MILLER: Health care wedge between poor and rich

By Dick Miller

WE.CONNECT.DOTS:   The House of Representatives, without a single Democrat vote, recently passed what they claim will be the successor for Obamacare, sending the legislation onto the Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts 24 million Americans will lose health insurance coverage with this version, officially known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  In some circles the AHCA is known as “Trumpcare.”

But that name only lasts until President Trump realizes the proposed plan does not work.  It is nowhere near what he promised during the campaign.

Trump is confused.  His misperceptions threaten his base group that put him in the White House.  Lower and middle-class whites will lose coverage under versions of “Trumpcare” in play now.

Democrats are no help.  In today’s heated political arena, the minority has lost courage to propose alternative government proposals. Also, some Democrat leaders get campaign financial support from beneficiaries of the Republican schemes for health care.

The few responsible Democrats can make the case that substantial damage will occur to the workforce and impair continued growth of health care systems under GOP versions of health care.

Republicans oppose Obama-type health care for two reasons:

  1. They are unwilling to open their wallets to provide health care to those who cannot afford it.
  2. They believe if health care was made available to everyone, service would need to be rationed. They could lose their immediate access to quality of health care.

Every reader knows associates who claim they are “pro-lifers,” yet refuse to insure health care is available for every child.

Republicans allow no talk about the price of drugs.  Big Pharma has amassed the political strength to strong arm all lawmakers, regardless of persuasion on universal health care.

“Gouge on!” our elected leaders tell Big Pharma.  “But remember our campaign checks.”

The United States remains the only industrialized nation that does not use price controls to keep drugs affordable.

The basic premium for Medicare this year increased more than Social Security pensions were hiked.  Still, we are only a decade away from the fund that underwrites care for old people becomes insolvent.

Trump frequently praises health care in Scotland and Australia.  He is confident his new system will match these countries in quality and affordability, but is opposed to single-payer here.

Trump has no business interest (that we know!) in health care.  Why does he promote a health care system that has no chance of delivering his campaign promises?

Trump clearly does not understand health care, including details of proposals that are beginning to carry his name.

To maintain Obamacare requires one trillion dollars in new subsidies for the next decade.  Republicans are unwilling to appropriate one dime of this amount.  Rather, GOP House members built another $800 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy into the version sent to the Senate.

Even some Democrats support this cruel attack on the welfare of lower class Americans.  They are the knee-jerking supplicants for organized labor.

Eight years ago, unions promoted quality health care for everyone through government mandate.   They fought hard for quality care at the bargaining table and picket lines.

That is, until they learned President Obama inserted a “Cadillac tax” into his version of universal care.  He would assess a tax as high as 40 percent of the cost of health care plans that exceeded a basic standard of care.  These funds would underwrite the cost of care for those who could not afford any health insurance.

Those amounts of taxes assessed on employers quickly became funds not on the bargaining table for future contracts.

Learning that, organized labor lost enthusiasm for universal health care.  They demanded, along with employers (both unionized and non-union), the Cadillac tax never be implemented.

Obama postponed the assessment.  Both Hillary Clinton and President Trump announced opposition to the tax.

Bottom Line: The real debate on national needs of health care will take true shape when Dems force Republican lawmakers to publicly answer the following question.

Do you believe health care is a right of every American?

Fortunate Americans get high quality and expensive health care on a “tax-free” basis.  Others – if they can even afford it – must buy their coverage with after tax dollars.

At today’s rates – with health care consuming one-sixth of our economy – the difference of this tax break is enormous.

Updated: May 14, 2017 — 11:21 pm © 2016