:
A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would increase the projected number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That 10-year figure is slightly less than originally estimated.
It would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected in late March for an earlier version of the bill. And in states that seek waivers from rules mandating essential health coverage, the new law could make insurance economically out of reach for some sick consumers.
“Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” the budget office concluded.2
Concern is also being raised that there will be a Republican push in the Congress for fast action.
“The effort to take health insurance from the middle class and poor and funnel the savings into tax cuts for the rich is a little like mold. It grows best in the dark.
That’s why Republican leaders in the House handled their bill as they did. They did not hold a single hearing, because they knew that attention would have been devastating.”3
The Republican budget for 2018 reduces federal funding for coverage of children in Medicaid and CHIP (nearly 4 in ten children) nationwide.4
Republicans have worked to sabotage the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for years. As a law professor notes in the New York Times:
“Obamacare is not “collapsing under its own weight,” as Republicans are so fond of saying. It was sabotaged from the day it was enacted. And now the Republican Party should be held accountable not only for any potential replacement of the law, but also for having tried to starve it to death.
The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released its accounting of the House Republicans’ replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, and the numbers are not pretty: It is projected to leave 23 million more Americans uninsured over 10 years, through deep cuts to insurance subsidies and Medicaid. The report underscores how the bill would cut taxes for the rich to take health care away from the less well-off.
The A.C.A. is not perfect, and improvements to it would be welcome. But it worked in many respects and would have worked much better had Congress been a faithful guardian of the law….
A caretaking Congress would have fixed what wasn’t working. Instead, opponents did everything possible to shut off all the A.C.A.’s financing — starvation intended to wreak havoc in the insurance markets and to make it falsely appear that the A.C.A.was collapsing because it was just bad policy.
The irony is that the A.C.A. was vulnerable to this strategy because the Democrats had tried to compromise with the Republicans in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to build bipartisan support for the law. If the Democrats had instead enacted a single-payer policy — such as Medicare for all — the entire health care system would have been in the hands of the federal government, instead of dependent on the states and private insurers.”5
One measure of outcomes associated with health, safety, and happiness is Life Expectancy. The U.S. does not compare well with other similar nations. And since 1980, when Reagan was elected, Life Expectancy in the U.S.A. has not kept up with improvements in other similar countries.6
An examination of Life Expectancy in Democratic Blue States and Republican Red States finds people in Blue States generally have better Life Expectancies in the U.S.A. A summary analysis shows the following rankings.7
Life Expectancy Ranking of States in 2015
Sixteen Blue States and Nine Red States Ranked Among 25 Best States in Life Expectancy
ME 25th* – No Medicaid Expansion
UT 11th – No Medicaid Expansion
FL 13th – No Medicaid Expansion
WI 15th – No Medicaid Expansion
SD 19th – No Medicaid Expansion
NE 20th – No Medicaid Expansion
ID 23rd – No Medicaid Expansion
Four Blue States and Twenty-One Red States Ranked Among 25 Worst States in Life Expectancy
VA 26th – No Medicaid Expansion
TX 31st* – No Medicaid Expansion
KS 32nd* – No Medicaid Expansion
WY 33rd* – No Medicaid Expansion
NC 37th* – No Medicaid Expansion
MO 39th* – No Medicaid Expansion
GA 40th* – No Medicaid Expansion
SC 42nd* – No Medicaid Expansion
TN 43rd* – No Medicaid Expansion
OK 46th* – No Medicaid Expansion
AL 49th* – No Medicaid Expansion
MS 50th* – No Medicaid Expansion
Note: Asterisk identifies States that also have worse than the National Average Number of Deaths per 100K People for All Causes (786 in 2014). Detailed analysis is in spreadsheet form.8
Empowering We the People
We have information tools to help citizens persuade their current elected federal office holders. Interactive maps can provide citizens with facts they can use to be more effective.
Data on motor vehicle deaths for each year (2002 – 2015) by Congressional District are available.9
Hopefully, enough members of Congress can be persuaded by We the People, armed with the deadly facts, to steer a more humane course for America.