Senate Health Care Bill — Trumpcare Phase 2

The American Health Care Act…the Better Care Reconciliation Act…Trumpcare…call it whatever you like, it doesn’t change the fact that the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal and replace legislation stinks. To say that I am disgusted with politicians (and Republicans in particular) at this point would be an understatement. The Senate health care bill (Trumpcare Phase 2) is simply the latest, hasty installment by congressional Republicans to get rid of Obamacare (PPACA) at any cost. It is becoming increasingly clear that replacing Obamacare (PPACA) WITH a “better” healthcare plan was never part of the Republican political agenda.

The Senate health care bill was done in total secrecy, christened with a new name (Better Care Reconciliation Act), and was unveiled less than a week before it will be scheduled for a vote. The Senate health care bill appears to be a slightly different version of the House American Health Care Act.  Just like the House bill, the Senate health care bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate (making health insurance less affordable when many of the young and healthy choose to go without), drastically cut back federal funding of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare (PPACA) taxes on the wealthiest Americans and companies that profit from health spending (insurers, medical device companies). Some of the start dates when federal funding cuts take effect (e.g., for Medicaid cuts,and Medicaid expansion) have been postponed to future dates.

Since gaining majorities in both Houses of Congress, the Republicans have forgotten that they are elected officials in a democracy and must ultimately answer to the people. Simply getting elected in November 2016 does not give our representatives a mandate to do whatever they want for their terms in office.  We expect them to process new information, listen to changes in public opinion, and act accordingly.  In addition to not listening, the Republicans in Congress appear to not care that their legislation will adversely impact a large number of Americans.  The Republicans are blinded in their rush to repeal Obamacare (PPACA).  President Trump wants a “win” (repeal of Obamacare) and the Republican-controlled Senate (and House) will give him one because it serves their political agenda. Coming up with a workable replacement for Obamacare (PPACA) would obviously take too long.

When the American people complain about the “meanness” of the Senate health care bill (Trumpcare Phase 2), the Republicans’ answer is to simply postpone the “meanness” to a later date when they hope the American people will forget that it was the Republicans that caused it in the first place. Heck, they will probably find a way to blame the Democrats for the misery they unleashed.

Senate health care bill Trumpcare phase 2

This new version of Trumpcare was largely orchestrated under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and written by a handful of legislative aides.  The goal of the revised House bill was to secure needed votes from the Republican ultra right (e.g., Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah) and the loudest critics of Obamacare (PPACA). Only the opinions of a select group of Republicans were taken. The primary goal of the Senate health care bill is to pass ANY form of legislation that gets rid of Obamacare (PPACA) BEFORE their summer recess begins (July 3).

I do not need to describe the details of this new bill because it is not too different from the one hastily crafted and passed in the House (American Health Care Act) in May. The professional news media (e.g., NPR) has done an excellent job of summarizing how this latest version of the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal and replace bill plays out. I particularly encourage everyone to read former President Barack Obama’s eloquent 939 word Facebook response to the Senate health care bill. I totally agree with his assessment that

“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.”

Summary of the Senate Health Care Bill (Trumpcare Phase 2)

As the process to repeal and replace Obamacare (PPACA) progresses, I am seeing an abuse of power that I didn’t think I would ever see when one party (the Republicans) has control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is barreling through the Senate health care bill simply to give Republicans and the President a “win”.  He and a handful of legislative aides have tweaked the House version of Trumpcare to win the votes of ultra-conservative elements in his party.  Dates when federal funding cutbacks take effect have been pushed back so that Americans forget who caused them.

Non-Republicans in the Senate are being treated like they are pesky, unimportant, and useless members of our democracy with nothing to contribute.

To quote from former President Obama’s Facebook post,

“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.”

The Republicans in the Senate (and the House before them) are sending the American people a clear message; namely, providing affordable, quality health care for all Americans is simply not part of our mission.  It is in everyone’s best interest to contact your Senators and voice your opinion about this very ugly piece of legislation.

 

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