The lies have caught up to the GOP regarding healthcare, but will that matter?

Paul Ryan released the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the republican attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or what they derisively call ‘Obamacare.’ Make no mistake, they named it that in an effort to get their base to hate the law. But those that hate it are more likely to have been helped by it and absolutely hurt by AHCA. There are still people out there who think that Obamacare and the ACA are two different things. They want to keep the ACA but get rid of Obamacare? This is an example of the GOP’s propaganda shoveled at uneducated supporters who continually vote against their own interests.

The ACA wasn’t perfect, that’s true. But no major piece of legislation is. What would have benefited everyone is if the republicans, instead of just saying no to every thing that president Obama proposed out of spite, should have worked with democrats to improve the law. It’s as simple as that. Instead of hurting millions of people, fix what’s wrong with the current law. Their hatred of the black president is so obvious. They put party over people all the time.

What’s worse is that republicans continue to lie to the American people about the benefits of the ACA. They say it’s failing (it’s not as the CBO recently reported), they say it doesn’t help people (it does). This was a republican idea, invented by the Heritage Foundation  in response to ‘Hillarycare’ in the 90s. Mitt Romney used this plan to implement healthcare reform in Massachusetts. It worked. So did the ACA. With some tweaks here and there, this could have been an amazing bill. But no, republicans wanted nothing more than to see president Obama fail, regardless of what it did to the country. On that note, we are the only advanced nation ON EARTH that doesn’t provide healthcare to its people. Healthcare is a RIGHT, not a privilege and the U.S. should get on board NOW!

The AHCA is demonstrably worse than the ACA. The CBO estimates that over the next ten years, upwards of 24 million people will lose their insurance, 14 million of whom will lose it in 2018. After Trump promised that he wouldn’t cut medicaid, the AHCA guts the program and will effectively end it as we know it. The expansion provided under Obamacare will be repealed and by 2020, no new enrollees will be allowed, meaning that if someone is phased out of medicaid, they will not be allowed back in. The states will get a block grant to cover medicaid patients, but once that money is gone…it’s gone.

Millions of people will see increases in premiums and deductibles, up to 750% in some cases. That was one of the major flaws of the ACA, that costs were too high for middle-income people.  With the AHCA, young, wealthy, healthy people will see decreases while the poor, elderly, and sick will see a rise. WTF?  And what’s worse? There is a 600 billion (yes, BILLION) dollar tax cut for the wealthy and corporations. Health insurance providers will no longer be taxed on CEO compensation over $500,000. So, the money we pay into the system can now go un-taxed to the CEO’s instead of to our care. The GOP has some fucked up priorities.

This plan also reduces or eliminates coverage for mental health and addiction issues. One thing I love about the irony of that, is the fact that republicans always say it’s not the access to guns that are problems of mass shootings, but the shooter’s mental health issues. So…

Another common argument against the ACA was that it was rammed through without proper oversight. Well, the ACA took over a year to pass with 20 congressional committee hearings (many public and on CSPAN) after which, the senate took a month and a half to push through over 1,000 amendments to the bill. The AHCA? About six weeks, in secret, no public hearings and it was released before the CBO’s cost estimates. Really GOP?

The mandate was also a contentious point for republicans. They didn’t want the federal government telling people what to do about their healthcare (except abortions, then the federal government can tell you that you can’t have them). So, they removed the individual mandate from this plan, sort of. If someone doesn’t have coverage, either by choice or if they lose their job, and they want to re-enroll in coverage, they will be charge 30% more for their premiums for an entire year. For people with money, that’s not a problem. Those just above the poverty line, that now won’t be covered under expanded medicaid, and more often than not work minimum wage jobs that don’t offer health insurance, well…they’re fucked.

Paul Ryan recently said that under the ACA, healthy people paid into a system that sick people use more. DUH!!! That’s exactly how insurance works you dumbass! It’s the same for car insurance. If someone never gets into an accident, they still have to have the insurance and their premiums go to pay for bad drivers. They also have a favorite buzzword…’access’. Their argument is that people will have access to healthcare, they just don’t tell us how those people will ‘afford’ it. Star Trek actor George Takei said it best when he tweeted:

Pay attention: “Access to healthcare” is not healthcare. I have “access” to Ryan Reynolds. But he’s not covering me.

He obviously meant that in jest, but it has serious connotations. By taking away affordable options from the poor, sick and elderly, what are people to do? They either go to the doctor and pay astronomical fees that they can’t afford, or they don’t. Maybe they wait until they are so sick that they have to go to the ER. Who pays for that? We do, with higher insurance premiums. Or, and I think this is just what the GOP prefers…people die. I look at their plans like this: “These people are already a drain on the system. Let’s push them out and they’ll just die. Problem solved!”

People will die under this plan. Studies have shown that  a reduction in insurance for 20 million people would result in 24,000 more avoidable deaths per year. This plan reduces insurance for up to 24 million people, so that number could rise. My hope is that moderate republicans will fight for the people they represent and vote this bill down. It’s the only way.