Friday, April 28, 2017

McSally tinkers with "fatally flawed health-care bill"

Daily Star’s columnist Tim Steller takes on CD2 Rep. Martha McSally for her tinkering with “fatally flawed health-care bill”. Here are snippets.

‘First, do no harm.”

It’s a medical principle that members of Congress ought to keep in mind when messing with our health-care system.

For Democrats pondering the Republican proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, the principle is easy to apply. They’ll vote no — if they ever get the chance to vote — because the replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, is worse than what it’s intended to replace. It will lead to millions of people losing insurance without many assured benefits other than an end to the dreaded insurance mandate.

But for Republicans like Tucson’s Rep. Martha McSally, the answer is more complicated.

McSally and many other congressional Republicans ran for election on the idea that — to use the phrase she and others repeated often — “Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight.”

But then a funny thing happened. When President Trump was elected and the public was faced with the possible reality of the Affordable Care Act actually being repealed, it became more and more popular. People began to protest, worrying that under the replacement bill, they would again be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition or due to impossibly high rates charged in “high-risk pools."

But this week, the House made another effort at reviving the American Health Care Act, this time with changes that appealed to the more conservative Republicans. When it was revealed that one provision would allow members of Congress to opt out of some changes — protecting themselves from the weakening of standards under the bill — McSally submitted a bill that would remove that provision.

So McSally has taken a tack of trying to fix the problems with the proposed replacements, rather than recognizing that the replacements themselves might be the biggest problem.

Dr. Daniel Derksen, a professor of health policy at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, told me the amended bill is aking to “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

“The American Health Care Act would be a catastrophic disaster,” said Derksen, who also heads the UA’s Arizona Center for Rural Health.

Most important, he pointed out, would be the drastic cuts in federal commitments to support state Medicaid programs.

“This would take us back to having 1.2 million uninsured Arizonans,” he said.

So, for all McSally’s work at trying to improve the Obamacare replacement, perhaps the solution is simpler than tinkering around the edges. It’s to do no harm by saying no.

McSally should vote no on the Trumpcare bill - the American Health Care Act - because a Steller claims it is fatally flawed. That bill is not in the interests of her constituents. But will she? I am pessimistic. McSally’s voting record is 100% Trump.

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