2017-JUN-25: Public opinion on the Health Care plan:
NPR/PBS Newshour Marist Poll sampled the opinions of 1,205 randomly selected U.S. adults from the contiguous U.S. states and District of Columbia on JUN-21 to 25. Subjects were asked: "From what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of the health care plan Senate Republicans have proposed? 2 Results were:
only 17% approved of the health care plan;
55% were disapproved!
3% had heard of it but were unsure;
24% had not heard enough about it to have an opinion.
Obviously there is little support among the public for Trumpcare. Perhaps the bill deserves to die instead of the 216,900 or so Americans that it would kill over the next decade if it were passed.
An article on Alternet.org by Chauncey DeVega of Salon pulls no punches:
"In any possible version that the Republican majority can pass, this bill is a crime against humanity that will intentionally kill tens of thousands of [additional] Americans each year and cause great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health for many tens of millions more.
This legislation will take money from the poor, the working class, children and the elderly and give it to the very richest Americans so that they can fatten their already overflowing bank accounts even more. ..."
"... the Republican Party’s “health care” bill could more correctly labeled as a 'death care' bill. To claim it has anything to do with ensuring Americans’ health is an act of Orwellian Newspeak that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. The American Medical Association has even gone so far as to declare that the Senate Republican version of the bill violates a basic principle of the healing profession: Medicine has long operated under the precept of 'Primum non nocere,' or 'First, do no harm'." 3
What will the future bring? Paul Waldman, wrote an article for the Washington Post titled "Whatever happens, the GOP is bringing us a whole lot closer to single payer." He suggested that Trumpcare:
"... has been an utter debacle for the GOP, making the Affordable Care Act they’re trying to undo more popular than ever, energizing the Democratic base, complicating the relationship between President Trump and Congress, and sowing justified distrust of Republican motives among the broader public.
It has also done something else: moved the debate on health care in America to the left and made single payer much more likely. ... While the Democratic Party may have been moving to the left on health care anyway, its momentum in that direction may now be unstoppable. And the entire country will be more receptive than ever to the arguments Democrats will make. This, by the way, will also be the case if the GOP repeal effort succeeds, because it will make so much that people hate about our health-care system a lot worse." 14
At a press conference on JUN-27, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told reporters:
"This [bill] will be great if we get it done, and if we don’t get it done it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like, and that’s OK and I understand that very well.
At a private meeting of legislators after the press conference, President Trump is quoted as referring to:
"... the costs of failure, what it would mean to not get it done -- the view that we would wind up in a situation where the markets will collapse and Republicans will be blamed for it and then potentially have to fight off an effort to expand to single payer at some point." 5
A single payer health care plan would probably resemble one that has been in place for Canadians since 1984. In that system:
"All provinces and territories will provide free emergency medical services, even if you do not have a government health card. Restrictions may apply depending on a person's immigration status. ..." 6
All citizens and permanent residents obtain a health card which provides health insurance.
Most services are provided free by private entities like doctors and hospitals.
It is paid for through income taxes.
The total cost per person is much lower: during 2014, health care cost U.S. $8,745 per person in the U.S., $4,602 in Canada, 3,935 in the UK, $3,703 in Japan. (The latter three countries have universal health care).
Average life expectancy is 82 years in Canada. In the U.S., it is 79.
Waiting times are often longer.
Drug costs are lower because the Canadian government negotiates prices directly with pharmaceutical companies.
Pre-existing conditions are not considered for insurance purposes as they are in the U.S.
42% of the population feels that the system works well; only 25% of U.S. adults feel that their system works well. That is perhaps the best indicator of all.
8% of the population feels that the system needs to be completely rebuilt; in the U.S. this is 27%. 184.108.40.206
2017-JUL: Republicans in the Senate set and miss two important deadlines:
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the other Republican Senators planned to finalize the Senate version of Trumpcare on JUL-06 using a team of 13 Senators, including zero women and zero Democrats. It is called "Better Care Reconciliation Act." The bill would then be sent to the Congressional Budget Office where it would be evaluated. Senators would vote on it after they return from vacation. These goals were missed.
