It is hard to fathom the depth of brutality and hypocrisy of the Trump administration and the Republican millionaires in Congress who have passed, without a single hearing or any budgetary analysis, a new healthcare bill to replace Obamacare. The new bill amounts to a death sentence to millions of workers who will be deprived insurance for health care. It is estimated that at least 24 million working and poor people will lose the coverage they now have. Lower-income workers will be hardest hit.
For example, a 60-year-old worker living in Phoenix who earns $40,000 annually would be required to pay an additional $12,370 a year to buy a policy (Kaiser Family Foundation). This worker, along with millions of others, would end up being forced to forego insurance completely, causing overloaded emergency rooms across the country to bear the avalanche of seriously ill patients.
Trump, Paul Ryan and the circle of millionaires in Congress are actively spreading lies about the new bill claiming that costs will be cut and premiums and drug prices reduced. Lies!
In reality the new bill is one of the most vicious and brutal attacks on workers and poor communities in recent history.
Here are a few of the most horrifying provisions:
People with pre-existing conditions no longer protected.
Among the seemingly endless list of horrors that will come down on workers and poor people is the slashing of protections for people with pre-existing conditions. A phony dog-and-pony show in the bill claims to allow states with waivers to cover “high-risk” pools. What this means is that states will be given the opportunity to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
This could mean a return to the days when babies born with birth defects were denied coverage.
The gutting of Medicaid.
The program that provides health care to 74 million poor, disabled, and elderly people would be gutted to the tune of $880 billion in cuts over 10 years.
The end of subsidies.
$300 billion in costs to help people buy insurance who do not get insurance coverage from their bosses.
Universal mandate OUT, death panels IN.
While Obamacare created an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance, the new bill eliminates this with the phony and sickening use of “freedom of choice.” The result will be that younger and healthier workers will not buy insurance, leading to a “death spiral” where funds are not sufficient to care for people who are older and sicker, with more and more losing their coverage.
Blatant sexist attacks on women.
The bill would defund Planned Parenthood. Hated by the male dominated right wing, Planned Parenthood provides, among other services, health services including birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and education.
In line with the man who boasts about grabbing and abusing women, the new bill refers to rape and sexual assault as a “preexisting condition”! In addition, the horrors of the bill include the ability of states to deny coverage for caesarean sections, postpartum depression and post-domestic abuse care.
Before the Affordable Care Act passed, rape survivors were routinely denied coverage for injuries sustained during attacks, including sexually transmitted diseases, psychological trauma, and pregnancy. Again it is open season on women’s rights to control their own bodies, led by legions of sexist men.
Plus, under the new bill, companies are allowed to deny coverage for vaccinations, mammograms and gynecologic screenings.
Denial of LGBTQ services
Many of the same bigots who participated in mounting this despicable bill are maneuvering to slash protections for LGBTQ workers to obtain full medical coverage and services. Trans people in particular are facing hostility from the patriarchal corridors of the right wing.
Huge tax cuts for the billionaire class.
On top of all this is another huge issue, this draconian bill includes another huge tax cut for the rich, financed by big cuts in Medicaid, the federal program that provides health care to the poor and indigent.
Escalate the Resistance! Don’t expect Congress to do it!
The outright cruelty of denying millions of working and poor people—infants, children, adults, the elderly—amounts to a crime of mass suffering and even death for millions, and the negation of the fundamental right of every person in society to free quality healthcare on demand.
While the Affordable Care Act failed to meet the standards set by single payer models, its repeal will mean unspeakable suffering for so many.
Even before this horrendous piece of reactionary legislation was passed, people everywhere have been protesting the attack on the ACA. Town hall meetings have erupted into angry protests against the audacity of politicians to undermine the right to medical care.
Surely, the struggle against this horrendous aspect of the Trump right-wing clique will see a new wave of anger and protests which, if channeled into broad organization everywhere, will create the conditions to reverse and restore the rights of the ACA and beyond.
Single Payer ‘Medicare for All’ bill moves forward in California
In a significant victory, the Healthy California Act, SB 562 has cleared the state Senate Health Committee.
This bill would establish an improved single-payer “Medicare for All” in California that would provide free quality health care for all. In summarizing the committee vote, Roseann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, said the following:
“The most important thing today was the breadth and depth of support by the dozens of people lining up to support the bill, representing 250 organizations across the state. These are organizers who are going to be with us to make the Healthy California Act the law of the land. …”
At a militant rally in front of the State House in Sacramento, Senator Ricardo Lara, one the of the bill’s co-authors said:
“California has the courage to say it’s finally time to remove the insurance companies from the decision-making on how we get care in this country. It’s time to say once and for all that health care is a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it.”
Supporters of the Healthy California Act state that it could become a national model for how all states can act to address the ongoing emergency of individuals and families threatened by high out-of-pocket costs, inadequate access to coverage, and restrictive insurance networks.
The struggle must continue. Every person has a right to quality care on demand. The people can and will overturn the Trump agenda of hatred and violence.