Let the Games Begin!


Let's get ready to rrrrruuuummmmbbbblllle! The Senate Republicans have now laid down the gantlet, and it is now time for us to have a complete and thorough discussion and debate about government involvement in the health care system. One where open suggestions and ideas may be freely floated, and where hearings will bring forth legions of experts, putting forth the benefits of the case for both parties.

Oh. You mean that's not going to happen? We're going to barely have a week to discuss and debate this immense change being proposed to our already dysfunctional health care system, then a vote will be forced through? No other alternatives except for what 13 white male Senators came up with will even be considered?

I am truly disgusted by the spectacle of our legislators working hard to craft a bill aimed at causing the greatest amount of harm to the greatest number of people. The old adage was that the legislative and bill drafting process was akin to making sausage. That may still hold true, but it seems that a new step is added whereby the sausage has to pass through the digestive system before the new legislation is laid, steaming fresh, at the feet of its admiring partisan supporters.

It has come down to this. Both parties repudiate any notion of working across the aisle in order to craft a thoughtful comprehensive approach to dealing with the huge problem we have with excessive costs and maldistribution of health care services. Instead, one party works diligently behind closed doors to create a tax cut that only affects those who have income greater than $200,000 per year ($250,000 for joint filers). True, it also removes $19 billion in taxes imposed on medical insurers, pharmaceutical firms, and medical device manufacturers. The removal of these taxes shows the value of campaign contributions to the Senators who drafted this legislation. I saw today on TV that over the past few years, these Senators received about $0.5 million in campaign contributions from these entities. $19 billion / $0.5 million = $38,000 in tax benefits for each dollar in campaign contributions.

So we have a bill nominally posited as a health care bill, but in reality it's a tax cut favoring the top 1% of income earners, and favoring those whose businesses greatly benefited by the increased demand attributable to the Affordable Care Act. And in order to frame this as a win for the average person, we will enable states to allow for limited insurance products, much like it was prior to the ACA's implementation. Can't wait to see the expression on the face of some poor schmuck who grabbed on to one of the new cheap health care insurance plans only to find out it pays a total of $400 per day for hospitalization expenses when they have to cover a heart attack hospitalization.. But it's all good, since the health insurance consumer could have chosen a better plan (but couldn't afford it).

Let's have a real debate as the outcome of this faux discussion. Let's make a determination whether we believe the US is an outlier from the rest of the civilized world, and make health care an independent responsibility, or whether we wish to join the rest of the world and enable a single-payer system to provide health care for all citizens.

My confidence that this type of discussion will occur in the hallowed halls of Congress? Less than the square root of negative 1. My reasoning? There is zero incentive for members of Congress to reach across the aisle and actively involve the opposition party in legislative negotiation. As the French have said, La Plus ça Change, la plus c'est la même chose. The more things change, the more they remain the same. It sounds better in French.

Whatever happens with the current health care bill negotiations, I sincerely doubt whether the outcome will improve the situation for the majority in this country who are dependent upon either government policies directly, or dependent upon the structures set up by the ACA.

I call for the creation of a brand new party that is no beholden to the existing power structure. I call for a Macron-like entity to take over US politics from the completely corrupt and compromised party structures that we are burdened with. Part of our problem in the US is that we do not have a parliamentary structure. If we did, then Nancy Pelosi would have been driven from her leadership position in disgrace over the last few election cycles as her position would have been exposed as having a fatal flaw. Meaning, the vast majority of voters in this country do not agree with a San Francisco liberal.

Nothing will happen unless enough of us speak out and demand change. Even then, there is no guarantee that we will see significant change. But I do know that if no one speaks out, there will be no change. I am speaking out, here and now.


