3 Talking Points for Rob and Bob on the GOP Healthcare Plan

Update 3/24/17: GOP Healthcare Bill Pulled!

Facing increasing resistance, GOP leadership pulled their healthcare bill in the house without taking a final vote. There are no plans for rescheduling this vote, and both Paul Ryan and the President say that the ACA will remain the law of the land for the forseeable future.

Many pundits credit the GOP Freedom Caucus with the failure–they didn’t think the bill was far enough to the right. But every concession that was made to this group made the bill more inhumane, and it was the outcry of ordinary people who would be affected by this terrible legislation that moved moderate Republicans to retract their support.

24 Million May Lose Coverage

the-american-health-care-act-gopThe main point that we need to keep at the center of the healthcare discussion is that real people who need real help with lose it with the GOP plan. The Congressional Budget Office Report estimates that in ten years, as many as 24 million could lose coverage:

  • 14 million could lose coverage by 2018
  • 21 million total could lose coverage by 2020
  • 24 million total could lose coverage by 2026

The President famously promised “coverage for all” and that he would not leave people “dying in the streets,” but this plan resoundingly would not provide coverage for all, and it could lead to real and deadly consequences for millions who would lose access to healthcare or have to settle for plans with high deductibles and little effective coverage.

Bottom line

Healthcare is a Right, Not a Commodity

At the core of Republican’s ideas about healthcare is the destructive notion that healthcare is a commodity — that it is a product that should be sold in a free market in order to create profits for shareholders. But when the goal is making money, the outcome will never be quality, affordable healthcare for all. We need to tell Republicans that it is callous and inhumane to promote a “survival of the fittest” healthcare plan. It should not be acceptable to say that some people just might not be able to afford healthcare, and tough luck for them. It is not okay to suggest that the rich and the healthy have no obligation to help the sick and the poor. That’s how insurance (all insurance) works!

It is not a Good Thing That The GOP Plan Saves the Government Money

No one is saying that we should load up on government debt, but the fact is that the ACA was deficit neutral. The Democrats worked hard to ensure that their plan was paid for, and they did this by levying taxes on the wealthiest 1% and the executives of insurance companies who would profit the most, lowering the cost of healthcare through the individual mandate, and putting the opt-out fines back into the program. This plan is fiscally responsible, it keeps healthcare cost down (or at least from rising so rapidly), and it has allowed millions more people to be covered by Medicaid and given stipends to pay for insurance. There are some issues, and some areas need to be fixed–for example, if the government could negotiate with drug companies, these costs could be drastically reduced–but overall, the goal was clear: healthcare, not government spending cuts.

So when the GOP boasts about the $337 billion their plan will save in government spending, remember, those costs don’t go away. That spending is for healthcare, not for something frivolous like iPhones for all. So if the government stops paying, who picks up the tab? States and individuals.

Also, consider this: their plan actually makes 1.2 trillion in cuts, yet it only saves the government $337 billion. Why? Because the rest of that money is given back to the wealthiest Americans through repeal of the taxes that the ACA uses for healthcare funding. Insurance companies further profit through the 30% penalty they can charge consumers if their coverage is interrupted and they want to get back on insurance–that’s right: instead of a fine that goes to the government to fund healthcare, the money goes into the pockets of private companies.

Republicans have also touted the potential 10% decrease in healthcare premiums. But this claim needs to be carefully evaluated. The reason for this decrease, according to the CBO, and well-explained by the New York Times, is that older people will not be able to afford care and will drop out of the pool of the insured, and because it costs more to ensure people who typically need more care, it could reduce the pool for the younger, healthier people left in it. Survival of the fittest is the wrong idea for healthcare.

Bottom Line

Even though this plan has been repudiated by the AARP, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Hospital Association, and many more, the President and Republican leadership are still trying to force it through Congress.

Sen. Rob Portman has  voiced some reservations about this plan. Keep up the pressure on Portman to put compassion and reason before partisan politics.

Bob Latta, on the other hand, is in favor of rushing this bill through Congress, because “if we don’t — the Democrats will run the clock out on us.” Let Latta know that his party-first politics do not represent us!

Bonus:

For those in Ohio legislative district 47, our representative Derek Merrin has co-sponsored a resolution called “Urge repeal and replacement of Affordable Care Act” that not only calls for full repeal, but demands Medicaid block grants to states, which our Republican Governor has stated would hurt Ohio’s budget and Ohio’s people.

Let Derek Merrin know what you think about his co-sponsorship of this wrong headed resolution: Phone (614) 466-1731.