Thursday, March 23, 2017

The "American Health Care Act": Republican-created death panels


We all know how "high-risk" insurance pools work. You have "access" to obtain insurance, but it's so expensive as to be financially crippling or unaffordable. "Access" is not "affordable." The return of high-risk pools to health insurance will be catastrophic for working America.

Health insurance premiums were increasing at a faster rate prior to the passage of "Obamacare" than they have been increasing since. The runaway costs of healthcare in the United States — the most expensive on the planet and not even in the top ten in quality — are the inevitable result of a health care system driven by the profit motive. Numerous surveys have shown the cost of medical procedures is driven by what price the market will bear. Insurance companies are using the Affordable Care Act (ACA), "Obamacare," as a smokescreen to not only preserve but drive their profits. The stock market is always seen as a litmus test for industry health. By that standard, health insurance is robust indeed. Stock in companies such as Humana and Cigna is up over 1000%. Yes, one thousand percent. Less than $100,000 in stock when Obama anounced his plan is now worth a cool $million!

Insurance is based on spreading risk. The Republicans want to return to "pick-and-choose." That means, for example, if you need insurance or mental health care or for a pre-existing condition, you might still be able to buy it, but it could cost you a thousand dollars a month. If you're close to retirement, the maximum cost for older Americans is slated to go up to five times the cost for the same coverage for a young person — it's already up to three times the cost.

If everyone pays for insurance for everything, that spreads the cost of health care across the widest population, driving down rates. The return of high-risk pools under the Republican plan, regardless of "keeping" provisions such as the ability to continue to insure adult children for some period or time, or "access" (that is, unaffordable high risk pools) to coverage for pre-existing conditions, is worthless if everyone is not paying into the system.

Why should a man pay for coverage for ovarian cancer? For the same reason a woman should pay for coverage for prostate cancer. It all evens out in the end. We would urge Congress to expand insurance pools by allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines instead abolishing essential coverage, allowing "insurance" to be offered which covers nothing and leaves consumers open to abuse.

The return of pick-and-choose coverage the Republicans describe as returning choice and control to the consumer will financially decimate working America.

But it does not end there.

By reinstituting life-time caps on coverage, by replacing subsidies for the poor with tax credits, by including a $600,000,000,000 tax cut for the rich instead of that going toward health care subsidies for lower income families and retirees, the Republican Congress and President Trump, should he sign, will doom Americans who fall victim to catastrophic and chronic health events to bankruptcy — and then death when the money for treatment runs out.

Republican "health care" will create insurance denial death panels.

Until the catastrophic or chronic happens, we all live in the happy-go-lucky bubble of good health. That is when we should be paying into the system, because it's not about "paying for you don't need," it's about looking at your neighbor with an opioid addiction from treatment for chronic pain, or your best friend going in again for chemotherapy, and being thankful that "for the grace of God, there go I. I am glad they — that we all — have health insurance so we can concentrate on getting well without worrying about losing our house or dying when coverage runs out." It's not a question of markets, it's a question of promoting good health:

  1. Everyone purchases health insurance. All illnesses are covered, pre-existing or not. You become ill through no fault of your own.
  2. If everyone has health insurance, they will go to the doctor as soon as they are sick, not wait until their illness becomes catastrophic. Everyone will be healthier and the average cost of health care per individual will come down, allowing rates to reduce.

The real question is, once we compensate health care professionals — the doctors and nurses the care for us, the orderlies who clean up after us, the administrators who make sure the "medicine cabinets" are stocked,... — why do the Republicans want to return control of our insurance options to a health care industry driven by concern for profits, not concern for humans? And what does that mean about who the Republican Congress truly represents?

Countless tweets such as these have been posted

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