WASHINGTON — In their latest show of contempt for the people of our nation, right wing Republicans in the House and Senate have passed a bill to kill the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
If implemented, the bill would rob over 17 million Americans of medical insurance they could not afford without Obamacare and prevent hundreds of thousands of women from getting healthcare services.
But the bill will not be implemented. The right wingers knew this before they passed it.
Republicans do not have the votes to override the veto President Obama will slap on the bill the minute it hits his desk.
Nevertheless, once again, instead of devoting their time to actually governing the nation, right wingers in the House and Senate wasted many days putting on a theatrical performance aimed at demonstrating their opposition to President Obama.
They have no alternative to Obamacare. They’re just against it.
Almost from the moment the Affordable Care Act was passed, right wingers have pushed to repeal, defund or gut it.
They tried dozens of times unsuccessfully to get both Houses to pass repeal measures. They tried and failed to blackmail the Administration by closing down the government and threatening to withhold a debt limit increase and default on the country’s debts.
This time was different, however.
Under the leadership of the new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the newly-energized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, competing factions of right wingers ceased their warring and got behind a single repeal measure. Only two Republican senators voted against it: Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The new unity of the right wing in the House and Senate underscores the absolute necessity of having a Democrat in the White House. If any Republican is elected president in November, the American people will have no protection against measures that will create great suffering.
Paul Ryan himself said, “ultimately [killing Obamacare] is going to require a Republican president.”
The bill that was passed gives us a taste of what would happen if a Republican is elected:
- First, some 700 Planned Parenthood community health centers would be forced to cut back services.
- Obamacare subsidies to about 6 million low-and moderate-income Americans who buy their own insurance would be eliminated.
- The requirement for employers with more than 50 workers to provide health insurance would be lifted.
- Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid for the poor, which has been adopted by more than 30 states, would be rolled back.
- The requirement that insurance companies provide insurance to those with pre-existing conditions? Out the window.
- Children being able to be covered by their parents’ insurance until age 26? Not anymore.
- Altogether, some 17.6 million people in the United States have gained medical insurance coverage as a result of Obamacare. They would lose it if it were not for Obama’s veto of the repeal bill.
What’s more, if provisions of the Obamacare repeal bill were implemented, hospital emergency rooms would be flooded by the tens of millions of people cut from the rolls of the insurance carriers. According to experts, this will result in tens of billions of dollars in uncompensated care being provided by our hospitals. Prior to the enactment of Obamacare, uncompensated care provided by hospitals in our communities was in the range of $75 billion to $125 billion.
Obamacare is not perfect. A growing number of people feel it should be replaced by a single payer system.
Nevertheless, Obamacare has greatly improved healthcare protection for millions of Americans and it has slowed the growth of healthcare spending.
Until a plan that better serves the American people, improved Medicare for all or a comprehensive national health insurance program, for example, is on the path toward being adopted, Obamacare should be protected against attempts by the right wing to repeal it.
Former U.S. Rep. Bill Owens D. – N.Y., wrote in The Hill online newsletter that “The chaos that would ensue in the healthcare system by repealing Obamacare is largely unimaginable, and I suspect not at all thought through by proponents of repeal legislation.”
Photo: Paul Ryan | J. Scott Applewhite/AP