Saturday, July 15, 2017

Three Strikes and You're Out — The Senate "Health Care" Bill

In baseball you have three strikes and you're out.

That's what should be applied to the Senate "health care" bill. I put quotes around it because it really isn't about care or about people's health. It's just a way to give a huge tax break to the rich. And it leaves people with pre-existing conditions with insurance premiums that few will be able to afford.

And now there is an additional amendment to the bill by Ted Cruz. From Huffpost story here's how two insurance organizations are reacting to it:
Two organizations representing the U.S. health insurance industry just called a new provision of the Senate Republicans’ health care proposal “simply unworkable in any form” and warned that it would cause major hardship, especially for middle-class people with serious medical problems.

The organizations, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, speak for the businesses that would be responsible for making the new system work ― or at least attempting to do so.

That may help explain why, with a vote on the bill planned for next week, they are letting loose with what, by Washington lobbying standards, sounds like a primal scream.

In a publicly posted letter to Senate leaders, the two groups focused their attention on an amendment that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The amendment, crafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would allow insurers to resume sales of policies that leave out key benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health. More important, it would allow insurers to discriminate among customers based on medical status, charging higher premiums or denying policies altogether to people with existing medical problems ― from the severe, like cancer, to the relatively mild, like allergies.

Another problem with the bill is what it will do to Medicaid. There is now a full court press by the White House to get Republican governors, who object to the bill, to support it. It looks like the effort isn't paying off very well. From the Post:
“I’ve still got to come back to my concerns with regard to the Medicaid population,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.) on his way to a private session with Vice President Pence here at the summer meeting of the National Governors Association. Pence had earlier delivered a detailed speech to the entire group defending the bill.

Sandoval’s views, along with those of three other governors whose states expanded Medicaid under the ACA — John Kasich of Ohio, Doug Ducey of Arizona and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas — could prove decisive in determining whether the Senate passes legislation next week. Republican senators from those states are closely watching how their governors respond to the newly revamped legislation as they decide whether to support it.

Kasich, who did not attend, issued a statement calling the revised Senate plan “still unacceptable” because of its Medicaid cuts and possible impact on the private ACA insurance market.
Republicans are not going to be deterred by this. The bottom line is it's a tax cut bill for the rich not a health care bill. So they will continue to try and get this horrible bill passed.

But as far as I'm concerned this is strike three so you're out!

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