We've all heard it time after time after time. Be careful what you wish for, you MAY just GET it! For the most part we tend to ignore that warning, mainly because we so seldom actually GET what we wish for. But it appears that a seven year long dream may finally be coming true for the Republicans in Congress, the ultimate destruction of Obamacare. Yes, for seven long years Republican office holders and Republican office seekers have been promising the American people that if only THEY had the power, they would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something MUCH better! Well, we, the American voting public, GAVE the Republicans what they've been asking for; control of the Congress and a President who would be amenable to sign into law what a Republican Congress placed on his desk. Yet, to date, they've swung and missed twice in their attempt to rid us of that damnable law. But now it would seem they've been able to cobble together a bill that will do just that. And thus we can look forward to God's return to the heavens, and the world's return to health care sanity.
As a long time advocate of socialized medicine, I might be tempted to shed a tear at this prospect. While the Affordable Care Act was far from perfect, at least it was a step in the right direction. So, taking a giant leap back to a regrettable past hardly seems like progress. Therefore, it would be logical of me to lament such a turn of events. But I'm not entirely discouraged. And the reason for this surprising lack of concern is the simple fact that Cassidy-Graham is a fundamentally bad bill.
The underlying principle of universal, affordable health care is simple. Everyone has a right to be healthy. The key word there is RIGHT. My problem with the Republican "federalist" approach is that it treats health care as a privilege, NOT a right. The whole idea behind it is that good health is a luxury item, to which you are entitled IF you can afford it. So, if you work hard, put enough money into a Health Savings Account and pay the premiums on a health insurance policy, you will be entitled to the best health care system in the world. But,if through some unfortunate circumstance you fall short and do not have the financial wherewithal to save enough and pay enough, well then, you're just out of luck.
I don't profess to be an expert on the intricacies of Cassidy-Graham. I haven't read the bill and have just skimmed over some of the pertinent details. So I don't feel qualified to comment on the specifics of this legislation. And that's bad. We should all familiarize ourselves with a bill that will affect one sixth of this country's economy. But what's even more exasperating is the fact that the vast majority of Republican senators who will actually VOTE this bill up or down haven't read it or even skimmed over it themselves. They don't know what they're voting for and the only reason they're voting FOR it is because it's NOT Obamacare! How sad!
There ARE, however, a couple of minor details that we should take into consideration before we place OUR stamp of approval on this piece of legislation. One, the government will spend LESS on health care in the coming years. Think about that for a minute. Will the cost of medical care go down in the next ten or so years? Hardly!! But Cassidy-Graham will allocate fewer funds to keep Americans healthy. Another point to consider is that fewer people will have health insurance coverage under Cassidy-Graham. Is that the kind of health care system we REALLY want? And the final point to consider, the premiums on health insurance policies will be dramatically higher under Cassidy-Graham. Yes, the elimination of the hated "mandates" will free people to CHOOSE whether to have health insurance or not. The end result will be that the health insurance pool will be older and sicker and everyone who buys health insurance will end up paying for that provision in the bill.
Maybe the Republicans can get away with it. Maybe they can convince us that getting less coverage with higher premiums is a good thing. Maybe they can make the argument that millions more uninsured people will make America great again. I don't know. All I do know is that the Republican Party is playing, you should pardon the expression, RUSSIAN roulette with our health care system. I don't know about you, but I don't think making Vladimir Putin the de facto Health and Human Services Secretary is a good idea!!
Filed under: Politics