Anticipating voter outrage during the July 4th parades, only a small handful of Republican Senators personally took part in their local celebrations. One was Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who had previously indicated her opposition to the bill. She indicated that there was only one issue raised by her constituents. She said:
"That’s unusual. It’s usually a wide range of issues I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan'!"
Around the nation, protestors held up signs containing statements like:
"Ted [Cruz] wants us dead."
"Don't kick out Alzheimer's patients from the nursing homes."
"I want my intellectual caring, proud, respected, country back"
"Save our healthcare"
"Pregnancy is NOT a pre-existing condition."
"Resist Trump: Medicare for All!"
"We Demand Universal Healthcare"
"Sit-In to stop Trumpcare"
"Healthcare for all. Not for NONE"
"ACA Saved My Life"
"Trump Care is a Joke"
"I Stand With Planned Parenthood"
Some simply displayed an inverted U.S. flag to indicate that the country is in danger and its people in distress.
MoveOn.org promoted four phrases to be displayed on signs:
"Clap if you like Medicaid!"
Trumpcare is Unpatriotic"
Health Care is a Right"
"Defend Health Care. Defend Our Rights."
The website Resistance Near Me was established to help protestors coordinate and find events taking place in their vicinity on the July 4th holiday in which they could take part.
On JUL-09, President Trump posted a tweet:
"For years, even as a "civilian," I listened as Republicans pushed the Repeal and Replace of ObamaCare. Now they finally have their chance!
But signs seem to indicate that the Senate version is near death.
During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said:
"We don't know what the plan is. Clearly, the draft plan is dead. Is the serious rewrite plan dead? I don't know."
During an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," Senator (R-AZ) said"
"I think my view is it's probably going to be dead."
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) tweeted a prediction that Republicans could lose their majority in the Senate if they didn't pass healthcare legislation. 11
2017-JUL-13: Draft of HR-1628: The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) released:
A discussion draft of the latest version of Trumpcare to be considered by the Senate was released on 2017-JUL- 14. 12,13 The draft contains a link that downloads the text of the bill. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to issue its evaluation of this version on Monday, 2017-JUL-17. The Senate may vote on the bill during the week of JUL-16.
The previous version is generally acknowledged as having the lowest level of public approval of any bill ever introduced into Congress. One of the calculations in the CPO report is expected to be the number of millions of people who would lose their health care if the Affordable Care Act [a.k.a. Obamacare] is repealed and replaced by the BCRA. That will probably give political commentators the data necessary to compute how many additional hundreds of thousands of people will die needlessly during each decade, if the BCRA replaces Obamacare.
The new version would permit insuring agencies to offer stripped down policies that don't offer coverage for preventive care or mental health care. It would also give subsidies to lower and middle-income individuals. As in previous versions, Medicaid would be gutted.
Jonathan Cohn, writing for the Huffington Post, said:
"The new Senate bill calls for some dramatic changes to taxes and spending, and to insurance regulations as well.
Here’s what the bill doesn’t change: the massive cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income Americans.
And that tells you everything you need to know about Republican priorities.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act still calls for rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. It would do so by cutting off extra money now available for states that want to expand Medicaid eligibility so that anybody in a household with income below or just above the poverty line would qualify.
Thirty-one states plus the District of Columbia did just that, and it’s the single biggest reason that millions of additional people now have health insurance -- and, as a result, better access to health care and better protection against devastating medical bills. Without the extra federal money, most states are likely to restore their old eligibility guidelines, which would mean millions of people would lose access to coverage." 14
Responding to the new proposal, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said:
"This is not what the American people expect of us and it's not what they deserve." 15
He, two other Republicans, and all of the Democratic Senators plan to vote against the bill. Only two Republicans would be sufficient to kill the bill in its tracks, and save hundreds of thousands of American lives each decade.