From ObamaCare to Trump Don’t Care
Well, it’s a brand new day for my white Alaska friends who have been under the oppressive regime of “Obamacare,” otherwise know as the Affordable Care Act. Finally, after promising for seven years to repeal and replace it, congressional Republicans have introduced Trumpcare as a solution. Included in the pushback is the 10 percent tax on tanning beds. As a person of such blinding whiteness this time of year, I feel liberated. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that just this change will cost $600 million over the next 10 years.
For those of us who nerd out and actually read bills, Trumpcare presents some trouble since it hasn’t been posted for the public to read. The Republicans did print it out and set it next to a printout of Obamacare. It was much shorter, so that must mean something. All I can figure is it takes fewer pages to say no than yes. If size matters, just take the “65 or older” out of Medicare.
Kansas Republican Congressman Roger Marshals said: “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.” He seems nice. I wonder if he ever read anything else Jesus said.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan explained very patiently what was wrong with Obamacare: “The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.” No kidding. What’s next? “People with car insurance pay for people who have wrecks”? Really groundbreaking stuff here. It’s like he just found out that insurance is buying a lottery ticket you don’t want to cash in on.
Republican representative from the great state of Illinois John Shimkus argued against the ACA mandates, asking, “What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” Well, maybe he had chickenpox during that one day in health class and missed the slideshow on where babies come from. Here’s a question for him: What about women having to purchase erectile dysfunction medication? Sir, erections have consequences and SOME of them require prenatal care.
Rick DeSantis, a congressman from Florida, explained that people with cancer can go to the emergency room for chemo treatments. I am happy for Mr. DeSantis. Clearly he has never had to go through chemo or watch someone he loves go through it.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released its assessment of the repeal, and Alaska takes the hardest hit in the country: “Unlike the ACA’s tax credits, the House plan’s tax credits wouldn’t adjust for geographic variation in insurance premiums; they’d be the same for a 45-year-old consumer in Alaska, where benchmark health insurance coverage costs $12,600 this year on average, as in New Hampshire, where it costs $3,600.”
I’ve been to New Hampshire. Other goods and services aren’t 25 percent what ours cost, except for health care. “In Alaska, by far the highest-premium state, the average reduction in tax credits would be $10,200, or 78 percent.” That’s the average.
The AARP, which is called “a special interest group” by the Trump press secretary, came out opposed to the Trumpcare bill. By their estimate, a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year would pay $8,400 more for health care than they are now under Obamacare. More than half their salary. Apparently, making America great again includes making people poorer and sicker than they were. Oh, and if you’re so sick of winning, you’re probably going to need insurance.
Indian Health Services and the Alaska Native Medical Center and clinics were funded in large part by the ACA. A lot of people are trying to find out if that too has been repealed. A study in Montana showed a loss of 3,000 jobs of their medical field workers if the Indian Health Service is cut.
However, it’s not all bad news. If you’re a CEO of a health insurance company, you should be picking out your next fancy thing. Yay for you! Trumpcare reinstates your mega bonuses. How you’ve been able to make it on mere tens of millions of dollars over the last few years is truly inspirational. Someone should make a movie.
All of this really isn’t a surprise. The congressional Republicans have attempted to repeal Obamacare more than 60 times since 2012.
Alaskans who went for years without insurance are currently covered by Obamacare. Under Trumpcare, mental health and substance addiction programs will not be covered. Our state already suffers from high suicide rates and too many towns are ravaged by opioid addiction. Besides access to health care, our economy is hugely dependent on healthy people to do their jobs. In the first 15 months of the expansion under ACA, Alaska health care providers received over $288 million. Consider what our economy looks like rolling that $288 million away. We’re already in pretty grave shape as it is. What’s clear here is that like most of the Trump agenda, the burden is to be shifted from the producers to us, the consumers.
I wish my fellow Alaskans good health. We’re all going to need it.