Death to Affordable Health Care?

POSTNOTE June 15: Today’s Washington Post has a very worthwhile column by E.J. Dionne: “The GOPs fantastically anti-democratic quest to kill health care in the dark”.


Of one thing there is hardly room for a question: the current Republican leadership seems to HATE the very concept of health care for everyone. Indeed, the Republicans seem always to have resisted the idea. I looked this morning at the Wiki entry on Social Security amendments (those intended to lead in the direction of health care for everyone). Take a glance at the “History” section. Note who initiated the ideas, and who killed them….

One of the first actions of Donald Trump was to attempt to kill “Obamacare”. It failed, even in the House of Representatives, who hate the Affordable Care Act.

On my birthday in early May, 2017, the House of Representatives rushed a vote for a new Health Care bill before its impact could be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The rush job passed, and the scoring by CBO was as bad as anticipated. It would have devastating impact. (I wrote a bit about my feelings in the second half of my birthday post, here.)

Now the Senate Republican leadership is doing a stealth move to try to advance a Health Care bill essentially without hearings before July 4 recess. Odds are they will succeed, if iron party discipline holds.

If you haven’t paid attention to this matter, do so. The overnight Just Above Sunset gives another good summary. There is no semblance of involvement of the “American people” unless you’re an insider within the majority camp.

It is simple to contrast the open Debate during the Affordable Health Care Act back in 2009-10, with the present day travesty. In 2009-10, everything was in the open, for many months. I recall such delightful pieces of information as, for instance, page 1014 of a Draft pulled out as an example of how terrible AHCA would be. Even if the page was true, and a current version, it was hopelessly biased, but it was allowed in as part of the public conversation.

I searched my own blog file and under “Affordable Care Act Obamacare” there are multiple entries, especially August 2, 2009, which lists a dozen posts relating to the debate then raging.

At minimum, there were about 18 posts between July 24, 2009 and March 23, 2010. I’m sure there are more, just lacking the key words for the search. The intention was to have full and open debate. You probably have your own memories of that year of Town Halls and loud voices.

Now we’re seven years later. The goal, this “Kill Obamacare” round, is to have no debate, so that people may not see what they are about to lose.

The consequences for the disadvantaged are very real and very stark, whether they happen in the next six months or the next two or more years.



A closing note:

Last Sunday I was at one of those graduation parties so common this time of year. These are places to catch up with folks not seen since the last reunion.

This particular day, I met a niece who was perhaps early grade school when I first met her, and now is an accomplished Nurse who has for a number of years worked in Intensive Care in a major public hospital.

It is my practice to avoid “politics” in any way possible at these kinds of gatherings…best to enjoy the sandwich and the cookies and leave with humor intact.

This day, my niece was wanting to engage in conversation about health care, and how complex a field it is, and how, in effect, we are not a country who leaves people to die in the streets.

If a person is in crisis in her city, they will get care in her or another hospital.

I related my own story, from the summer of 1965, which appears in the previously cited May 4, 2017, blog.

After our meeting it occurred to me that there was a particular intersection of events during that terrible summer of 1965…something I hadn’t told my relative; something I wished I had:

Barbara, my wife, died July 24, 1965, at 22 (kidney disease), and we buried her on Saturday, July 29, in Valley City, North Dakota.

The next day, July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation which among other things brought to life Medicare and Medicaid.

“What a difference a day makes”, goes the song.

July 30, 1965, Medicare and Medicaid were the farthest things from my mind. Survival with an infant was everything, then.

We can’t go back to those “good old days”. We are the only ones who can make a difference.

From experience, I can attest that no one should hope that the Republicans fantasy of less federally established and financed medical care and lower taxes for the already wealthy become the new law of this land.

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