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Religious Tolerance logo

Public opinion of the Senate's version
of the Better Care Reconciliation
Act
(BCRA). Cuts to coverage.

Part 14

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hospital stretcher 1

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This topic is continued here from Part 13 at the previous page

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Webmaster's opinion: [Bias alert]

Essentially 100% of the American population would wish that if their own newborn is faced with a treatable life-threatening condition, that she or he would receive expert medical care and survive.

If they followed the Golden Rule as every major world religion requires, they would also wish that the same care should be provided for all newborns in a similar situation. That is, they would insist on universal health care without regard for preconditions or the person's ability to pay.

But a very common belief in the U.S. is that a person and the rest of their family should only receive the very best health care that they can afford to pay for.

Jimmy Kimmel, who was mentioned on the previous page in a story about his sick newborn, is probably a multimillionaire. He was able to pay for any needed medical treatment for himself and his family, even without insurance. But almost all of the U.S. population cannot do this.

The fundamental religious, moral, and ethical question before us is whether the Golden Rule should be applied to health care so that care is available to all who need it.

There was one member of Congress -- a Democrat -- who linked the AHCA with the Golden Rule. On 2017-MAY-04. Alex Leary, writing for the Tampa Bay Times quoted:

"Rep. Frederica Wilson, (D-FL) who said: 'As those voters have made clear in town hall after town hall, they virulently oppose TrumpCare because it replaces their health care with something that costs more for less and in the worst cases will put affordable care out of reach. And, like me, they believe it is egregiously unfair for members of Congress to have the best health insurance available while diminishing or eliminating access to affordable plans that millions of Americans have come to depend on. The good news is that this bill will likely have an even more difficult time getting through the Senate. So when it’s time to go back to the drawing board, I hope my Republican colleagues will work with Democrats to craft legislation that is fair and will help even more Americans secure health care coverage. And during that process I hope they will remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'." 2

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2017-MAY-07: Public rating of the importance of U.S. health care:

Gallup completed a U.S. national survey about health care. They found that 18% of adults regarded health care as the most important current topic facing the U.S.

Health care is tied for first place with a second concern: "dissatisfaction with government/poor leadership."

Art Swift, writing for Gallup, said:

"The percentage of Americans naming health care as the most important problem hit a recent peak of 26% in August/September 2009, amid angry town-hall meetings nationwide about the Affordable Care Act. Mentions of health care averaged 20% from August 2009 through March 2010, when President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. After that, fewer Americans cited health care as the most important problem until the exchanges got up and running in late 2013. As concerns about the Obamacare web site increased, the percentage naming health care as the most important problem was often in the teens.

Still, mentions of health care are lower than they were in the mid-1990s, during the Hillary Clinton-directed push for universal health care. At that point, they reached the upper 20s, and peaked at 31% during January 1994.

During early 2017-MAY, 24% of Democrats rate health care as the most important problem, while 14% of Republicans and 17% of Independents say the same." 3

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2017-MAY-24: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the House version of the AHCA bill:

On Wednesday afternoon, MAY-24, the CBO released its analysis of the latest published version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This is the bill passed by the House on MAY-04 by a very narrow vote of 217 to 213, and is now being considered and re-written in the Senate.

The CBO rates the House version as very slightly less disastrous than the original AHCA bill which the CBO estimated would have generated 24 million more uninsured people by 2026, when compared to Obamacare. The version passed by the House would "only" cause 14 million people to lose their insurance by 2018 and 23 million by 2026. Many of these would be young people in good health who would voluntarily terminate their health care. This is because, unlike Obamacare, the House law would not require them to hold insurance. The CBO commented that:

"Premiums would vary significantly according to [individual's] health status and the types of benefits provided. ... less healthy people would face extremely high premiums." 4

The House version would also reduce the federal deficit by 119 billion dollars by 2016 and would significantly lower income taxes for the very rich.

Robert Pear, writing for the New York Times, concluded:

"Republicans have been trying to repeal Mr. Obama’s health law since the day he signed it in March 2010. But the task is proving more difficult than they expected. Many parts of the law have become embedded in the nation’s health care system, and consumers have risen up to defend it, now that they fear losing its protection. At the same time, other consumers, upset about the mandate to buy insurance they can barely afford, are demanding changes in the law." 5

As usual, the media mainly discussed two numbers when reporting on the CBO report. They are: the increased number of people who will be uninsured, and the impact on the federal deficit. After scanning early media accounts, we were unable to find a report which included an estimate of the what we feel is the most important number: the increase in the number of people who would die annually if the House bill were to become law and replace Obamacare. It would be multiple tens of thousands of individuals per year.

