So we have another horror story associated with the current White House AKA the DC Dark Place. The Warlock-in-Chief is championing his new healthcare bill, although people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have also pranced around the bubbling cauldron to conjure up the best poison they can find for the infirm and elderly in America. Let’s first analyze the chief features of this wicked potion.
The individual mandate of the ACA will be repealed. While even that wasn’t enough to drive millennials and other youthful citizens to participate in ACA and thus increase the healthy people in the insurance pool because in some areas the ACA insurers had stiffer premiums than the fine, instead of fixing the latter, Trumpcare will make it worse. The employer mandate will be repealed. Larger companies will now be able to tell people not to look for healthcare as an employee benefit. Subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses—deductibles and co-payments, will be repealed. Insurance companies will have a field day with that. Medicaid expansion will be killed. Planned Parenthood will be defunded (why aren’t anti-abortion activists more worried about the lives of the living?).
Premium subsidies will be eliminated and replaced by tax credits. Let’s consider the implications of that one a bit further. Will the GOP send money to a poor person if her or his tax credit is more than what s/he would pay in taxes (sometimes zero)? If the answer is yes, that’s a subsidy. If the answer is no, that person won’t bother with healthcare insurance and return back to the old days when s/he went to an ER after getting too sick, virtually eliminating preventative care, increasing death rates and lowering lifespans, and driving up hospital costs—not to mention the evil implicit in penalizing the poor and rewarding the rich. The latter is consistent with the overall reverse-Robin Hood policies of the GOP, of course. Until every American has the same healthcare as a congress person, America will still have a healthcare problem!
Sure, Trumpcare will keep some popular provisions of Trumpcare. Guess what? You’ll only be able to benefit from those provisions if you have insurance! Because more people won’t have it, keeping those provisions is a moot point for many poor SOBs who will have to opt out of any healthcare. Again, access to these benefits doesn’t mean that you can afford them.
There are two more items in this evil witches’ potion brewed up by Trump and his coven. First, instead of fixing the stupid feature of the ACA that allowed insurance companies to charge elders between 50 and 65 three times what they charge young, healthy people, thus making the ACA more like Social Security (the young pay so when they’re old they will benefit), Trumpcare makes it worse: insurance companies will be able to charge five more times or more. When you add to that Paul Ryan’s plan to raid the Medicare fund (that is like Social Security) of $365 billion, you have a double whammy on the elderly (OK, triple, if you count the one just mentioned): that plan will help pay for those tax credits and tax breaks for the rich and, at the same time, make Medicare look like it will go bankrupt. Of course, the GOP has been gunning for Social Security and Medicare since FDR, so they’re out to use any methods, no matter how inhumane they are, to destroy them. No wonder AARP and the AMA is up in arms! Don’t these congressional GOP SOBs have elderly relatives? Hmm. Maybe they’re covered by the SOBs’ congressional health plan?
Trump and his cronies in the White House and that sanctuary of incompetent and greedy SOBs known as the GOP Congress need a lesson in English—accessible doesn’t mean affordable. As Bernie Sanders and other progressives have pointed out so many times, a ten-million-dollar house is accessible to everyone but it’s affordable only to privileged few. I suppose to be nice we should call Trumpcare the Accessible Care Act, but it’s horrific features don’t deserve a nice name other than legalized murder. Get the death squads and euthanasia centers ready!
Standard & Poors and the AARP estimate that ten million or more now covered by ACA will no longer be covered if this bill is passed. And, I hate to say it, but it might not be passed because ogres like Rand Paul think it’s Obamacare Lite—in other words, not and egregious enough attack on Americans. That proves at least why Libertarians will never be a viable third party, but it also means that his claws are worse than that other mutant the Wolverine fought in Logan and he’s even more inhuman.
One of my pet themes is the healthcare crisis in America. I’ve been thinking about it for years, and writing about it in my blog and my fiction (the blog category “Medical Coverage Crisis” has 137 entries, not as many as “Capitalism without Control,” 379, and there’s overlap between the two, of course). Full Medical was my first novel (now in an ebook second edition) and is still current today. With Obamacare now threatened by repeal (it never was a complete solution) and replacement by the horribly inhumane Trumpcare conjured up by Warlock-in-Chief Trump, the theme of my story seems more and more plausible. Only the privileged will be able to afford good healthcare, and the way they do it here in this sci-fi story will creep you out. Pay attention to the scherzos too—they show how bad healthcare coverage can become when it’s driven by greed and not a human right. Unfortunately that healthcare apocalypse in Full Medical might come true a lot faster than I thought–I’d have rather not been so prescient, of course.
I first started thinking about healthcare issues when Nixon and the CEO of Kaiser Permanente (CA) decided to push the new concept of HMO, thus making medical services just another way for the rich to get richer. Taking greed out of the system is a must—greedy insurance companies, greedy drug companies, greedy hospitals, and greedy healthcare providers must be reined in. After many years of studying healthcare issues, I stand by my conclusion: Anything other than single-payer (even Medicare isn’t that) can’t be a solution that satisfies the most important problem healthcare faces in America—it isn’t a right that every person and it is a privilege that only some can afford. Trumpcare is a huge step backwards. Instead of fixing the ACA, Trumpcare is making things worse. But the sad thing is, Trump and his GOP cronies, with people like Rand Paul being the worst, just don’t give a rat’s ass for Americans’ wellbeing—they’ve got theirs, so to hell with everyone else. If you’re not happy with what they’re doing, make sure they’re out of their jobs in 2018, and work to impeach Trump.
And so it goes….