2017-06-02 / Letters

New healthcare act is a ‘scam’

The American people are known for their compassion and caring for the fate of others. When our people are in need or tragedy strikes, we come together to aid and support those in need and the less fortunate.

Contrary to this, however, the House of Representatives have created the American Health Care Act that will have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable populations in our communities.

The Affordable Care Act, although not perfect, was a positive step toward improving healthcare access for tens of millions of Americans.

The problems with the act that need to be improved could have been fixed by bipartisan cooperative action on the part of the House.

But instead, led by Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Republicans decided to repeal and replace it for no other reason than to show their disdain and dislike of President Obama.

Speaker Ryan claims that the AHCA achieves the dual mission of lowering premiums and reducing the deficit. This mission does not include anything about the healthcare needs of the American people or concerns about quality, comprehensive care. Has he no compassion for people in vulnerable populations?

These are serious problems with the AHCA including removal of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, increased costs to the elderly, reductions in covered benefits, reduced services to women, increased premiums, the elimination of expanded Medicaid, the elimination of mental health and substance use disorder services, and the fact that 23 million people will lose their coverage.

Even with the ACA there are an estimated 28 million people currently without health insurance.

Representative Paul Labrador of Idaho was reported as saying, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare.” Give me a break. How uninformed can anyone be? This is exactly why people with preventable conditions die. Go to any emergency room or public hospital and you will find out otherwise.

Representative Steve Knight is running radio spots touting the benefits of the AHCA, alleging that services will be better under this plan.

If the Republicans truly believe it is a better plan, they should trade their government-sponsored health coverage for AHCA coverage and see how they and their families like it.

Wake up, America. Can’t you recognize a scam when you see one? This is the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nation in the world and, as such, we can certainly afford to provide the most vulnerable in this country with comprehensive, integrated, whole-person preventive care.

Doing so would be much cheaper in the long run than episodic care, people delaying care until their conditions worsen and increased utilization of emergency rooms as primary care providers.

We are only as healthy as the most vulnerable in our communities and when fewer people have access to healthcare, the health status of our communities is lowered.

Now that we are becoming aware of the shortfalls of the AHCA, it’s time to apply the saying, “when you see something, say something.” Speak out, America.

Jerry Harris

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