2018

22 March 2017: GOP health plan has grave consequences

I can’t imagine that they could just cut it off. – Melinda Champion

Melinda might want to re-imagine because they—congressional Republicans—could and would do just that. “It” being the $4100 annual credit Melinda and her husband Robert receive courtesy of Obamacare to pay for her osteoporosis medicines and gastric sleeve and Robert’s blood pressure medicine, life-sustaining treatments for both.

Melinda and Robert voted for Donald Trump for reasons only they can explain. But with them and thousands of others, if not millions, their choices might be coming back to haunt them.

The Champions were highlighted in a recent Time magazine article titled, “Trump Country worries about replacing Obamacare.” That country includes the sweep of rural America and seniors between 50 and 65 either lacking coverage or are under-covered. As we who have made it through those years and now enjoy the benefits of Medicare know well, the body begins, simply put, to fall apart. Why sugar-coat it, eh?

We like to believe our votes are intellectual decisions, but, in fact, studies clearly show that decision is usually an emotional call rather than about stances on substantive issues like Obamacare. Does the candidate hold my values? Do I feel a connection with him/her?

A cold-eyed appraisal of Trump’s life and business performance clearly demonstrates his epi-center and focus is himself. He operates on the presumption that whatever he does to better himself will trickle down and benefit others directly or indirectly. The evidence, of course, proves other.

Fear, resentment, as well as hope play major roles in one’s electoral decision making. Rather than it being a truly positive choice for many last November—Trump and the Republicans have what it takes to make my life better—it was also a negative one: Hillary Clinton and the Democrats stood for people and values with which I disagreed.

Subtle subconscious powers also influenced that decision, factors such as star power and a life-philosophy that holds that while I can do my best to make it by working hard, ultimately, I’m helpless when it comes to the power of the system. Therefore, in challenging times I need a magician wielding a magic wand or a man of steel with superpowers to make my life better. Trump spoke to the hearts of people like the Champions but one wonders if to their heads.

A fellow progressive was telling me about her financial fortunes growing since Trump’s election due to the stock market soaring. Whether that climb is the result of Trump or of Barack Obama’s economic policies is a matter of debate. Nevertheless, folks like the Champions are not likely to be market players.

Her comment reminded me, though, about how the current Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act would ironically benefit more people who voted blue and, conversely, negatively impact those who voted red.

A Washington Post analysis shows a nationwide pattern. “Some of the harshest consequences of the GOP’s health bill,” the Post reports, “would fall on rural Republican strongholds — precisely the voters who helped elect Trump.

“Among the counties where Trump won his biggest victories, nearly all would face deep cuts in tax credits under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And, in the parts of the country that would lose the most in tax credits, a majority of voters were Trump supporters.”

Of the reddest counties that voted for Trump by margins from 89 upward to 93 percent, only one would be better off under the Republican plan. Of the 35 counties that would lose the most in health subsidies accorded under the ACA, only two voted for Clinton.

The reason: Profit. Maintaining a quality health facility with well-trained medical providers in rural America makes little or no financial sense to bottom-line bean counters. And insurance companies taking on aging humans assumes high risks that considerably cuts into their profit margins. So, what part of “Duh!” aren’t we getting?

Historically, the Democratic Party was and remains the champion for the plights of the those like Melinda and Robert: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare.

One can vote his/her fears, resentments, or hopes, but those choices invariably have consequences. For in the end, chickens always come home to roost.

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