Tag Archives: Graham-Cassidy

How We Know Republicans are Wrong re Pre-Existing Conditions Protection

Oddly enough, in this time of special oddness, there is a debate going on, in Washington and on the internet, about whether comedian Jimmy Kimmel is right that the Graham-Cassidy health insurance legislation exposes people with pre-existing conditions to prohibitively high premiums and/or draconian reductions in coverage. Republicans are trying to argue that Kimmel is wrong to say that people with pre-existing conditions will be hurt by the Graham-Cassidy legislation. See http://cnn.it/2hmjP3l

Even more odd is the fact that the Republicans making this argument could, with some direct language in the legislation, remove any doubt about this question if they wanted to. But they don’t. Why? Because they want to leave it up to the states to decide, one by one, whether and how much to penalize people with pre-existing conditions. The end result would be a crazy quilt of differing state approaches that would add to public confusion about, and, I contend, the cost of health insurance almost everywhere.

Therefore, since the Republicans apparently will not take the obvious step to put this issue to rest, we, as rational thinkers and observers of the passing scene, must conclude that the Graham-Cassidy legislation does indeed pose grave (no pun intended; wait, actually, pun intended) risks to people with pre-existing conditions and all people economically connected to or dependent upon them. This is millions of people, probably tens of millions.

So, Republicans, until you develop the moral integrity to speak the truth about what you are trying to do to the American people, why don’t you just shut up about pre-existing conditions and, by your silence, admit that the reality of Graham-Cassidy is just what Jimmy Kimmel said it was. That’s step one.

Step two is for you to pack your bags and prepare to go home and explain to the people who elected you how Graham-Cassidy is going to make their lives better. And don’t even think about lying about it. Jimmy knows who you are and, with the rest of us, will be watching every move you make.

Step three, start looking for a new job, because you most likely will cease to be a U.S. Senator when the next election in your state is held. This is the well-deserved fate of politicians who act against the interests and values of their constituents. So it is written, so let it be done.

 

An Open Letter to Some Senators from Robert Frost

Warning: Naiveté will be on display here.

This “letter” is directed primarily at U.S. Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski although there are a few others who should be paying close attention to the implications for their states, and their constituents, of the Graham-Cassidy legislation that would replace the Affordable Care Act with a temporary set of block grants and the individual discretion to limit covered services, including pre-existing conditions and many basic regular services now covered by the ACA.

For you three Senators in particular, you have arrived yet again at one of those moments when history is going to judge you. It will not judge you for all the other things you may have accomplished, or even for your other failures. No, history is going to judge you for the action you are preparing to take – to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on Graham-Cassidy.

Senator McCain, all of your well-known heroism and sacrifice will be dashed into dust if you vote to take away meaningful and affordable health insurance from the more than 32 million people now estimated to be impacted by Graham-Cassidy. You will be remembered instead for this one vote. Your choice – still hero or goat.

The same for the two female Senators from Maine and Alaska. You have come a long way, accomplished much for women in politics, served as an example of positive achievement for young women. I say that even though I disagree with much of your Republican politics. You too must face the judgment of history, and that of your constituents when they realize that you have, if you vote ‘yes,’ stripped them of the fair opportunity to secure health insurance for themselves and their children.

There is no escaping this crossroads for each of you. The President and the leadership of your party in Congress are so determined to remove the Affordable Care Act that they will sacrifice themselves and you as well on the ideological altar of state empowerment. Just look at the state-by-state consequences of Graham-Cassidy. Center for American Progress at http://ampr.gs/2fbzykY; Commonwealth Fund at http://bit.ly/2hhZpIE; The Atlantic at http://theatln.tc/2hjTsLw.

The Congressional Budget Office final score for Graham-Cassidy will likely not be ready by the time the vote, with no meaningful hearings or formal input process, occurs. Why the rush? It’s solely so that the Republicans can pass the bill with a bare majority of one under the “50 votes wins” rule that expires September 30. You thus can go along to get along, or you can do something else.

You are at the point of Robert Frost’s famous poem, the one that ends with

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Can you truthfully say that, in your considered judgment and based on your experience with state and federal government and after a careful evaluation of the impacts, that Graham-Cassidy is good for the American people, a substantial majority of who favor retention of an improved Affordable Care Act approach? Will you be able to explain your vote to the parents of a disabled child who is denied health care because the family can no longer afford the costs? Is it clear to you, beyond reasonable doubt, that Graham-Cassidy is the best way to address the health insurance problem that plagues this country and which many other civilized nations seem to have solved without draconian denials of medical care to their citizens?

Time is short. Why don’t you just bring this insane charade to a close right now, by telling the Congressional leadership and the President that “the answer is ‘NO,’ I will not lend my name, my reputation and my honor to this disgraceful legislation that will harm tens of millions of Americans”? Take the road less traveled. The only honorable thing to do.

Once More into the Breach, Dear Friends

Unchastened by multiple past failures of leadership and intellect, the Republicans in Congress have signaled their intention to bring one more piece of “repeal Obamacare” legislation to a vote before the month is out, so as to secure the benefit of a 50-votes-wins procedure. This time it’s the Graham-Cassidy version that would replace the Affordable Care Act with block grants to the states which would then be free, individually, to permit insurers to effectively price out of existence the coverage for pre-existing conditions that is now mandated by federal law. They will do this even without scoring of the impact by the Congressional Budget Office.

Thus, each state that chooses to support the Republican goal of undermining access to health insurance for Americans in order to secure some vague idea of “fiscal responsibility” and, more truthfully, to stamp out perceived federal support for such practices as abortion, can do whatever it wants with access to health insurance. This, notwithstanding that all polling shows a substantial majority of Americans favor key elements of Obamacare protections, including coverage for pre-existing conditions.

This effort is urged on the Republican Party by its putative leader, Donald Trump, who hates everything associated with Barack Obama and is determined to remove all vestiges of Obama’s presidency from the face of the earth. Trump thinks he can’t lose here because he promised his so-called political “base” that he would get rid of Obamacare. If he succeeds, and the base delusionally concludes it’s a victory for them, Trump is a hero. If Congress cannot deliver the bill to him for signature, Trump still sees himself as the winner because it is Congress’s failure, yet again, that has denied him fulfillment.

And nothing is more important to Trump than winning. So far, his presidency has failed in almost every significant initiative it has attempted, so Trump is desperate to accomplish something, anything, regardless of the consequences.

It is time, once again, for the people to rise up and reject this outrage by demanding in the clearest way possible that every member of the Republican Party in Congress vote against this monstrosity. Almost all of them will disrespect the will of the people, of course, because in the end they don’t give a damn about the people. But there are a few, literally only a few, Republicans who have previously shown the courage and humanity to stand apart from the rest of the drones.

Here we have Senators McCain (Arizona), Collins (Maine) and Murkowski (Alaska). It comes down to the same three people to demonstrate the moral fiber and independence of thought and action that history now demands of them. Senator Paul of Kentucky has already said he is opposed to the bill, but you can’t count on him to stay that course. He hates the Affordable Care Act almost as much as Trump does.

Everyone who cares about this should lay down a barrage of calls, emails, tweets and posts calling on those three to stand, once more, as the bulwark against the depravity of the Republican Party and its attempt to deny tens of millions of Americans any modicum of real access to health insurance.