Healthcare Letter – March 7

I’ve been writing my delegation, from a very Republican state, constantly since January. I’m posting these in the hope there may be some arguments others can use in their letters or articles.

March 17, 2017

I am writing today to ask you to vote against the proposed Healthcare Act. Barring that, I hope you will at least work to remove the most egregious parts of the bill and also only work to only pass a bill that has been reviewed by the CBO and shown to be neutral or positive in terms of the overall impact on the budget. A bill that sacrifices our future finances is no real replacement at all.

Healthcare services are unlike any other service in the economy in that the person using the service cannot always know before hand that they will need it and cannot be sure what the costs will be. The benefits to individual families and to society at large of good health are also difficult to understate. In my time living in Australia, I have seen firsthand the benefits of a healthcare system that puts the needs of people first, rather than the needs of insurance companies. It has been difficult to explain to the people here why America has made the choices it has, when the outcomes have been less than ideal.

Needless to say, I have not been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act. I do understand the arguments in favor of having decisions made locally rather than by some faceless bureaucracy, however I do not believe either the ACA or the Republican replacement bill will do that. In both cases, we end up with decisions being made by a patchwork of government regulations, hospitals and insurance companies, each with their own agenda and none of them necessarily with the needs of the patients in mind. The Republican replacement bill seems to merely tilt the balance in favor of the Insurance companies at the expense of the poor and the elderly without actually improving outcomes for anyone.

This bill, especially the House version which has brazen giveaways to Insurance company executives, is not what Republican voters have fought for over the last eight years. I question whether this is really the legacy you want for the Republican party. It will surely become a sore point for every election in the foreseeable future.

Also, I am frankly baffled at the claims from the Republican leadership that this bill will increase patient choices when it includes provisions that directly go after the healthcare provider of choice for millions of American women, namely, Planned Parenthood. I understand that abortion is a sensitive issue for many voters, but this bill is not the appropriate vehicle and any debates over the merits of Planned Parenthood as an organisation should be dealt with separate from the healthcare needs of the entire country.

In closing, I believe that the best argument the Republican Party has made against the ACA was over the way it was passed, over the objections of the entire conference with little or no opportunity for compromise. The replacement bill, as it stands now, includes all of the exact same problems as the ACA without the certainty of any real solutions to the problems in the American healthcare system. The only certainty is that all of the blame for these problems will now pass to the GOP, and that the other party is ready to start its own “repeal and replace” campaign for the next election cycle. For that reason, I urge you to vote no on any bill that does not actually fix our country’s healthcare system.