Politics before people!

Updated: Sep 19, 2013 @ 14:01:15

United States Speaker of the House has declared “victory” in passing bills that would defund ObamaCare and dramatically cuts funding to foodstamps.  The result of the Republican victory will be millions of american citizens who will go hungry and be denied access to healthcare.  The bill also continues the current sequestration cuts to federal spending.  The vote in the House was strictly along party lines.

The intention of the house may have been to fiscally responsible, however it appears that the majority of the pain will be born by low and middle income families.

It will be interesting to see how this action impacts the next election.

 

Posted: Sep 19, 2013 @22:02:13

Let us consider the fictional character of Jane Smith.

She is a single mother with two children.  To make ends meet she has two part time jobs that bring in an annual income of $30,000 per year.  Because she only works part time she is unable to get health insurance from her employers and she makes to much money to qualify for medicaid.  When she or her children are ill she depends on the health department, free care clinics or emergency departments.  She ignores her health needs because of it’s cost and has not had a PAP smear, breast exam or mammogram for many years.  Her children have not had a dental exam or vision exam in many years because she cannot afford it.  Jane knows her children need health care, and she wants to do it, but she simply cannot afford it.

Unfortunately Jane Smith isn’t fictional!  There are millions of Jane Smiths in our country who are struggling to survive without access to real, affordable primary care services.

The good news is that this January things will get dramatically better for Jane.  Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) she will be able to shop for health insurance online at the health insurance exchanges.  She will be able to select the health insurance that meets her needs and her monthly cost will be approximately 4% of her annual income.   The federal government will be pay the remainder of the health insurance premiums.  The Insurance she gets will be health insurance that meets criteria that the law requires and covers certain minimum healthcare.   Under ObamaCare all preventative care (immunizations, PAP smear, Mammogram, etc) will be covered 100% by her insurance.  Her children will have full health insurance and have dental and vision care.  If she, or one of her children, has a chronic illness they cannot be denied health insurance or have to pay more. If you go to http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/ you can calculate if you qualify for federal assistance and what level of assistance you would qualify for.

The bad news for Jane is that the United States House of Representatives has passed a bill that would defund ObamaCare.  The Republicans in the house have threatened a government shutdown as a means to pressure the president to stop his landmark legislation.  The Republican leaders claim that this is not political, but is conservative fiscal policy.  They declare they act because the american public demand it and out nation needs it!

Unfortunately the facts show that this is purely political gamesmanship without any consideration of how low and middle income families will suffer because of it.  The actions of the House leaders are neither nor or fiscally conservative.  This is politics, pure and simple!

Consider the follow claims by republican leaders…..

 

“The Majority of americans oppose the affordable care act!”

-According to polling conducted by The Kaiser Family Foundation 42 % of americans do oppose the Affordable Care Act, while 37% support the law.  A large proportion (20%) of americans have no opinion because they are unsure of what is in the law.  A key survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 67% of americans oppose defunding the affordable care act, a clear majority. ( http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-august-2013/)

 

“By defunding ObamaCare we will decrease the defect.”

In a recent letter from the Congressional Budget Office Director to Congressman Paul Ryan he estimates that the federal defect will increase by approximately 109 billion dollars over 10 years if ObamaCare is defunded.  (http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr45.pdf?elq=75fe64eb88e94f999417bb144c231e95&elqCampaignId=2031)  This may not to seem to make sense based on the amount of federal subsidies to help individuals buy insurance and enrolling low income families in Medicaid.  To understand this you must understand that the federal government pays billions of dollars to fund free care clinics, provides billions of dollars in grants to provide preventative care and pays hundreds of billions of dollars to compensate hospitals for uncompensated care.  Much of this funding is no longer necessary if more individuals have health insurance.  And as we improve the health of americans we also decrease the amount of money we spend to treat chronic illness.

Also consider that the major source of increases in healthcare spending for the federal government come from people who receive health care and cannot pay for it. (http://www.rwjf.org/en/research-publications/find-rwjf-research/2010/01/health-care-spending-under-reform.html)  By controlling these costs the rate of growth for health care spending should slow.

 

“There aren’t enough providers to care for all the new enrollees.”

ObamaCare includes billions of dollars for educating more physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers.  Defunding ObamaCare will result in decreasing the number of individuals to provide healthcare.

 

“The solution to the healthcare crisis should be market driven and not come from the government.”

Under the present health insurance system there is no competition.  Individuals cannot “shop” for health insurance, they can “apply” for health insurance and the insurance companies can cherry pick who they want to insure.  Most states have large insurance monopolies that control the market and control their rates.  Under ObamaCare the health insurance exchanges will provide a place where individuals can shop for the health insurance they want, see what they will be charged in advance and know in advance what services will be covered.  Under ObamaCare insurance companies cannot be denies coverage because of preexisting condition nor pay more for preexisting conditions.

 

I admit that there are problems within ObamaCare, but these problems can be fixed by simply amending the law.  Unfortunately the House of Representatives has voted 32 times to repeal the law, but have never attempted to “tweak” the law.  The objective has been, and continues to be, purely political.  I will not conjecture if this is racial, partisan or short sightedness.  I will state that the actions of the congress will do direct and serious harm to american families that are already struggling to survive.

It is time the grown ups within our political leadership step forward and take the reins.  There are real and effective solutions to the crisis facing out nation.  Immature, partisan and destructive actions such as those taken by out house of representative are not those solutions!

 

edwardbriggs