Thursday, June 22, 2017

First, Do No Harm

Among the first to react to the suddenly revealed Senate "Kill Obamacare and the People It Helped" bill was President Obama.  His statement in full is on Facebook and at the Atlantic.  Quoting:

"I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party.  Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what's really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain—we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course."

"The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely."

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family—this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation."

"To put the American people through that pain—while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return—that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

"After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for."

On the bill itself, most news outlets agree.  The New York Times:

Obamacare raised taxes on high earners and the health care industry, and essentially redistributed that income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades.

The draft Senate bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would jettison those taxes while reducing federal funding for the care of low-income Americans. The bill’s largest benefits go to the wealthiest Americans, who have the most comfortable health care arrangements, and its biggest losses fall to poorer Americans who rely on government support. The bill preserves many of the structures of Obamacare, but rejects several of its central goals."

Passage of this program will not only mean fewer Americans will get the health care they need as it makes healthcare more expensive, a new study says it could cause an economic recession:

A new report from the Commonwealth Fund and George Washington University researchers," writes the Atlantic, found that the very similar House version  "would slash total jobs by about a million, total state gross domestic products by $93 billion, and total business output by $148 billion by 2026. Most of those jobs would be shed from the health-care industry, which would contract severely over that frame. Most of the losses in economic activity would come in states that have expanded Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act."

It's about cutting taxes for the wealthiest, and let the others suffer and die.

That's the Republican credo.  Their greediest supporters see the opportunity in holding Congressional majorities and the White House: more bucks for us.

"Follow the Money" was the catchphrase of Watergate, and it is again for the Russian connection investigation.  But more than that, it is the first place to look for anything Republicans in Washington do.

It's there in the generous donations from fossil fuel corporations, and so on.  As for our apprentice dictator, it is all summed up in his allegiances--in the Middle East and elsewhere, he loves whatever country his companies do business in, and any country that doesn't want his businesses is America's enemy.

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