AHCA: Not an Act of Mercy but Malice

A low-budget summary of the proposed American Health Care Act in movie trailer format from act.tv.

House Republicans have finally released their plan to replace Obamacare, and it’s a train-wreck.  It replaces insurance subsidies with a flat tax credit which is not only less generous but tied to age instead of income and which won’t guarantee coverage.

Gender and Age discrimination protections are repealed so older people and women can go back to paying a lot more.  The plan does away with the individual mandate in a way that could case the individual market to collapse.  The mandate for employer coverage is gone too! Up to 10 million people would become uninsured in 2020 when the plan revokes Medicaid expansion.

Even if you can get coverage insurers would no longer be required to cover maternity care, mental health services, or hospitalization.  The plan also repeals every tax in the ACA making it impossible to pay for a program that would actually replace the coverage of Obamacare.  But the tax breaks will be a great big boon for the rich!

Staunch conservatives hate the new plan; not because millions will lose their health care but because they don’t think it’s the government’s problem if you can’t afford the world’s most unaffordable healthcare.  For any plan to pass it will take at least a few Democratic votes in the Senate so Republicans still have a long way to go to keep their promise.

President Trump: “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”

And regarding just one aspect of this impending catastrophe to sensible health care coverage options for the poor and low to middle class, here is Joe Kennedy III addressing the planned lack of mental health coverage:

“Question for the legislative council, just to make sure I fully understand it. Based off of what you were saying, sir, I understand the fact that this law does not impact mental health parity. But it was the combination of mental health parity and the ACA that included mental health benefits as part of the essential health benefits package. The parity just says if you offer mental health benefits, they have to be offered the same way that physical health benefits are —  it does not mandate the offering of mental health benefits.

With the combination of the repeal language that we see on page 8, it means that mental health benefits are not required now, by federal law — that it would be up to the states to actually impose, so when we look at those essential health benefits, whether it’s mental healthcare or potentially for other health conditions, that is no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered by this version of this text, is that not correct?”

Attorney: “The text before us does remove the application of the central health benefits for the alternative plans in Medicaid.”

Kennedy: “It does remove them — including mental health. Yes, thank you.”

But what really stuck me was this statement Representative Kennedy, Robert Kennedy’s grandson, made about the general nature of this attempt at ungoverning national health care…

I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” Kennedy said as the House Energy and Commerce Committee dove into the details of the GOP effort … The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. it reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful but by how we care for the least among us.

Mercy. Defined in purely secular terms, compassionate treatment for people in distress. It’s kindness, it is grace.

There is is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury.

There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering.

There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill.

There is no mercy in a policy that takes for granted the sweat the tears and the sacrifice of working Americans that they shed every day so that they might care for their family’s basic needs; food, shelter health, and hope for tomorrow.

There is no mercy for the 2.6 million people who will lose their jobs if Obamacare is repealed.

This is not an ‘act of mercy.’ It is an act of malice.

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14 thoughts on “AHCA: Not an Act of Mercy but Malice

  1. sky hammer says:

    Osama Care is a total disaster for me. I pay more and get less.
    Osama didn’t like the policy I had for 30 thirty years and had no problems with. Under Osama Care I pay nearly $13,000/year and I cannot use most of the coverage.
    I could care less about drug rehabilitation coverage, mental health coverage, birth control coverage, paying to keep kids I never had covered to age 26, pregnancy coverage, paying for office visits and host of other useless coverage.
    Why do I have to pay over $1000/month for the Gold plan, when someone who makes under $45,000 only pays 1/3-1/4 that amount. Why do I get punished for not being worthless? Why do I have only one choice for an insurer, when I used to have dozens of better choices for less $.
    Why does someone with Millions of $ in assets, but makes under $45 pay less than a 1/3 of what I pay?
    I want my old policy back, I paid $8k/year, zero deductible and had no networks and didn’t have to pay for coverage I didn’t want or could not use.
    One year ago I had my 3rd knee replacement. I had to pay out of pocket $15k and the Gold policy has a zero deductible. But, the coinsurance killed me.
    5 years ago, with my old policy, I paid $800 out of pocket for a knee replacement and I could go to any hospital, anywhere in the U.S.. In addition, the doctors and hospitals loved my policy, they actually competed to do my surgery because it paid so well.
    Now I am screwed.
    I hope they git rid of the whole thing.

  2. Shak says:

    Sky Hammer articulated the average pain of aca. It has been an atrocisity upon the workers who will one day be gone. Then what? Who’s going to pay the bills now? Who’s going to receive treatment? There will be a huge surge in violence while patients compete for what little healthcare they can get. Venezuela is a real life situation to learn from. When an entity controls your budget, the outcome is never pretty.
    The Ryan version is even worse.
    ACA should be completely repealed & not replaced.
    I would be willing to vote for the transitional 4 page plan that Rand Paul has published, however, despite knowing that anything temporary in congress is a fantasy. Paul’s plan, however, does provide the much needed time to form group plans, shop online competively, & even to save money for the pas you go self sustainable plan. Insurance is a scam for most. If everyone put the money into savings, they could live off the interest until the end. Instead, people are forced to pad the living status of the insurance companies themselves.
    When the pharmaceutical companies are the biggest lobhy donars for ACA & Ryan’s ACA Worse, it’s a sure bet that healthcare costs will keep rising. Eventually, we will run out of other people’s money.
    I highly encourage citizens to support Rand Paul’s plan and totally repeal any aca on tap.

