The GOP repeal and replace mantra has been shown as a campaign slogan and nothing more. After 8 years of vowing to repeal the ACA, the party in charge of all the levers of power in Washington D.C. has shown that they cannot be a governing party. The United States Senate could not come up with 50 votes to eliminates millions of people off the insurance rolls. And I believe that is a good thing. I want people to be able to live a decent life after encountering a medical calamity. In fact, I can see a future where the United States of America becomes a county with universal healthcare.
Let’s look at the reason why repeal and replace failed. There were three GOP senators that decided that it was not in their constituent’s best interests for some of them to lose coverage. That and the $770 Billion cut in Medicaid also influenced hearts and minds. Those three senators have said that we need to know the costs of healthcare up front, not after everything is said and done. Because there are costs that will be attached to everyone if you have more people having to use Emergency Rooms for standard healthcare. It comes in the high cost of medical procedures, it comes in the cost of drugs, it comes in the cost of just being seen by medical professionals. That is the backside cost of people not being able to afford healthcare.
That backside cost is why I believe that universal healthcare is coming to America. Not this year or the next, but it is coming. The attitudes of the younger generations have healthcare as something that everyone has a right to. I don’t know if it is singlepayer, because you will have to raise taxes in order for that to happen. But eventually, even those people who believe in guns, girls, and freedom will relent to having socialized healthcare because the free market healthcare that we have been enjoying doesn’t make sense. We have insurance companies making the largest profits in their history, but yet claiming that they need to pull out of the healthcare exchanges because of the costs associated with it. Could it be that the reason they want the healthcare system to collapse is because there has been regulation on the rates hikes that they have had to adhere to in order to stay in the exchanges.
In my ideal world, the parties represented in Washington D.C., would figure out how to get everybody covered by either health insurance or covered by one big exchange that is run by the federal government. Yes, the government isn’t the best organization to keep running things smooth, just look at the past results. However, we have seen that a market solution to healthcare doesn’t work. Something needs to be done to fix the ACA or a new framework needs to be worked out that is palatable to both sides of this debate. Otherwise, this just becomes another thing to argue about for the foreseeable future.
From the 13 member Republican Health Committee that became the Senate version of Obamacare repeal, there was a cut of $770 Billion over 10 years for Medicaid. (And no matter what anybody says, it is a cut.) Senator John Thune, the #3 Republican in the Senate, is from my state (South Dakota) and is one of those members who wants these cuts. I believe that both of our Senators from South Dakota are not doing what is best for our state, just looking out for their party. Why? Take a look at how this will hurt the population.
During Fiscal Year 2013, South Dakota ranked #4 in the percentage of federal dollars as their general budget. 39.0% of the South Dakota General Budget was due to federal funds. So here we are with our United States Senators arguing that we need to have Medicaid funds slashed for the entire country. I agree that we need to cut some federal spending, Medicaid spending is not one of those things that need to be cut. In fact, it is the level of Medicaid spending in South Dakota that has allowed the economy not to follow the budgetary problems of Kansas and the failed experiment of the GOP economic arguments of lower and in some circumstances, no taxes being levied against businesses and individuals.
Talk to the people of rural South Dakota, not those in towns and cities of 15,000 or over for population. They will tell you that the economy isn’t working. They will tell you that prices keep rising, but their wages are not. They will tell you that people and businesses are not investing in their towns. They want to know what our representatives are going to do to help with their economic plight. How they are supposed to fend for their families and loved ones, while working two jobs that pay under $10/hour. They want to know how they can have a community that has enough nurses and doctors for the hospitals and nursing homes that are in that community. These cuts will not help.
Imagine that the Nursing home in your community is one of the top 5 employers in your town. You know what business gets a majority of their funding from the government, including Medicaid? Nursing Homes. You take $77 Billion in funding out of the budget for Medicaid, guess who has to make either cuts or charge more? Nursing Homes. Guess where families have to pay over $6,500 on average to have their elderly family members taken care of in small communities? You guessed it, nursing homes. Now for a family who has the husband and mother working 60 hours each week at $10/hour, they receive $1,200 per week before taxes. A month would bring in $4,800. Tell me how they are supposed to live and pay for their family members stay in the nursing home for a month? I would say government assistance. Now you are taking away some of that assistance. Where does the money that is supposed to help come from? The state of South Dakota? The state passed a state tax on internet sales because they needed more revenue this past year. So I don’t think that the state has enough money to make up what the Medicaid cuts will leave on the table.
It is crazy to think that politicians are willing to see lower-income Americans struggle even more while the wealth gap will increase by their own policies to help wealthier Americans keep more of their own money. But that is where we are. Senator John Thune sold out his own state to do the national GOP’s bidding. That goes for Senator Mike Rounds and Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Unfortunately, there will not be any backlash from the political class here in South Dakota. We are a true red state and cannot get past “culture war” issues like abortion. Otherwise, we might have a congressional delegation in Washington that looks out for their constituents. Not politicians that know they are safe from the voters.
Earlier today, the AHCA was pulled from consideration on the House floor. Republicans did not have the votes to pass the measure. And yet, instead of going maybe we should look at other alternatives, we have our fearless leader stating that Democrats own Healthcare and that he will wait until Americans experience pain from the ACA and then will get a better bill passed. Nice. Let’s let more Americans have difficulties with healthcare instead of swallowing the pride and actually reaching out to the opposing party and talk to them.
The AHCA was going to be a cluster anyway that you sliced it. You had a provision stating that you could purchase plans across state lines, but you also had a provision stating that states could state what those plans needed to cover. You had Phase II that would have eliminated all the requirements that the plans had to carry per federal law and would put people that had conditions in one pool which would be hyperinflated with prices and another for those that had said that nothing was wrong with them.
The way to fix or make the ACA better is for those in power in Washington (Republicans) to talk to those in the Democratic Party. Democrats have said that they would like to try and fix the ACA. So the onus is on the Republicans to talk to those who have said that they would like to try and fix the ACA. See what common ground is there to help reign in costs. And no, including over $300 Billion in Tax Cuts isn’t fixing the problems for those covered.
Look at what the ACA exchanges did for West Virginia and Kentucky. People really liked what the programs did there. Why not figure out how to do that on a federal level? Since it seems like the GOP cannot repeal the ACA, why not work to make it work better. Like Paul Ryan has concluded, even if a bill isn’t perfect, we must pass a good bill. So fix the law that helped millions of people obtain health insurance and did slow the rate of growth for medical spending. Otherwise, each and every Republican who doesn’t want to help those people that need the ACA just proves that the GOP cares about power only.