The GOP has passed its long-touted repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA). While it is hard to hear cautious voices of reason above the saber-rattling and keg stands, Friday’s narrow 217-213 vote tally was only in the House of Representatives. The TrumpCare deal is far from complete.
Contortion of the purpose behind the Affordable Care Act
The ACA (or Obamacare, depending upon the speaker) provided a way for more Americans to have health insurance, which should hypothetically allow them to have access to health care.
Some in the business world hated it. They claimed it was a load of paperwork, regulations and compliance. Ads, put on the air within hours of the law’s signing, misconstrued parts of its text. With enough repetition, people had opinions ranging from confused all the way to terrified of their impending death panel.
But hey, at least we gave the ACA the time it needed to settle in. Patients and providers were able to learn the ropes. The healthcare industry grew an effective and functional system. Oh, wait. No, we did not.
Talking heads on TV and bloggers on the Internet continued to scare. Republican governors put up roadblocks to metaphorical construction crews sent to repair the expected cracks and potholes. The crumbling bridges that resulted frustrated healthcare providers and began to leave a negative impression on patients’ view of the law.
For-profit healthcare, even with increased protections under the ACA, does not work
Many healthcare organizations and private doctors have proven to be unwilling to step up to the plate and deal with the new system. Rather, they throw their hands in the air over too complicated paperwork and the plain difficulty of providing healthcare to poor people (Medicaid) and old people (Medicare).
Yes, such populations present different challenges than they’re used to managing from carriers of private health insurance. The answer is adaptation. However, some choose to throw the baby out with the bathwater and refuse to provide care for patients with this type of coverage.
Despite the best efforts of the ACA, many reports show a good chunk of people in this country were not better able to get care, because they could not find anyone who would take their insurance.
We don’t care, the honest reality TrumpCare could bring to our most vulnerable
With TrumpCare, we have replaced one new system, going through its growing pains, with another new system built from chaos and fear.
Perhaps the AHCA at least will give people the honest facts: their healthcare, and the problems it gives to families and communities, is not the concern of the government. It is not the concern of the medical-industrial complex, either. A for-profit system means they want to make money. Our failing hearts are our problem.
Look on the bright side, this toughlove healthcare may actually improve the health of Americans. With reduced access to pain management, less opiate prescribing can mean fewer addicts. Our frail elders will no longer suffer dangerous adverse reactions from medications they’ll no longer be prescribed. Or, if they are, their expense will be unaffordable. No longer able to fork out for cholesterol testing and Lipitor, maybe people will decide it is time to cut back on burgers and pizza. Embrace the salad bar.
What the ACA said about America is that we care about each other, and it is important for all of us to have attainable access to healthcare. In practice, this meant some of us will pay more and some less. It expressed that a citizen’s health impacts the country collectively, and responsibility for the provision of care is also a collective responsibility.
Whereas TrumpCare says that we are all in it for ourselves. Some of us can get 22 MRIs of our left knee, and some of us can barely afford immunizations for our children. But those shots aren’t the responsibility of that knee. The knee can afford to buy those MRIs, and screw the kids.