Autumn Cote Added Jun 23, 2017 - 8:52pm
Please note, it's against the rules to post articles here without writing a qualifying comment on the work of others.  By qualifying, I mean a comment that shows you read the article and lasts more than a sentence.  So long as you follow the rules (starting now), many thanks for your participation with Writer Beat!
Tubularsock Added Jun 23, 2017 - 8:54pm
Well you forgot that besides the 13 white male Senator are the legions of pharmaceutical, insurance carriers, and HMO's lobbyists who have written the new plan. You don't think that fat old white men can write do you? Just make sure Viagra is covered! There is nothing like an erection for the election!
Leroy Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:15pm
"No other alternatives except for what 13 white male Senators came up with will even be considered?"
Where were you when one black man rammed it down the Republicans' throats?  Payback's hell.
I agree that any changes need to be bipartisan.  It seems the Republicans learned nothing from ObamaCare.  I say strip out the most onerous provisions of ObamaCare--even if it is only the Republicans, then work together to replace it with a 10-page bill.  At least we would know what is in it.   First and foremost, it has to reduce the cost of insurance.
Tubularsock Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:39pm
Leroy, you may have something with the 10 pages but perhaps 13 would work better. That way each of the fat white Senators would be able to read one page. You know how they hate to share.
Bill H. Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:12pm
If people can't figure that out, then we are screwed.
Who do you think is offering the wording and the lobby bucks to get it passed?
Duuuuh, yeah! The Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries!
Don't fall for this one.
Leroy Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:49am
Enter your comment here...
Jeff Michka Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:28pm
Bill H sez : Duuuuh, yeah! The Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries!
Don't fall for this one.-Well, seems they'll fall for anything if it hurts "those people." And that's the goal: "punish" certain sectors of the population.  Look at lovely Leroy and his "humanity."
Bill H. Added Jun 25, 2017 - 1:31am
Jeff, as I have said before - Diehard Trumpies will defend virtually anything Trump says or does. If Trump signed a bill tomorrow declaring that all puppies and kittens must be euthanized within the next 30 days, Trumpies would not question it at all, along with conjuring up reasons why it is a good idea.
In the same manner, they will fall for a health care bill that they will probably end up regretting "bigly", as it will most likely end up affecting the Trumpies the most.
Even A Broken Clock Added Jun 25, 2017 - 8:56pm
As many have noticed, if you walk through the flow from most folks thoughts, you will barely get the bottom of your feet damp.  In this case, the motivation to nominally repeal the ACA is as follows:
1. We said we would. Never mind that we never had a coherent plan for what would replace it.
2. Poverty is a moral failing. If you can't obtain a job with health care benefits, you are not working hard enough and it reflects poorly upon your soul.
3. Our individual contributors who lose their requirements to pay for incremental taxes once their income exceeds $200,000 or $250,000 per year are ecstatic over the tax break that is implemented (retroactive to the first of the year for capital gains).
4. Our campaign contributors in the medical industry benefit to the rate of $19 billion per year. More power to them as they cut the Medicaid benefit over time so significantly that it will lead to the deaths of many who fall below the thresholds of the new Medicaid limits.
5. Let me reiterate, poverty is a moral failing. Tough shit if you can't succeed in the economy and work hard and smart enough to be counted as a winner in the lottery called the health care coverage system.
Bill H. Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:19pm
6. The new bill removes the ACA's limit on corporate tax deductions for executive pay. The cost to the American tax payer of eliminating this provision comes to well in excess of $70 million dollars a year.
7. The new bill eliminates consumer protections such as limiting insurers’ ability to deny, limit or cancel coverage, end annual and lifetime spending caps and ensure that more premium dollars are spent on delivering and improving care.
This is only what we know so far, as details have been hidden in closed sessions. Many of these discussions have included insurance industry and pharmaceutical executives.
yep, it's all about profits for the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and not at all about quality healthcare for the people.
And yes, that includes Trump supporters, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
So it appears that we are all united at least in one respect!
Maureen Foster Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:17am
What don't you understand about Trumpcare that makes it so "incoherent" to you?  Whatever it is, I'll be happy to explain it to you.  
Bill H. Added Jun 28, 2017 - 1:28am
Hopefully the next attempt will be something that has benefits for the consumers and not just the CEO's.
Even A Broken Clock Added Jun 28, 2017 - 11:09pm
Bill, I agree with you whole heartedly. Maureen, what were you referring to?