  3. Sky Hammer and Shak. Medicaid expansion under the ACA has been a boom to those who earn less than you. They now are eligible to the first rate, first class health care you have been eligible to as long as you where gainfully employed WITH a decent health care plan. The only eligibility requirement with Medicaid expansion is income. Ironically, that leaves only the elderly and disabled to have to jump through the additional hoops required to determine whether or not they are eligible for certain Medicaid programs.

    Lookit, if you use the term “OsamaCare” it becomes all to clear that your rejection of this program is based less on the “Care” and more on the “Osama”.

    But that is the plan. Think about the story those in charge of the Republican party are telling you and the American public. Forget about who is benefiting the most in this country with outrageous income inequality. Forget about the war on the working class the donor class of the Republicans has been waging on workers, their factories, and their ability to bargain as a unit for 40 to 70 years. (Yes, Democrats have not helped protect the workers or their factories like they should have been doing..) Gotta go, will continue when I get a chance.

    1. Shak says:

      I’m afraid you’re speaking gobblygook ideals Jon. The upper middle class can afford the health insurance plus required copays, but they can no longer afford to help out their neighbors. The rest of the middle-class can’t afford to help selves or their neighbors.. Important dental & eyecare exams have become a luxury, unless you’re a welfare recipient.
      The costs of healthcare keeps rising. The middle-class are not the ones raising those costs. The middle-class are the ones fighting those costs so that we may all be properly cared for again.
      By ignoring the plight of the avg middle-class who lives paycheck to paycheck, you are in effect against the poor. They are not rich, they are independent from government handouts, while being plundered by government to supposedly take care of those who do not work.
      One of the major talking points is mental health care being dropped if ACA is tossed. Really? Are you serious? WHAT mental health care? Jails?
      To know what is in store for future healthcare costs, boldly seek who lobby’s for forced healthcare insurance.
      https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/contrib.php?cycle=2016&cmte=C90011230
      Pharmaceuticals are consistent.

      Robin Hood never robbed from the rich to give to the poor. He robbed the King’s snair to give back to the victims the king stole from. The victims were the hard workers with work crews to support. Without their funds, seeds, deeds, everyone but the king & the kings men starved. To death.
      I have a feeling that the story of Robin Hood is not lost on you.

  4. sky hammer says:

    Jon Yalcinkaya , You are out of your mind! If you consider Osama care first rate health care, you obviously never had first rate health care. You consider paying more for less a good thing? I don’t mind paying for my insurance, but I don’t want to be forced for pay for others either.
    I see that you think that a single person making $46k has to pay nearly $13,000 for a health plan that has provisions they can’t use is a good thing. While at the same time a single person making $45k gets the same worthless plan only pays 1/4-1/3 as much.
    Now the person making $46k has a much lower standard of living as a person making $1k less.
    If you want mental health care included in your policy, then pay for it, I don’t want or need it and I certainly don’t want to pay for others to get it.
    Income inequality is a bad joke, if you don’t like what you make then make more, it is not that hard.
    Making me poor certainly doesn’t help anyone else.
    I call it Osama Care, because the American Osama hates me as much as the Saudi Osama. The American Osama justs wants to kill me in a lower way.
    Osama is a thief, plain and simple.
    Why should I have to pay for children’s eye and dental coverage? If you can’t afford to cover your own child, maybe you should have thought about that before breeding.
    Because of Osama Care, 1/3 of the workers that make medical devices no longer have a good paying job.
    Making good money in this country isn’t hard, keeping it out of the Governments hands is very hard and costs a lot.When I was younger, I saved every dime, didn’t breed , didn’t buy cars or anything else that wasn’t absolutely necessary, now I am being punished for fiscally responsible.
    Quite frankly, I don’t care about anyone else, it seems that the Liberals want to make everyone poor.
    It used to be that the poor aspired to become rich, since that is to much work, they now aspire to make everyone else poor.

  5. Henchman Of Justice says:

    ACA was applied and implemented in a way to serve the interestss of the democrats by offering subsidies to likely democrat voters, mandates against likely independent or conservative types, and flat out taxation penalties for staying out of the melee (to say it nicely).

    Trump just did the same manuever, but amended who benefits and got rid of the individual mandate penalty (penalty was never a legal taking).

  6. Sky Hammer: a) Let’s distinguish health care from health insurance. In the United States, we have world class health care, the questions are i) how much does it cost (too much) and ii) who has access to it (the ACA significantly increased the number of people who do).

    Caveat. I work as an eligibility worker for Medicaid & Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (S.N.A.P.) for the County. (We call these programs Medi-Cal and Cal Fresh in California). The remarks, as always, are not meant as advise or eligibility determinations for any individual. These numbers are based on publically available information and are my own opinions and not those of my employer or any other agency. Also, I’m human and I might not be (gulp) right. Please consult a professional for your health insurance needs.

