The US Senate health bill released last week could be voted on sometime this week if the GOP leadership thinks it has the votes to pass it. Thank God, at this point, it doesn’t seem to but it is very close and politics being what it is, deals could be made to get the final votes. If it is passed in the Senate there is some suggestion that the House could simply just pass the Senate bill and it would become law as soon as Donald Trump signs it.
If this nightmare legislation were to become law it would go down in history as one of the biggest efforts ever by the government of the United States to punish and take away the rights and benefits of average citizens. Though it is not an exact parallel, I can’t help thinking of the Jim Crow era in the South after the Civil War when angry white politicians maneuvered to stop African Americans from voting and having public rights to use the same restrooms, eat at the same lunch counters, travel on the same buses. The white leadership wanted an apartheid state in the South and they got it.
This Senate bill is also about civil rights if you believe as I do that health care is a human right. It will end up taking health care away from over 20 million people according to most estimates. Senate and House leaders and the President are hellbent to do it because they hate Obamacare, they promised their supporters they would destroy it and they want to cut the taxes it included on their wealthy supporters.
Older Americans will not be exempt from the pain. Not only does the Senate bill allow insurance companies to charge higher rates to older persons, it takes a hatchet to Medicaid which covers nursing homes and long term care. It also cuts taxes that were added to Medicare, taking revenue away and several years off the program’s full solvency.
It would be different if the opponents of Obamacare raised legitimate issues about the problems with it and tried to make the program work better. That is not what they are doing. Why is that every major health organization of doctors, hospitals and even insurance companies oppose this bill in additional to patient groups like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and others? They know the truth: the bill will take health care away from millions of people and then they will rely on their propaganda machine to tell fake stories about how it actually is better than Obamacare. That is a lie that will be exposed every time a person who had coverage loses it.
If the bill is signed into law, it will be resisted too, just like apartheid and in the end, we will repeal and replace it with a more humane health program.