For close to eight (8) years the Republicans have been telling us how bad the Affordable Care Act (ACA or also known as Obamacare) is and how it is exploding and going under. Really! Well tell that to the millions of Americans that did not have healthcare before the ACA and do now. Tell that to those who because of Pre-existing conditions were denied coverage, even for having acne as a teenager, or to the women who gave birth and were then denied coverage because of pregnancies. How about those who were not denied but because of the amount the insurance companies charged effectively denied them coverage.
Insurance companies really do not want to provide anyone coverage unless they are young and healthy and have never been sick or injured in their life, other than minor ailments. That effectively eliminates a lot of folks. There are a few ways to get around this – 1) is to be covered under an employer’s healthcare plan, 2) join the military (they have great coverage), 3) (this goes with #2) go to war, get injured and be covered by the VA (great benefit and care, but not everybody qualifies and this is probably the least desirable way to become eligible). Now what are Health Insurance Companies, really? They do not see patients, nor do they prescribe medications, do surgery or any other form of medical procedure. They are bankers, they move money around, they collect your premium, pay themselves an incredibly high salary, then they nickle and dime the doctors and hospitals to accept lower payments for a procedure. Even worse are those (especially doctors) who are not in NETWORK, boy do they get the shaft.
Now the Republicans in the Senate (and later in the House) plan to vote on a Repeal and Replace bill before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2017). So what does this new bill do? It will allow insurance companies complete control over who will or will not be covered. Over the next several years it will eliminate Federal Medicaid, coverage that millions of our citizens (especially children) need and turn it over to the state who will decide what to use the funds for. It will change how states will receive Medicaid funds by changing them into block grants. It also changes the formulation that affects distribution of funds to the states. Under the ACA states were encouraged to expand Medicaid, the federal government would pay 100% the first three years and 90% thereafter. Some so called blue states including California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington, to name a few, will be penalized for following the rules and expanding their Medicaid programs. So called red states such as Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and others will benefit because they decided not to expand Medicaid. Because California and New York are such large states and they had the audacity to expand Medicaid and they will not be allowed to go to a single payer health care system.
This bill, which has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will eliminate millions of our citizens from being able to afford, let alone qualify, for health insurance. What does this really mean? It means that people are going to DIE. Die because they could not afford to see a doctor or if they do see a doctor it will be at an emergency room where we, who are insured, will eventually pay the costs.
Now to answer the question “When did it happen?” I believe that we really started this downhill slide to this point of our country’s history in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan told us “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” I have always found this statement to be absolutely absurd. Why you might ask, because under our form of government WE are the government. We ask people, that we think that we can trust, to represent us, therefore a representative type of government. The more you ridicule and distrust those who are elected only means that you ridicule and distrust yourself. If they pass laws that are contrary to what you want, it only means that you were not paying attention and keeping your elected officials in check.
How do we stop this madness? How do we regain control over our government? It is by taking charge and stop being so cynical. Step up and declare yourself to be a candidate for an office. It does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican as long as you do the job with honesty and integrity. Run for office be it for dog catcher, for a position on the school board, or any number of offices that can use a fresh face and new ideas that help rather than hurt our fellow citizens. After a couple of years at this level try running for the city or county council, from here and at high levels of office, you have an impact on state and federal legislation and regulatory decisions. If you are young enough, and age is not necessarily an obstacle, step up to state offices, positions in the State legislature, House and Senate (most are part-time positions and in some states your regular job, by law, must be held for you), are just as powerful and rewarding as on the Federal level.
On the Federal level positions in the US House of Representatives and the Senate are not as plentiful, but this is prestige and strut time. This is where you make a name for yourself, by being a leader or a follower. It is what some people want, they like the cheers, the music, the glad-handing, and the speeches. This is where the big boys and girls live, work and play, many will not have the stomach for such high power living and others seek even more.
Okay, are you in – as a voter or as a candidate? But most importantly be an active, charged up citizen that is ready to take on the idea that – if you are from the government and you are ready help – it is not used in a negative way. We are Americans, we stand up and take charge and do what is right. Let us stop sitting on our hands and continue to gripe about how the government is no good and they do not listen to the people. You and your fellow citizens can and must join together to change this country to again be caring and compassionate.