Go to Health!
The Republicans hate us, and want us all to die! That may sound like hyperbole, if you haven’t been keeping up with their plan to repeal and — kind of — replace Obamacare. As bad as the failed House attempt was, the bill in the Senate is even worse. It should have been called wealth care, because it’s really a big fat tax cut for the rich, paid for by gutting vital programs the low-income, elderly, disabled, and women — you know, the enemy. Here’s how the Senate bill breaks down, and keep in mind these projections are for ten years:
— It guts the ACA protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
— 22 million people will lose their health insurance.
— Some $800 million will be cut from Medicaid. The program would be administered by the states, and matching government funding will be in the form of block grants, adjusted for inflation. Medical costs are skyrocketing compared to inflation. Medicaid serves about 74 million Americans annually, including about half of all births, almost 2/3 in nursing homes, and nearly 40% of children. As funding dries up over the years, states will either have to cut more people off or pay each less. The CBO score showed that by 2026 Medicaid spending will have been cut by 35%.
— Nearly a $trillion in tax cuts, nearly all for the upper crust. People making less than $200,000 get no tax cut. $200,000 – $500,000 will get an average of $510. If you make over $500,000 your tax cut is $4740. Those making over $1 million will get $54,000. These numbers are from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The 400 richest households will get a total of $33 billion in tax cuts over those ten years. Here’s where the biggest tax cut applies — capital gains taxes, also know by the telling phrase, “unearned income. While working people pay a progressive tax rate with the top margin about 39.6%, capital gains are for those who produce nothing, do no labor, contribute nothing to society, but simply make money with money. That tax is 20% (it used to be 15%). In order to fund the Medicaid expansion of the ACA, another 3.8% was added to that tax, and the billionaire class has been upset about it every since.
— It eliminates funding to Planned Parenthood for a year. That’s about $500 million, or 30% of PP’s budget. They treat between 3-5 million women a year.
— The elderly may be charged up to 5 times the premium of a younger adult. Under the ACA 3X was the limit.
— There will be a waiting period of six months, if you have no insurance and are trying to enroll. If you’ve been without insurance for 63 days or more, there will be a 30% additional charge on your premiums for one year.
— $3-4 billion less in Social Security spending is a savings, alright. But it’s because in ten years, 209,000 more people will have died from lack of health care.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has called the bill “not only incomprehensible, but unconscionable,” and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted: “CBO confirms this thing is a %#$@ sandwich.” Protesters have staged “die-ins” at GOP Senate offices in LA, IN, CO, WV, FL, TX, SC, MO, and CA. The bill has been opposed by the AMA, AARP, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and everyone else possessing a heart. One reason so many people will lose their insurance is because the bill drops the mandate for employers of 50 or more workers to provide coverage. The title of the bill says it all. The Better Care Reconciliation Act sounds benign enough, doesn’t it? I tracked down the bill and downloaded it as a PDF. That’s the short title. The full title is: Elimination of Limitation on Recapture of Excess Advance Payments of Premium Tax Credits. Do you see anything in there about health care? Me neither. Let’s just call it the Republican death care bill.
At the same time, America is currently facing two public health emergencies — opioid addiction and diabetes. Last year, some 60,000 people died of drug overdoses, primarily on opioids and/or heroin. Have you heard anything from the lying orange asshole in the White House or the Republican controlled Congress? Ironically, the ten states with both the highest drug prescriptions and opioids addiction all voted for Trump. A study by two researchers at NYU and Harvard said this bill will leave an additional 3 million people with opioid addiction to lose some or all their coverage.
There are 29 million Americans with diabetes, and another 86 million are pre-diabetic (CDC). Would you like to know what these scum-sucking pigs feel about that? Here’s Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (who was one of the co-founders of the Tea Party), speaking at Stanford University recently, who classifies diabetes as a lifestyle choice: “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes.” It’s their own damn fault! The industrial food industry has nothing to do with it.
Some states are actually trying to pass work requirements and/or drug tests in order to receive Medicaid. This is called poor-shaming. So someone who wants to get help for drug addiction has to pee in a bottle, then be told because he’s on drugs, he can’t get help for his drug problem. Brain dead former brain surgeon Ben Carson expresses the hard Right view: “I think poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind.” And if diabetes is a lifestyle decision, I would think opioid addiction certainly is. It’s their own fault! Big Pharma had nothing to do with it. I’ve said before how conservatives detest the poor. Let’s hear from Mulvaney again, as he details his idea of compassion: “We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs. We are going to measure compassion by the number of people we help get off those programs.” And House Speaker Ryan said it’s not a matter of losing coverage, but of choice. No, he really said that. You know Republicans are really big on choice (schools, health care) until it comes to women’s bodies. I guess people are choosing to not be covered (they’re choosing instead to buy food and keep the lights on). It’s getting harder to tell Republican talking points from headlines in The Onion.
The profound ignorance of Americans never fails to amaze me. I keep hearing people say, “Why should I have to pay for maternity coverage when I’m never going to get pregnant?” Why should a woman pay for prostate cancer coverage? Because the more people in the pool the cheaper it is for everyone. People don’t even have the concept of “society” anymore. They can’t understand why they should pay property taxes for schools when they have no children. They really don’t get the concept. It’s that libertarian thinking, everyone is an island. One of the problems the Senate had in getting enough votes is the same one the House had. Too many hard Righties thought the bill wasn’t “sufficiently conservative enough.” In other words, not mean enough. It’s ironic that nearly all evangelicals are conservatives. These are people who wear religion all over their sleeves, and yet turn their hearts away from pain and suffering in their brethren. They should go back and read Matthew 25 again (if not for the first time). Jesus is gently rebuking his disciples for not feeding him when he was hungry, not giving him drink when he was thirsty, or not clothing him when he was naked. When they ask him when did they not feed him, give him drink, or cloth him, he answers: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it to me.” If Jesus came back now, he would pinch these people’s heads off and spit into the neck hole.
While all this is going on, over in the House the Republicans are deciding not if to cut food stamps (SNAP), but by how much, showing there’s really no end to their moral depravity. These people should feel shame for their actions, but they are shameless. At least I am comforted by the idea that if there really is a God, then this hypocritical nest of vipers will be on the Devil’s rotisserie for all eternity. That isn’t nearly long enough for my liking, but I’m a reasonable man; I’ll settle for all eternity.
There is only one answer, and that is single-payer insurance. No, the government wouldn’t be in charge of health care, they would just be paying for it. Expand Medicare eligibility to all. The system is already set up. Or at least make Medicare for all a public option. That’s the way it is in the civilized countries. Of the 36 “developed” nations, the U.S. is the only one that doesn’t consider health care to be a right, and the only one to use a for-profit system as its main source of healthcare. Correction: Switzerland has a for-profit system for primary healthcare, but it’s heavily regulated and affordable to all. Remember the “death panels” the Right said there would be as a result of Obamacare? Here are the real death panels; the Republican House and Senate, and the for-profit insurance companies. Anyone who says this is the greatest country in the world is blowing smoke up their own ass.,