Email #143: “What matters in long run”?

Why is the House moving in the wrong direction on health care?

The new plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act brought the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, but at the cost of making the bill even less attractive to moderates and centrists.  Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman had planned to vote for the previous version, but now he’s only a “maybe.” Why? Because the new bill is worse. New Jersey Republican Rep. Leonard Lance is rejecting it because he has “always campaigned on making sure that no one is denied coverage based on pre-existing condition.” You said you wanted the ban on pre-existing conditions to continue too, but now states would be able to strike that provision along with any of the ACA’s essential benefits:

(1) ambulatory patient services

(2) emergency services

(3) hospitalization

(4) maternity and newborn care

(5) mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment

(6) prescription drugs

(7) rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices

(8) laboratory services

(9) preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management

(10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Which of those would you personally go without? Which do you think your family members don’t really need?

The Freedom Caucus compromise has taken the extremely unpopular American Health Care Act—it was polling at a 17% approval rate while the ACA was tipping over 50%–and made a bill that is even less likely to become law. The ACHA wouldn’t have passed in the Senate. Aside from drawing no Democrats, four Republicans–Portman, Capito, Gardner, and Murkowski–wrote to Majority Leader McConnell to openly oppose it: “We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states.” Like the ACHA, the new bill would cut Medicaid. But unlike the ACHA, it would strip away more benefits and protections. That’s not a compromise. That’s a bad bill made worse.

Republican Senator Cotton said it best in his March tweets: “House health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast… What matters in long run is better, more affordable health care for Americans”

So why is the House pushing forward a bill that can’t pass? More importantly, why are any Republicans supporting a bill that hurts those Americans who need health care most?

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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).

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