Trumpcare! Really?

Yesterday President Trump spoke to the United Nations Assembly and once again behaved the way we expected — and moreso. Some of his comments did have merit, such as references to the disproportionate financial burden the U.S. carries in supporting the United Nations organization. However his confrontational messages to North Korea and Iran, spoken in a forum created to use diplomacy as the first resort for resolving international differences, was very much out of place. In fact, our President’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea sounded like something shouted by a demagogue in the 1930’s.

The thing is, although Trump’s unpredictable antics continue to be scary, as time has passed they are no longer shocking. We’re growing accustomed to his chest thumping and saber rattling, his reckless language and pandering to a segment of voters who admire his style, mistaking reckless bombast for bold leadership. Millions of us may find his rhetoric disturbing but we’re learning that he isn’t likely to change. So as I said, the news from Trump’s U.N. speech was not surprising.

However, there was something in the news that did surprise and concern me a lot. It was the reemergence of a serious effort by Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I honestly thought that right wing effort was shelved until after next year’s mid-term elections.

But now observers of the Republican controlled Senate believe this latest effort to destroy the ACA may have a real chance of becoming law. The recently introduced Graham-Cassidy Bill is being called “Trumpcare.” (Attaching Trump’s name to anything is a sure way to win Donald’s favor.)

The basic concept is that each state would be given funds based on a complex calculation of their health insurance needs. Existing healthcare coverage now received under the ACA would continue… sort of… for a while. But the administration of that bundle of federal money and those present protections would be controlled by each state following their homegrown wisdom.

CNN has reported, “The legislation would eliminate federal funding for Medicaid expansion and for Obamacare subsidies that lower premiums, deductibles and co-pays in 2020. States would receive a lump sum of money annually through 2026.”

As we know from our nation’s history, all of our states have always been terrific at dealing equitably with all of its citizens. Right? I mean, coast-to-coast, we all share common values such as protecting a woman’s right to control her own body or recognizing the needs of Americans with unique health issues. Right?

With fifty separate state governments overseeing America’s healthcare, I’m certain that every American will have healthcare protections that are just swell, no matter where they live in the U.S.A. now or in the future. In fact now that I think about it as a guy under Medicare, I wonder how much better my protection would be if Republicans could extend the Trumpcare state-by-state approach to include Medicare? And I wonder how many Republican voting seniors would go along with that?

In an email sent out yesterday by New Trier’s 9th District State Senator Daniel Biss he noted: “Trumpcare would put insurance companies back in charge and allow them to make you pay a lot more if you have a pre-existing condition. If you’re pregnant, you could be charged an extra $17,000. Having cancer could cost you an additional $172,000. If you have a child with asthma you could be charged an additional $5,000.” Senator Biss went on to urge all of us to contact Senators Durbin and Duckworth to make sure they know we support their efforts to reject this disastrous legislation and to encourage them to urge their colleagues to vote “no” on Trumpcare. (Contact info below.)

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are excited about the chances that this legislation will succeed. Vice President Pence is onboard too. And Senator Graham is enthusiastic about the support he is receiving from other big names. In a CNN report, the senator was quoted as saying: “I have got Alan Greenspan, Jeb Bush and Steve Bannon. If anyone can do better I’d like to meet them.”

Wow! Citing those three names certainly reassures me.

This is all happening very fast. The Trumpcare Bill faces a September 30 deadline, just ten days from now. Meanwhile, the few Republicans still wavering on whether to support the bill must make a decision without seeing any data from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO has not had time to review the new bill. — What a dangerous way to create our laws!

The reality is, we can’t control what our nation’s President may tweet or blurt out next. But, we can stand strongly against this proposed Trumpcare legislation. If you have friends or relatives in Maine (Senator Susan Collins), Alaska (Senator Lisa Murkowski) or Arizona (Senator John McCain), ask them to tell their still undecided Republican senator to oppose the Trumpcare bill. – For that matter, why not Google the contact info and tell those senators yourself. And of course be sure to contact Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth ASAP.

This may seem like something beyond our control. But that’s no excuse for just sitting back and watching a potential disaster happen.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973