If someone says I write “fake news,” I know they actually don't read my columns. I spend an inordinate amount of time researching the material I quote in my column. Over-all, I'm just expressing my opinion, but my opinions are based on facts. That's why I felt it necessary to read the Republican Senators' health care Bill that finally made it out of the closet last week. I could not read it. I tried and was nearly reduced to tears. After reading so many, “strike the period at the end of paragraph 4 in section 6, place a comma, then insert the language from section 96 of U.S. Tax Code blah, blah, blah,” I became dizzy. Turns out I'm not alone. No Senators have read it, not even Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House. He said, “I didn't read it in it's entirety, but I don't have a problem with it.” As they say on Facebook, OMG!
First, the Bill was not written by a Senator or anyone that you elected. Not a single Senator has admitted to crafting the bill. It was written by staffers, mostly young, born of privilege, and never had to pay for health care in their life. How do I know this? I know this from my 45 years of experience in working in political campaigns. The sons and daughters of the largest contributors get the staffer jobs!
When I first looked at this bill, I was taken aback when I read the title, “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” Fancy title, sounds good, huh? Better care than what? Better care than Otto Warmbier received in North Korea? Reconciling what? When one thinks of “reconciliation,” we think of two people, or two groups becoming friends again. Ain't gonna happen if antics like what went on with the writing of this bill continue. Of course in this context they meant reconciliation of the House bill that Trump called “mean.” Actually, I don't know what it means. Why didn't they call it what it is—Health Care Bill from Hell!
The one thing made most clear in the bill is about abortion. You can tell what is most important to Republicans, or what they want to hang their hat on with their base, by the number of times it was repeated in this bill. Yes, we get it! Not a penny, not a dime, will be spent to perform abortions! And it never has, at least since the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976. And while we're on the subject, Planned Parenthood NEVER paid for abortions with Federal funds. Abortion and Planned Parenthood is the Republican bogieman.
The other thing made perfectly clear is that each state will receive a certain amount of money, just a piddly amount at that, to manage Medicaid. Then the piddly amount will be cut each year until the year 2023, it will no longer exist. That is just six years away, folks! Six years! Your Mother is now in a nursing home subsidized by Medicaid. She is 85 years old. In six years, she'll be 91. Are you prepared to pay for her care in a nursing home when Medicaid funds are cut off? Are you prepared to take care of her in your home? If the answer is “no” to these two questions, you need to take to the streets and stop this travesty. If you are aging, you may need nursing home care in the future. Unless you are very wealthy, you need to take that option off the table and put Dr. Kavorkian's number on speed-dial.
Here's another example of Medicaid being cut off or severely cut. You or a family member has a child born with a serious birth defect or gets cancer. You are not a wealthy family and Mom has to quit work to care for the child. The child will die without the specialized treatment. The child will die, the child will die!
The examples I cited above are the unintended consequences of cutting Medicaid funding. I would like to think nobody wants to throw Mama in the street or cause sick children to die. We all know the real reason the Republicans are so bent on cutting Medicaid. We've all heard it thousands of times in one form or another, and in not so subtle terms--- “I don't want my tax dollars paying for all those Black women having babies.” Substitute any minority for the term “Black.” If you say you've never heard something to that effect, I would say you have been hiding in a hole your entire life. Next, you will tell me you've never heard that all people who get food stamps drive Cadillacs, or buy steak and lobster.
I know my words are harsh, but it's the “harsh truth.” Another harsh truth is that if Trump's mouth is moving, he's telling a lie. During his campaign at rallies day after day, he said, “I will never cut Medicare or Medicaid.” Gullible me believed him. I already knew that cutting these programs were Paul Ryan's dream. When Trump was elected, that promise is the one thing that made his election tolerable for me. You may say that Medicare is not being cut. Yes it is! Those folks like George and I who have Medicare Advantage through his retirement, as an insurance supplement (that we pay for) will see our premiums increased and coverage sliced. So don't perpetuate the lie that Medicare is not being touched.
Why are the Republicans willing to do such great harm to so many American people? So they can give millionaires and billionaires a trillion (with a T) dollar tax cut. We must stop this insanity and insist on Medicare for ALL!
There was one thing I found amusing in the bill from hell. “The tanning tax is repealed and no taxes for services performed after September 30, 2017.” This gives an all new meaning to the term, “kissing up to your boss.”