Email #106, Subject: “exacerbates the problem”?

Given the lack of support for the American Health Care Act, you and Congress will soon need to consider alternative approaches. A plan that provides universal health care coverage should be on the list. I recently read a compelling argument for it:

“With the cost of health care being so high, those uninsured have few options if they cannot independently pay.  Because hospitals are required to treat emergency conditions regardless of ability to pay, the uninsured often turn to emergency rooms for care.  However, this exacerbates the problem because these costs are passed onto all consumers in the form of higher health care prices.”

This may sound like an argument posed by Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton, but it was written by a Republican. In fact, it was written by a leading member of the current Congress: the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

It was written by you.

Since you’ve been in Congress for a quarter century, you have probably made many statements that you have changed your mind about over the years. This one, however, you wrote in December. You sent it to me in a letter about why the Affordable Care Act needs to be replaced by a better bill. I pointed out that the Republican health care bill would insure fewer people than the ACA and so not address the very point that you raised.

When you sent me your next form letter about health care in February, it no longer included the above paragraph. Though your staff writers can erase inconvenient facts from your public statements, they cannot erase them from reality. As you argued so effectively, the ACA’s biggest flaw was its failure to insure all Americans. Until there is universal coverage, health care costs will continue to climb out of control for exactly the reason you identified. And yet the GOP’s American Health Care Act will insure far fewer than the ACA currently does.

So why are you supporting a bill that contradicts your own argument? Why are you supporting a bill that deepens the problems we are all facing?


Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s