Saturday, June 17, 2017

Call to action: Republican sneak attack on health care must not pass

The single most important issue for democratic, and Democratic, activists for the rest of this month is the monstrosity being crafted in the US Senate by old rich white men hell-bent on destroying health care in America. This is not hyperbole. This is a call to action to prevent a disaster for millions of Americans who depend on governmental assistance for their health coverage. I’ll try to make this short.

The background in a 3-minute video

I choose my words carefully. This is a sneak attack on health care in America. Here’s the short version.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is working with a small group of Republicans to draft a new health care bill behind closed doors. Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor for The Times, explains the reasons for — and reactions to — the secrecy.” Here’s the video from the NY Times explaining Why G.O.P. Senators Are Creating a Health Plan in Secret.

What that “new health care” bill will do

Actually, we don’t know for sure but there are well-founded speculations about what McConnell and his Republican Senators are creating using the tools of secrecy and speed. AZBlueMeanie has an extensive report in Action Alert: all hands on deck to stop Senate bill to repeal ‘Obamacare’. Here is part of it.

The next two weeks are “red alert” critical for you to focus your attention on the GOP attempts to repeal “Obamacare” and to destroy the health insurance market and Medicaid with it. GOP Senate leaders aim to bring health-care legislation to the floor by end of June: “The push has been laden with secrecy — and rank-and-file Republican senators are increasingly frustrated that Mitch McConnell and a small group of GOP aides are crafting a bill behind closed doors.”

The Blue Meanie quotes Paul Waldman’s (Washington Post/Plum Line) assessment of what McConnell’s bill will do to America.

… it’s important to understand that the secrecy with which this bill is being crafted is a tacit admission on Republicans’ part that its likely effects on Americans’ health care and financial security are so gruesome that it must be kept hidden until the last possible moment, lest the public have time to understand what’s in it.

We don’t know exactly what the Senate’s bill will consist of, but there are a few things we do know. At its heart, it will do what the bill the House passed to repeal the Affordable Care Act does: take health coverage away from millions of people in order to give a tax break to the wealthy. While some hoped that a few moderates and senators from states that had accepted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion might try to save the expansion, that hope is dead. According to various reports, those supposed moderates now support phasing out the expansion, but doing it over seven years instead of the three years that the House bill provided for.

The Senate bill would also likely transform Medicaid — which today covers nearly 70 million Americans — into a block grant, for the first time allowing states to toss people off and cut back benefits. It will cut back on the subsidies that currently allow those not poor enough for Medicaid to afford coverage. It will likely undo the ACA’s mandates for essential health benefits, allowing the sale of “insurance” that in practice covers almost none of the needs people actually have. It will probably allow insurers to once again impose yearly and lifetime caps on coverage, which can turn a life-threatening illness or accident into a financial catastrophe as well. And it could undermine the protections the tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions now enjoy.

You can see why Republicans might not be too eager to invite Americans to get a good long look at this rancid smorgasbord of poison and misery. And as we get closer to seeing it, we’re learning even more about what the effects of the ACA repeal could be. In the past day or two we’ve seen the release of three new reports on those effects:

Those reports reveal that many insurance plans woulds revert to what was covered (or not) prior to Obama’s ACA. The health care sector of our economy will take a huge hit, especially in those states that opted for Medicaid expansion (like Arizona). Check out Waldman’s report for more.

Action is needed NOW!

Right now it is all hands on deck to oppose this anti-democratic and draconian Senate bill that would take health care away from millions of Americans, fundamentallly alter Medicaid, and cause massive disruption in the health insurance market — all done in secrecy behind closed doors. This evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnel cannot be allowed to succeed with his evil plan, he must be defeated.

Call your senators daily to oppose this bill, write your letters to the editor, and take to the streets to protest if you must. And don’t let your local media bury this legislative process story for more salacious and entertainment reporting.

The alliance4action has a health care action group that will be posting alerts as McConnell moves his secret health care forward. I’ll be relaying those to you via this blog. AZ Senator Jeff Flake is one of the senators who might be pivotal in stopping McConnell’s madness. I suggest calling and writing to him (and Senator McCain). Contact information is here.

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