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Pardon the intrusion, but I am respectfully asking for your help here in fighting against the injustice and downright cruelty of the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) now up for a vote in the Senate.
After 40 years of talking to people about their health care, their access to it, their results, what has worked, and the variety of troubles associated with health problems and how those can leave people unable to sustain jobs, it just continues to strike me as wrong to stay silent. My focus is on what the health care bill in the news right now does to people, not guessing about what will happen politically.
Republican spin is that this bill is primarily about improving health care for American families. No, that’s a lie. This effort is primarily about cutting taxes. The main thing the bill does is take money away — $800 billion — from providing health care to pay for tax reductions for the very wealthy. A telltale sign that this is true? One of the main Republican complaints about Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) has been that the deductibles and co-pays under ACA policies are too high. But the Republican bill only makes this problem worse when they could help resolve it. There are legitimate fixes for Obamacare. None of them involve cutting Medicaid for poor and disabled people, harming those in the middle class with relatives in nursing homes, or giving tax breaks to the rich. Are you rich? Because this is not a health care bill, it’s a tax-cut bill, financed on the backs of lower income people, without any realistic attempt and no likelihood to fix the Affordable Care Act. If this bill were truly about health care, Republicans would take all the tax cuts out and use that money to ease the pain their bill will cause. But they won’t, because the tax cuts are what matters to them.
The Republican health care bill will affect you and your family in a bad way and it is important to take action. Call or tweet Republican Senators and Congressmen now (see below) and demand they protect health care, including Medicaid.
The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has wanted to cut Medicaid since he was attending college keg parties. Remember how candidate Trump promised repeatedly he had no interest in cutting Medicaid and chastising his Republican opponents for suggesting Medicaid cuts? Now President Trump, the Republicans, and Trump spokeswoman Kelly Ann Conway are banking on the notion that you will not notice and will not take action. They mask their true intentions by suggesting what they are really up to is “strengthening” Medicaid. Cutting 800 billion dollars does not strengthen Medicaid. Instead it damages it severely. One can debate the wisdom of Medicaid cuts or the right level, if any, of tax credits regarding health insurance, but to say these are not cuts is a lie like saying war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.
Do not buy the Republican spin suggesting their “health care” law only targets some able-bodied loafer and not you or your family now or down the road. It is Medicaid that provides the in-home occupational therapist who works with the autistic child so she can live at home with her family and not be pushed into an institution, and, it is Medicaid that sends the home health nurse to check on the senior who might otherwise have to leave the home where for 30 years he lived and raised a family to squeeze into a single room at a nursing home.
This is not a Democratic versus Republican issue (notice the less partisan voices strongly opposing this terrible law). The March of Dimes helped the Senate Republican leader McConnell recover from childhood polio. They oppose his health care bill. But he refuses to even meet with them.
Vice-President Pence indicated this past week, “we’ll repeal and replace Obamacare with a system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition and state-based reform.” Does this mean children will get to be held personally responsible for their pediatric cancer? Senators are being flooded with appeals like this from the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society: “Cancer is scary enough. Don’t take away our coverage.” The American Childhood Cancer Organization, a charitable group formed by parents, is mobilizing a small army of grassroots lobbyists with the message that the bill, with its deep cuts to Medicaid, “will threaten the lives of children.” As burdened as you are, they need your help.
Tell the Republicans you do not trust them, they could work with Democrats if they chose to. We should stick to our American values, fight to defend Medicaid and reject this savage plan. The problems with the ACA can be fixed without destroying everything that matters to millions of Americans with disabilities.
This Republican law will require Americans to wait six months before getting insured if they miss a payment. This is nuts. People have gaps in coverage for all sorts of reasons. For example, it unfortunately happens that people lose their jobs and as a result their health insurance. You lost your job and missed an insurance payment? Oh no! “Okay,” say the Republicans. “Now, we’ll make it HARDER for you to get insurance.”
Yesterday I met in the office a wonderful man who had been unable to work for years due to a complicated mental illness and the oh-so-familiar problems of gaining access to health care before the Affordable Care Act. With health care made possible by the ACA he got better and has taken himself off disability and returned to truck driving. But whether one has mental health issues or physical health issues such as a metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, diabetes, or cholesterol issues), absence of access to treatment leads to worse outcomes and more expensive problems for our country. When people lose health care they become physically sicker and die younger, and are in emergency rooms more. Tragically all too often the misallocation of resources leave mental illnesses untreated and those suffering debilitating conditions end up in jail. Add to this the Republican provisions for a return to harsh treatment for pre-existing conditions and private insurance lifetime caps on benefits and it is like saying: ”Sorry, you’re not worth keeping alive anymore. You’re just too expensive.”
A talk show host recently pointed out how Americans tout their patriotism, but about half of them don’t vote. And it’s not just millennials. Yes vote, get organized, but in the meantime ask GOP congressmen Roskam, Kinzinger, Hultgren about their vote and to examine their consciences. Is it right to rip away someone’s health care lifeline to pay for someone else’s tax cut?
Most important, let your objections rain down like **** (in a civil way) on Senate offices. There are 14 senators who are most likely to vote against Trumpcare. They need to hear from you. You can call and tweet their offices right now by going to https://trumpcaretoolkit.org/. We need your voice to join the chorus of millions of Americans and especially the disabled and their families in opposing this dreadful bill.