Still, the House version of the AHCA is not all bad, It would create large profits for the funeral businesses across the country, and decrease taxes for the very rich.

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Phasing out health care for poor people with the Senate version of the bill:

Ian Millhiser, writing for ThinkProgress on MAY-23, said that the Senate version of the AHCA bill:

"... includes hundreds of billions in cuts to Medicaid -- proposing cuts on top of the ones included in the Trumpcare bill that passed the House a few weeks ago.

Trump’s budget blueprint seeks to dismantle the social safety net in dramatic ways. When it comes to the future of Medicaid, however, the long-term implications of the Trumpcare legislation may be even more significant. That’s because the health care legislation advancing in Congress isn’t just a plan to cut Medicaid; it is a plan to phase out much of the Medicaid program over time. And it could get even worse if the bill is re-written before it becomes law.

The House already voted to dismantle much of Medicaid when it rushed to pass Trumpcare earlier this month. Now, the Senate may push for a faster and more comprehensive plan to phase out that portion of the government program that provides health care for low-income Americans. 5

A few readers of the article in ThinkProgress posted their comments:

  • Kelly Hartle said:

    "In the words of Jimmy Carter, 'If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values, because you don’t'."

  • Patrick Moctezuma said:

    "When it comes to defrauding and disenfranchising the American People, Trump makes Ryan look like an amateur."

  • James Busse said that the Senate version:

    "... is good. Driving the health care spending source down to the local level will allow the community to decide who is for real and who is just making a buck off the government. You simply can’t do that at the national level."

  • Hung Chau said:

    "Now I know [that most of] the Americans who vote for the Republicans ... don’t use Christian values. ... In fact, they use the Trump values ... Good luck and God help all average and poor Americans. 5

No public hearings on the bill have been held in the Senate or are expected to be held. In comparison, according to Snopes, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) was debated in three House committees, and two Senate committees, and subject to hours of bipartisan debate that allowed for the introduction of amendments. 6

The new bill has been secretly negotiated by a team of 13 male Republicans. No women and no Democrats were involved.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced on 2017-JUN-20 that a discussion draft of the Senate version of the health care bill would be released on JUN-22. During the following week, the Congressional Budget Office will release its evaluation of the bill, and the Senators would be expected to vote upon it. Since it will undoubtedly differ from the version of the bill passed earlier in the House, a compromise wording that is acceptable to both a majority of Senators and a majority of Representatives will need to be reached, and that compromise passed by both the House and Senate. 7

Senate minority Leader, Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that:

"The fight is not over ... The Republican bill is rotten at the core. We have a darn good chance of defeating it, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now." 8

It is far from certain that such compromise is possible that will allow the bill to pass! Since the Democrats will probably vote against the bill in a block, if more than two Republican Senators vote against it, the bill will fail to pass.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Free image, downloaded from Pixabay.com
  2. Alex Leary, "Florida lawmakers explain their votes on American Health Care Act," Tampa Bay Times, 2017-MAY-04, at: http://www.tampabay.com/
  3. Art Swift, "Healthcare Surges as Top Problem in US," Gallup, 2017-MAY-07, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  4. Robert Pear, "G.O.P. Health Bill Would Leave 23 Million More Uninsured in a Decade, C.B.O. Says," New York Times, 2017-MAY-24, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  5. Ian Millhiser, "Republicans rally behind plan to phase out health care for poor people," ThinkProgress, 2017-MAY-23, at: https://thinkprogress.org/
  6. "Was the Passage of Obamacare Just as Secretive as GOP Efforts to Repeal It?," Snopes, 2017-JUN-20, at: http://www.snopes.com/
  7. Susan Ferrechio, "McConnell confirms: Healthcare bill released Thursday, vote 'likely' next week," Washington Examiner, 2017-JUN-20, at: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/
  8. "Facing GOP opposition, Senate leaders postpone vote to overhaul Obamacare," Washington Post, 2017-JUN-27, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-JUL-20
Author: B.A. Robinson
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