Editorial: Senate's plan - Cutting care for needy, giving tax cuts to greedy
Posted July 11
A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, July 11, 2017; Editorial # 8184
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
How can a responsible senator vote for legislation knowing it will take health care from those who now have it, need it and wouldn’t have it otherwise? The answer seems obvious: Party-line politics.
Like many in the nation’s capital, North Carolina’s two senators seem more concerned with what it will take to get 51 votes to pass a new health care plan than what it takes to make sure all Americans can afford health care.
Sen. Richard Burr had hardly let the ink dry on the Senate’s tax-cut disguised as a health-care package before he announced support for it. North Carolina’s other Republican in the Senate, Thom Tillis, says he’ll back anything that will get 51 votes.
Tillis led the N.C. House of Representatives when the legislature, in mean and blindly partisan anti-Obama stubbornness, refused to take billions in federal funds to expand Medicaid to half-a million North Carolinians without access to health coverage.
The proposal now before the U.S. Senate would take coverage away from as many as 22 million Americans, including 1.3 million North Carolinians, who now have health care through the Affordable Care Act. That doesn’t include the half-million in North Carolina who never gained access to care because of the state legislature’s mean-spirited obstinance.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that no one would lose health coverage. Yet, Trump gathered House members at the White House for a photo-op to praise their terrible bill that would rip health coverage away from 24 million Americans. Only days later the president called it “mean” legislation and promised the Senate’s version would be better.
Of course, the Senate’s isn’t an improvement.
For eight years Congress has railed and postured against Obamacare – casting vote upon meaningless vote to repeal it. Hardly a peep was made about adjusting and improving the law to solve its problems.
Turns out all the political ranting was more about getting the partisan base worked up -- than it was about a plan to deliver health care to the nation. It was all show and no action.
Backing a health care plan that offers tax cuts for the wealthy while taking health care away from those in need is a betrayal by our representatives in Washington. Burr, Tillis and the nine House Republicans from North Carolina who back these awful plans are betraying those who elected them. Even a majority of those in the state who voted for Trump say they are very concerned that the Senate plan will increase health care costs.
Gov. Roy Cooper, soon after taking office, initiated efforts to take the federal funding and expand Medicaid to those who’d been left out. That effort, due to legal challenges from legislative leaders, remains tied up in the courts – imagine that.
Cooper, and those who do support expanding access to health care to more Americans, need to call out our members of congress and legislators. If they don’t believe access to health care is a right for all Americans, they should say it and not hide behind slogan like “repeal and replace” – particularly when it’s clear that there’s been no real thought given to any replacement.
While the president seems desperate to have ANY health care bill passed, it should be a good bill that IMPROVES on what people have today. Anything that reduces services or trims the number of people who receive support should be defeated.
Republicans now find that Obamacare wasn’t just a punching bag, but a sparring partner that’s become tough to knock down.
* * *
BY THE NUMBERS: COSTS OF DENYING HEALTH INSURANCE IN N.C.
|2014-16||Jan. - June 2017||TOTAL|
|Diabetics without medication*||81,132||13,524||94,566|
|Annual mammograms missed*||36,153||6,024||42,178|
|Deaths*||3,435 to 1,355||870 to 228||4,290 to 1,583|
|Federal Funding Lost**||$9 billion||$727.2 million||$9.7272 billion|
|Jobs Not Created**||34,700||7,038||41,738|
*Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, Health Affairs Blog
**The Economic and Employment Costs of Not Expanding Medicaid in N.C., Center for Health Policy Research, The George Washington University, Dec. 2014