Op Ed

Trumpcare Can Be Stopped

It drastically reduces health coverage. Senate could, should resist it.

By - May 14th, 2017 01:29 pm
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Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has become a popular success, with over 20 million Americans, including 243,000 Wisconsinites, gaining affordable quality health care coverage. But there has been unrelenting GOP hostility and sabotage. Years of calculated fearmongering, misrepresentations and lies culminated in the GOP-led House narrowly voting to repeal the ACA, with a so-called replacement. Trumpcare. All Wisconsin GOP representatives voted to kill the ACA, while all Wisconsin Democratic representatives were opposed.

Trump wanted a legislative win. Moreover, House Speaker Paul Ryan and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had become Trump’s scapegoats, and needed to deliver for Trump. Panic. The White House collaborated with the House GOP Freedom Caucus on making Trump’s replacement bill even worse. Trump played the tune: Must pass it before the public finds out what’s in the bill.

The GOP bill went through the House with little debate, zero committee hearings, no amendments allowed on the floor and no waiting for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “score” (fiscal impact and rise in the uninsured). The U.S. as a plutocracy: “As the money torrent rises, it’s no coincidence that for the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires …” (New York Times). Ryan and Trump could care less about regular folks.

Trump falsely claimed “It’s a great plan”. But remember Trump’s previous pledges: “Insurance for everybody” or “no one will lose coverage” and “no cuts to Medicaid”. Bold-faced lies. Trumpcare would mean: diminished health care protections, much higher insurance charges for the elderly, sick and folks with pre-existing conditions, many fewer covered by private insurance, millions kicked off Medicaid, huge tax cut for the wealthy and defunding Planned Parenthood. In a nutshell at least 24 million more uninsured, including 431,000 Wisconsinites (CBO and Urban Institute). There’s more.

Trumpcare would put predatory insurance companies back in the driver’s seat. States could get waivers to allow the sale of useless bare-bones health insurance coverage as well as price gouging the elderly, sick and others with pre-existing conditions. High insurance premiums — less folks covered. So to get votes in the House Ryan added inadequate funding for high-risk pools to supposedly cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker put his finger in the air, suggesting he was open to a waiver. A quick outcry and Walker pulled back, for now. And, despite Walker’s ill-informed claims, when Wisconsin had a high-risk pool there were big problems: Only 21,000 were covered, leaving out tens of thousands, deductibles and premiums were too high for many and there was a 6-month waiting period (Modern Healthcare). Cancer does not wait. What to do?

Stop trying to repeal the ACA. Kill Trumpcare in the Senate. If you know people in Alaska, Maine, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia contact them to speak with their GOP senators: Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito. These GOP senators have been critical of Trumpcare. No backsliding on health care. Regular folks want to win.

Bill Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

This column was originally published by Wispolitics.com

Categories: Health, Op-Ed, Politics

12 thoughts on “Op Ed: Trumpcare Can Be Stopped”

  1. Jason says:

    Yes, Trumpcare would cover less people mainly because the penalty is lifted. Seriously, what 27 year old wants to pay $200 dollar a month premiums and a $7500 dollar deductible. You find yourself paying for everything and the insurer nothing. With out the penalty young people will not be forced into coverage.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    What about those who aren’t young Jason?

  3. Bruce Thompson says:

    Last I checked, young people don’t stay young.

  4. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Who is going to pay for all these goodies? if the interest on National debt goes normal, we will be busted. WE wish that the whole thing would let go bust and it reverts to the state but Trump is determined to try to find a fix.

  5. Duane Snyder says:

    So in 1972 Richard Nixon signed a law saying that the U.S. government would pay for dialysis for anyone who needed it. (I learned that from watching John Oliver on HBO yesterday). I think he also proposed a health care system very similar to the ACA back in 1974.
    Compare that to today’s heartless GOP and I wonder how in the world the GOP has come to dominate the US political landscape. Oh wait, voter suppression and corporate media, that’s how.

  6. Mary Kay Wagner says:

    The ACA did not fix our healthcare system. It wasn’t designed to.It was the first step. And it did what it was suppose to do; slowed the rate of health care inflation. Prior to the implementation of the ACA health insurance premiums were increasing at a rate of between 30-60 percent a year! That has slowed to between 15-20 percent a year. More work still needs to be done. But returning to a system where 24 million people can’t get insurance; a system in which we pay some of the highest costs in the world and have at best mediocre results is not the answer. There is a reason why the AMA, AHA and ALL the other health care provider organizations in this country are against the AHCA.

  7. JPKMKE says:

    We are moving in the wrong direction by insuring fewer people (either privately or through government insurance). Most hospitals operate between profit loss and single-digit margins. A hospital’s entire profit margin can be erased in any given year by providing care for the uninsured or patients unable to pay the ridiculous costs of service. The basic economics in the healthcare value stream need to be fixed…or alternatively it needs to become more of a public system. In the current state, there is high operating costs in the system, with static capacity to provide services. This is because hospitals, healthcare systems, and care facilities have made huge investments in equipment, buildings, advertising, wings all in the interest of competing for patients. Care facilities and hospitals are built while the facility down the street is operating at 60% capacity. So now there are multiple facilities competing for the same patients and using the same service capacity (physicians and specialists). You have doubled the operating cost in the system with the same number of customers (patients) and using the same delivery capacity (healthcare providers) as the competition. A parallel would be like building two or six NBA Arenas in Milwaukee to provide similar services (games and shows) and only keeping our one NBA team. It will increase the price of tickets and everyone will still be watching the same players and game. It’s economic insanity. I do not think this will be fixed through privatization and expansion of third party payers. Focus on the cost of service first.

  8. Jason J says:

    Hey Duane, last I saw the state of Vermont was planning to cover all of its citizens with universal health care. Everything was ready to go for implementation and then came the realizations that it was to expensive. California is next, there is no plan yet how they will implement taxation but full steam ahead.

  9. Rich says:

    @Jason, your strawman actually sounds pretty reasonable…$200/mo isn’t an unreasonable down payment on future health needs. That’s all insurance is … a risk leveler, turning an unknown and unknowable future cost into a known quantity that can be budgeted for now.

  10. Jason says:

    I work with a lot of young people that lack insurance because for one reason or another their parents will not hold them on their health coverage. They now no about the health penalty because it is reflected on their refund. They won’t pay in because they recognize that the penalty is the better deal.

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    Considering the way you have repeatedly disparaged young people here Jason, it must be a chore to have to hide your contempt for them at work. Time to look for new work. Those people shouldn’t have to work with someone who loathes them like you do.

  12. JPKMKE says:

    I’ll also say that the wedge-style politicalization of this issue has had a tragic effect. The program (whatever you call it) needs to be updated and refined. Healthcare should be a right, not a shopping experience, and lower income people should not have lesser healthcare than higher income people. ACA/Obamacare is just a closely matched version of Romneycare implemented in Massachusetts six years earlier. There’s no genius here, just politicians trying to get their way. Meanwhile, the electorate fall right in line with the political gamesmanship by decrying one program or the other, rather than arguing the features and outcomes of the solution and demanding improvements from our politicians.

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