Editorial: Taking health insurance from 22 million for tax cuts is too high a price
Posted June 27
A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, June 27, 2017; Editorial # 8178
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Much of the talk about how Republicans will repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – has been about numbers. Specifically, about 51 and how to get that number of votes in the U.S. Senate.
Like too many important issues and choices these days, it focuses on the horse race -- what it will take to win or lose, pass or defeat, the health plan that Senate Republicans concocted in secret and released late last week.
It is the wrong question.
The most basic questions in this debate should be: Which children will be able to see a doctor to diagnose their dangerously high fever? How will patients on fixed incomes get wellness check-ups and low cost prescriptions for high blood pressure treatment? Is a big tax cut worth taking health insurance away from 22 to 23 million Americans?
Before any members of Congress, but particularly those from North Carolina, vote on any plans to repeal and replace Obamacare they should publically answer these questions:
- How many Americans, and how many North Carolinians, will lose health coverage under this bill?
- What is an acceptable number of Americans, and North Carolinians, to be denied health care coverage because they cannot afford it?
- Who will provide health services to those who are denied coverage and how will it be paid for?
More than 22 million Americans would lose health care coverage under the plans before the U.S. Senate, according to a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released Monday. The plan passed by the House of Representatives would end health coverage to some 23 million Americans – about 1 million who live in North Carolina.
All of this flies in the face of a promise President Donald Trump made just days before he was inaugurated. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump pledged in a Jan. 14 interview with The Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
The latest estimates don’t include the half-million additional North Carolina residents who now don’t have coverage because the state legislature banned participation in a federally funded program to extend health coverage to poor people.
There is still much to be learned about the Senate’s proposal.
Like the bill passed by the U.S. House, that even President Donald Trump has labeled as “mean,” both the House and Senate plans seem to place a priority on cutting taxes and expenses over providing health care to millions of Americans.
North Carolina’s members of Congress who support such a plan – both the nine Republicans in the House who voted for repeal and the state’s two senators – should answer the three questions above, before casting another vote on the issue.
We look forward to passing their answers along.