2017-MAY-05: The final? attempt
in the Senate:
This topic is continued here from Part 9 at the previous page
2017-MAY-04: The House narrowly passed the new version of the American Health Care Act [AHCA] (Continued):
The vote was 217 to 213. Twenty Republican Representatives voted against the bill as did all of the Democrats in the House. They were apparently concerned about the devastating loss in health care coverage that would be caused by the bill to their constituents, and their resultant sickness and death on a massive scale.
President Trump was enthusiastic. At the White House Rose Garden shortly after the bill's passage, he said:
"Yes, premiums will be coming down; yes, deductibles will be coming down, but very importantly, it’s a great plan. ... We want to brag about the plan."
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted:
"This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate. ... [He said that Republican Senators] should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal, and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way." 1
2017-MAY-04: President Trump compared the proposed U.S. Health Care bill with Australia's existing legislation:
President Trump met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and later held a press conference. During the conference, Trump discussed the AHCA bill currently in Congress. He said:
"It's a very good bill right now. The premiums are going to come down very substantially. The deductibles are going to come down. It's going to be fantastic healthcare. Right now, Obamacare is failing. ... I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better healthcare [in Australia] than we do [in the U.S.]." 2
Like Canada, the UK, and essentially all other developed nations, Australia has a universal, single payer, health care system administered by their federal government. Their system is similar to the U.S. Medicare but covers people of all ages. Like Medicare, it is well respected by the public. It provides basic services to the entire population. Australians who can afford the additional cost often purchase auxiliary insurance to obtain improved coverage.
Former independent presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, was interviewed afterwards on MSNBC's program "All in with Chris Hayes." Sanders said, laughing:
"Wait a minute. The president has just said it.
Let's take a look at the Australian healthcare system. ... maybe he wants to take a look at the Canadian healthcare system or systems throughout Europe. Thank you, Mr. President. Let us move to a Medicare-for-all system that does what every other major country on earth does: guarantee healthcare to all people at a fraction of the cost per capita that we spend."
"Thank you, Mr. President. We'll quote you on the floor of the Senate." 2
Surprisingly, Sanders did not mention the other advantages to the universal health care systems of other countries: routine preventative care often heads off illness before it develop into a serious problem. Life expectancy is extended. Infant mortality is reduced. Maternal mortality is reduced. The health care system is at least partly orientated towards making people healthy instead of making money for doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. As a result, the cost per person is much lower than in the U.S.
The next day, President Trump backtracked slightly. He tweeted:
"Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do -- everybody does. ObamaCare is dead! But our healthcare will soon be great." 3
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented in a news briefing:
"The president was complimenting a foreign leader on the operations of their healthcare system. It didn't mean anything more than that." 4
2017-MAY-05: The House Bill arrives in the Senate:
Many have predicted that the Senate will re-write much of the House Bill and pass it back to the House for another vote.
The Republican's narrow majority of 52 to 48 Senators, plus the Democratic Senators' united and enthusiastic opposition to the bill means that almost all Republican Senators must vote for a bill in order for it to pass. Several Republican Senators have indicated concerns about this bill. They include high insurance costs for poor and older Americans, and funding problems for those states with high populations of hard-to-insure people. 5
Representative Michael C. Burgess, (R-TX) said that the Senate needs to work on the bill:
"I want them to. I’m anxious to see what they’re going to do with finishing the job that we started."
Senator Chris Murphy, (D-CT), said:
"I hope this thing is dead on arrival, and I hope that a ton of House members lose their seat for voting for something this inhumane. ... [It was up to Democrats] to tell this story and drive its approval ratings down from 18 to 8[%]." 5
Jennifer Steinhauer, writing for the New York Times, said that the process of passing the bill in the House:
... alienated committee chairmen, whose work took a back seat to the efforts of the elusive chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Representative Mark Meadows, [R-NC], ... and it chipped away at their authority. Mr. Meadows and his fellow conservatives, who have toiled for years as philosophical bomb throwers in the legislative process, got the attention of the White House, which worked hard to meet their needs and pressure moderate [Republicans] to come along." 6
The Minority Leader in the Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said:
"I sincerely hope that the Senate won’t mimic the House and try to rush a bill through without hearings, debate, or analysis."
He described the House Bill as a:
"... breathtakingly irresponsible piece of legislation that would endanger the health of tens of millions of Americans." 6
Senator Lamar Alexander, (R-TN) is chairman of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He said:
"We want to get it right. There will be no artificial deadlines."
Senator Alexander says they are working on their own plan right now.
"We've already started. ... The House has passed its bill. If we find good ideas in it, we will borrow them, put them in our bill. We will write our own bill. That's why we have two houses of Congress." 7
Senator Rob Portman, (R-OH) issued a statement saying:
"I’ve already made clear that I don’t support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse. We have an opioid crisis in this country, and I’m going to continue to work with my colleagues on solutions that ensure that those who are impacted by this epidemic can continue to receive treatment. ..." 8
"Congress must take responsible action that lowers health care costs, but these changes must be made in a way that does not leave people behind." 9
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Thomas Kaplan & Robert Pear, "House Passes Measure to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act," New York Times, 2017-MAY-04, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
- David Choi, "Trump praised Australia's universal healthcare system — Bernie Sanders had a hilarious reaction," Business Insider, 2017-MAY-04, at: http://www.businessinsider.com/
- Jordan Fabian, "Trump: 'Everybody' has better healthcare than US," Free Republic, 2017-MAY-05, at: http://www.freerepublic.com/
- "Donald Trump Does Not Think U.S. Should Adopt Australian-Style Healthcare Despite His Praise," Newsweek, 2017-MAY-06, at: http://www.newsweek.com/
- Matt Flegenheimer, "The Next Step for the Republican Health Care Bill: A Skeptical Senate," New York Times, 2017-MAY-05, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
- Jennifer Steinhauer, "Republicans Get Their Health Bill. But It May Cost Them," New York Times, 2017-MAY-04, at:https://www.nytimes.com/
- Mike Matthews, "Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander Says Senate Will Put Together Their Own Health Care Plan," Local Memphis, 2017-MAY-05, at: http://www.localmemphis.com/
- Cameron Joseph, "GOP senators scoff at House Obamacare repeal bill," Daily News, 2017-MAY-04, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/
- Leigh Ann Caldwell, "House Narrowly Passes GOP Health Care Bill," NBC News, 2017-MAY-04, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/
Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-APR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson