Bills making health care a privilege are not American way - Hi-Desert Star: Letters To Editor

Bills making health care a privilege are not American way

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Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:07 pm

Health care. Is it a right or a privilege? Every time the GOP gives health care another go we must look squarely at this question yet again — right or privilege? The GOP made one last attempt with the current Graham-Cassidy bill to make health care a privilege. If you have money, you will not suffer. If you don’t, you will. This bill takes care of the wealthy and is extremely brutal to our most vulnerable citizens. The senate had a deadline of Sept. 30 to vote on this. If passed, it would do the following:

•Destroy Medicaid, as we know it, by fundamentally and permanently transforming the funding for the program into a capped system.

•Undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and people who need treatment for opioid abuse by allowing states to waive essential health benefits. States would have incredibly broad discretion in how they use the waivers in the proposal. 

•Institute a special new tax break for the well off, allowing health savings accounts to be used for health insurance premiums. This may also incentivize employers to just put tax-free money into these HSAs and stop offering their staff health insurance all together.

•Enact a total prohibition on any covered insurance plans from offering abortion coverage.

•Institute “block grants” given to states that includes money for Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies while also deeply cutting the total amount of money.

•Redistributes the block grants to favor red states that did not expand Medicaid access and coverage for their residents by punishing states that did.

•Ends all funding in 2027! Starting that year, states would receive exactly zero dollars in their already slim block grants. Either 29 million more Americans would suddenly be thrown off health insurance or Congress would need to give the states new money.

All of this, if enacted, reflects a simple formula — money equals the privilege of health. Why would we do this to ourselves and to others? Why would we think that money conveys the right to a healthy life? To my way of thinking, this is not just! This is not the American way. But if your sense of justice and fair play is not reason enough to stand in opposition to this bill, then let’s talk money. A study done by the National Association of Community Health Centers shows that with fewer primary health care options at their disposal, many Americans are turning to emergency rooms for non-urgent care. Uninsured patients are much more likely to rely on the ER for their ambulatory care compared to the privately insured. Emergency room visits are extremely expensive. Unpaid emergency room bills increase hospital costs. These costs are passed on to health care insurers. Those costs are then passed on the insured. The Graham-Cassidy bill would greatly increase the number of uninsured. Do the math.

If you believe that we are all entitled to affordable health care or simply that we need to decrease, not increase, the cost of health insurance, then you will stand up and voice your opposition to these unkind and un-American bills!

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1 comment:

  • horsehouse posted at 6:19 pm on Thu, Oct 5, 2017.

    horsehouse Posts: 88

    We are a country controlled by neoliberal philosophy. If health care scares you, just wait for the tax cuts for the wealthy. I calculate my tax savings will be about $100.


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