Yesterday, GOP leaders rejoiced (albeit very wrongfully and quite prematurely) at “winning” the first battle toward yet another replace-and-repeal effort of the Affordable Care Act; as the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act to the detriment of American citizens, workers, families, children, elderly, sick and yes, sexually assault victims.
According to the absurd GOP health care bill, coverage could be denied to individuals and/or premiums dramatically increased due to a multitude of “pre-existing conditions,” including sexual assault.
That’s right; according to the Trump/Ryan coda, being raped is a pre-existing condition, and anyone subjected to it should of course be penalized.
It should be noted that the current Affordable Care Act – aka “Obamacare” – tossed out most pre-existing condition clauses, including that of sexual assault. But – in line with the freshman president’s staunch anti-woman advocacy – the new American Health Care Act is looking to reverse that.
Not only is rape now back on the docket as a pre-existing condition, but so are postpartum depression, cesarean sections, and surviving domestic violence – all “conditions” whose ill-effects primarily victimize women. Under the new law, employer-based programs can also deny coverage for gynecological services and mammograms.
According to the American Medical Association, those with pre-existing conditions “face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question.”
But these red flags evidently are non-measures for the ruling Congressional party.
“This bill delivers on the promises that we have made to the American people,” House speaker Paul Ryan claimed yesterday to cheers from the Republican side of the House. “A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote, many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote.”
Positioning patients as victims
“The American Health Care Act (AHCA) plays Robin Hood in reverse,” read a statement by the National Education Association. “It fails to deliver better, cheaper health care for all Americans, instead giving massive tax cuts to the rich while causing 24 million people to lose coverage.”
According to CNN, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards called the AHCA “ the worst women’s health legislation in a generation.”
“It makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family,” she added.
Similarly, Physicians for Reproductive Health called the bill a “targeted attack against reproductive health care,” insisting its ill-effect on millions of Americans, particularly low-income and non-white women.
“It is appalling that the House would push forward legislation that offers no significant improvements to the bill that was rejected just last month,” read a statement from Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, fellow within the organization. “I am terrified for my patients and for the health of this country.”
The ‘Boys will be Boys’ club throws a party
In the wake of their “victory,” the primarily white male GOP establishment was literally rounded up by bus and taken to the White House for a beer party at the White House Rose Garden.
“What is the celebration?” MSNBC’s (and former Fox News propagandist) Greta Van Susteren asked of colleague Chris Matthews. “It can’t pass in the Senate. It hasn’t even gone to the Senate.”
“It’s like claiming victory in a football game at the end of the first quarter or the half or something. For the life of me, I don’t know why they put themselves in a position where they’re clapping each other on the back for getting something halfway done. The American people want a product. We’re not even there and it’s not even likely to be there. Now we have this picture, this bus ride, this big hoopla.”
Matthews suggested the lawmakers appeared to have forgotten who they work for.
“First of all, the image of getting on a bus and being trooped down to the White House like you’re working for the guy, it doesn’t look like checks and balances to me,” Matthews said.
“This is not over. Usually you wait to celebrate until things are over,” Van Susteren added. “Instead we have members of Congress taking selfies of each other in the Rose Garden. And they’re clapping. I just think this is premature. If this were a done deal, they should celebrate.”
Absurdly rushed to the finish line in a blatant and misaligned attempt to recover from disastrous job approval ratings, the latest version of the plan has yet to be evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office. However, many experts already speculate that the bill will result in millions losing their health insurance coverage.
Meanwhile, according to CBO, the bill’s original draft last month would have left 24 million more Americans uninsured by 2026. In addition, the AHCA’s current incarnation would cut taxes for wealthy Americans while weakening benefits for the 49% of Americans who receive health insurance from their employers.
During his highly inappropriate and ill-timed celebratory party hosting at the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump insisted that health care premiums were “going to start to come down.”
According to Trump, under the current ACA, premiums and deductibles “were so ridiculous that nobody got to use their current plan.”
“Make no mistake about it,” he said, “make no mistake. I think most importantly, yes, premiums will be coming down. Yes, deductibles will be coming down.”
But as Vox aptly points out, “[n]one of this is true.”
“The heart of the bill is a $600 billion tax cut for affluent households and health industry corporations. The bill contains no reforms to the American health care payment or delivery systems. All it does is shift money around, largely by taking it away from subsidizing health coverage for older, sicker, and poorer people and plowing it into tax cuts.
“The inevitable result is that millions of people will lose their insurance entirely, and those who remain will end up on average paying more for skimpier coverage.”
But these details are undoubtedly lost on the majority of Trump and GOP supporters, even though statistics suggest that their numbers are undoubtedly the largest to be affected by the new bill’s decisive flaws.
Despite the new legislation’s irresponsible lack of provisions to actually help the American people, the once so-called “populist” president is continuing to make promises; promises he has no way of making good on.
And with so many marginalized and soon to be widely disenfranchised victims – victims whose futures and lives are literally at stake with this new bill – the president is making it known where his true allegiances lie.Click here for reuse options!
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