The GOP’s Attack on The American Healthcare System

The United States is not only the richest country on the planet, but the most unequal in terms of our distribution of wealth. According to The Global Wealth Report, America owns 41.6% of the world’s total wealth, while at the same time it ranked first globally for having the most wealth inequality. The report even nicknamed the United States, “The Unequal States of America” to highlight the gross economic inequality that continues to plague our country today. And on top of the huge economic disparities between the rich and the poor in the United States, we are also one of the only developed nations in the world to not provide universal healthcare to our citizens. Not only is it infuriating that the wealthiest country in the world refuses to provide healthcare to all its citizens, but it’s also the fact that the wealthiest country in the world wants to rob 23 million people of their health insurance, so the richest people in the country can receive billion dollar hand-outs from the government. I am of course referring to the Republican “Health Care” Bill that passed earlier this month in the House of Representatives.

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Ultimately, this bill is an utter disgrace and for Republicans to dare to refer to this as a “healthcare” bill should make Americans totally and completely enraged. According to the CBO report, 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 and premiums would skyrocket by 20% as a result of the passage of this bill. Despite the many lies that the Republican party is trying to feed to the American public, the fact of the matter is that “Trumpcare” essentially strips away protections established by the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions. Under the MacArthur Amendment, states cannot deny access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, but of course there is a loophole that many Republicans are refusing to acknowledge publicly. Although this amendment doesn’t allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, it does allow states to waive protections for those with pre-existing conditions so insurance companies can set unaffordable rates that essentially keep them from gaining coverage. Although many Republicans argue that higher insurance costs for people with pre-existing conditions can be subsidized by their plan to allocate 140 billion dollars to fund high-risk pools, that amount of money would drastically underfund high risk pools that need anywhere from 200 to 300 billion dollars to be funded sufficiently. The bottom line is insurance companies once again have free reign when it comes to charging sicker people more for their coverage and our elected officials are encouraging these companies to rob sick Americans of their money.

Instead of protecting their constituents and their right to access health insurance, Republican politicians are lining their pockets with money from pharmaceutical and medical companies. 40 House Republicans who voted for this disastrous piece of legislation own healthcare stocks and personally enriched themselves for a combined total of 2 million dollars by voting for this bill. But Republican politicians aren’t the only ones who profit off the inevitable plight of the American public. The GOP “health care” bill also proposes an enormous tax cut for the wealthiest people in this country. The bill would cut taxes by $765 billion dollars over the next decade. According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent of Americans would receive 40 percent of these billions of dollars. This would exponentially widen America’s already embarrassing gap between the rich and the poor. While America’s working class would struggle to pay for basic health insurance, the rich would be receiving billion dollar hand-outs from the government for absolutely no reason at all. And simply put, that is the America that Republican politicians and Donald Trump fantasize about.

paul ryan

It is also important for people, and especially women, to know that this piece of legislation has also been deemed the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This bill, written entirely by rich, white, old men, will have incredibly adverse effects on poor women of color across the country. It slashes funding from Planned Parenthood and makes sure that women cannot use Medicaid to cover their care at Planned Parenthood’s centers. This is especially detrimental to lower income women and women of color whose access to Planned Parenthood is a necessity. This bill’s slashing of funds for Medicaid in tandem with the Trump budget’s proposed 800 billion dollar cut to Medicaid is an attack on these vulnerable groups. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Medicaid provides coverage for 48% of young women with incomes below the federal poverty line. It also states that Black women and Latinas are more likely to be insured through Medicaid than white women. The House bill also cuts coverage for mammograms, birth control, and prenatal and maternity care, which directly targets women. “Trumpcare” also removes protections created by President Obama under the Affordable Care Act that made sure insurance companies could not discriminate against Americans who had survived rape, domestic violence, postpartum depression, C-sections, etc. It is also important to note that as we speak, 13 men and 0 women are editing this health care bill in the Senate in preparation for a vote. If that doesn’t convey the dire need for women’s representation and inclusion in government, I don’t know what does.

no women

The future of our healthcare system in America is at stake and the resistance needs to be stronger than ever. The Senate still hasn’t voted on this despicable piece of legislation, so it is necessary that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike are proactive in voicing their objections against this bill. Call your senators’ offices, inform your friends and family, donate to organizations like Planned Parenthood, and take to the streets to protest. Just as millions of Americans rallied behind the Women’s March, the Climate March, etc., we need to also rally behind the fight for health care for all American citizens.

– Katie O’Sullivan

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