WASHINGTON — This past Thursday a group of super-rich white men and women led by Donald Trump stood in the White House rose garden and gleefully told the press they were throwing a party to celebrate the U.S. House passing a bill that will, if approved by the Senate, take Medicaid away from some 24 million people and make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans who suffer from chronic ailments.
The next day, it was the voters’ turn to speak.
Across the nation representatives who had voted for the measure were confronted by angry constituents whose healthcare they have endangered.
Many of these constituents know they cannot depend upon their senators, on their own, to block the House bill. In fact, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has been working hand in glove with Trump to destroy Obamacare from the day Trump won the presidency.
Voters know they must build a movement to put pressure on their senators and make clear that they could lose the next election if they pass the House bill.
The voters are already delivering this message to congressional representatives who voted to pass the bill along to the Senate. For example, in upstate New York, Republican Representative Tom Reed faced a phalanx of voters at a town hall meeting who were holding signs saying things like Repeal and Replace Tom Reed.
And in Idaho, reports NBC News, a participant in a meeting with Republican Raul Labrador interrupted his speech saying: “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying.”
Labrador responded, “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
“The audience shouted with outrage, drowning out the congressman,” NBC reports.
The bill passed by the House does away with a provision of Obamacare that requires insurance companies to cover patients with pre-existing conditions at the same rate they charge everyone.
Under the House measure, state governments will be allowed to opt out of this requirement. Insurance companies in those states would be allowed to charge people with pre-existing illnesses any amount they wished to charge. The bill then establishes a fund of $8 billion to help cover the increased charges for a period of five years.
A study by Kaiser found that 27 percent of all Americans under the age of 65 have pre-existing medical conditions, which means, according to experts, that $8 billion is not nearly enough to cover those in need for five years.
Furthermore, the House bill repeals a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance company executives earning more than $500,000 a year to pay a tax that helps finance healthcare.
Under the House bill, the shortfall would be made up by cutting Medicaid benefits for low-income people, which could result in 24 million people having no Medicaid at all.
“This isn’t a health care plan at all,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from workers to Wall Street.”
Trumka continued, “We have to act now to protect our health care and make sure that Congress is accountable to the American people.”
He urges all voters to “contact your members of Congress … If they voted for repeal, let them know how that vote affects your life.
“If they are in the Senate, call and tell them to vote against the bill when it arrives in their chamber” or face an uphill battle when they run for re-election.