    Let’s assume someone is single, making $46,000 a year. Federal Poverty Limit for one person is $11,880 per year. (Aside: let that number sink in for a moment.) This means that person is making ($46,000/$11,880) or 387% FPL. That barely leaves this person eligible to a Premium Tax Credit subsidy on Covered California. This person is over 250% FPL, meaning they are not eligible to CSR programs that are available in certain Silver Plans of on Covered California. This person is also over income for the Medicaid expansion 138% FPL. (Additional caveats: Don’t forget there are deductions for this total income as well as asking the question, is your income in any given month or year “reasonably anticipated”.)

    Here are a couple of great summaries of the ACA and actuarial values for the different medal plans…

    http://www.healthreformbeyondthebasics.org/cost-sharing-charges-in-marketplace-health-insurance-plans-part-2/

    https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8177.pdf

    So, Sky Hammer, you are describing a real situation. A person making 387%FPL could likely have chosen a gold plan. If that person pays $13,000 a year in out of pocket expenses, that means, on average, based on actuarial tables we might expect that person to have had $13,000 x 100%/20% or $65,000 in medical costs during the year.

    You know what Sky Hammer, I absolutely agree with you, this is an untenable situation for this person. However, the answer, (imho, as well as all other developed countries) is not to restrict access to those less fortunate (or hard working) than you, but to cover everyone. Doing so would simplify this entire mess and make those doing government jobs like me all but irrelevant. We wouldn’t have to determine eligibility to health care base on income (or even worse, property) because we would all be categorically eligible to one of the world’s best health care systems. Isn’t that the way it should be in the world’s wealthiest country.

    Or should we continue a health care system that is based on the idea that we “quite frankly, don’t care about anyone else,”? (paraphrasing)

  7. Shak says:

    That touted 20 million lives saved because of ACA is an alledged lie. Apparantly, it was 12 million more signed up to Medicaid. Thousands of others died. Roughly 2 million actually benefited from ACA, the same 2 mill who would have found other helpful outlets if the other outlets weren’t being abolished by government overreach.

    Upon reflection & deeper understnding, I now pull my support for the Rand Paul plan too. All should be repealed. If we don’t repeal, your bucket of homegrown tomatoes will one day send you to prison. When the government controls your healthcare, they control what you eat, drink, grow, and dream. They’ve already set the unconstitutional precedence, all they need now is the final tweak.

  8. sky hammer says:

    A person who pays $13,000/year for health insurance only has $13,000/year out of pocket expenses if he doesn’t use the policy. If that same person(me) uses the policy,his expenses can easily be double or more.
    With my old policy, that Osama would not let me keep my expenses out side the premium($8000/year), was $800 or 10% of 8,000.
    Since I forced into Osama care, I am on my third insurer, two left the state and left me hanging mid year.
    Now, with the only policy available to me, the policy changed this year from a PPO to an EPO, screwed again.
    With an EPO, if you go out of network( which is almost a given if you need a specialist) you can easily pay $100,000 for a procedure.Out of network care is not covered at all under an EPO, not even a little bit.
    What I have found is that while a hospital may be in network, most of the specialists are not.
    With my old policy, a knee replacement cost me $800 over the premium, with Osama Care, I received a bill for over $70,000. Luckily, I was able to negotiate with the doctor, so I “only” paid $15,000 more than the premium.For those that are not good with math, $15,000 is a lot more than $800.
    Anyone with less than Gold plan is really getting screwed with the high deductible.How is a so called poor person supposed to come up with a minimum of $5000? Your policy is useless.
    I just want to be back where I was before Osama screwed me. Lets face it Medicaid is welfare, most people on Osama Care are collecting welfare. If you don’t like being poor, make more money, it isn’t that hard, just don’t screw up and make those that didn’t screw up pay more for less.

    1. Henchman Of Justice says:

      $12,200 +/- is the minimum base level for which taxation on income starts……..

      Anything below is 100% free healthcare and medicaid/medicare covers nearly everything but cosmetic makeovers, but don’t tell certain anti-genderized anthrope-esque type prison inmates in California who get 100% free transgender transition operations…..

      The problem is that:

      1) Doers are taken from to the point that doers are now being encouraged to take themselves.

      2) Doers pay for non doers

      3) Who can really blame any patient when the costs are controlled by insurance, greed to make higher healthcare incomes off the unhealthy populous………

      Who ever thought that trying to help people would turn around into a social class Warfare situation………..actually, lots of people envisioned this implosion decades ago……. The two party system is just trying everything in the book to cover it up.

      2)

  9. Henchman Of Justice says:

    Healthcare in America is simply no different than an IPO hitting Wall Street……… Healthcare is just a corporate raid the pocket setup where corporations make all this technological equipment at a very high cost and they want their profit for it…….. then the hospitals take this higher costs equipment to implement it into their way of doing things……. so they must pay the profit…….mm in turn the hospital charges the patient to pay for the profit of the corporation that made these machines that were never needed a hundred, two hundred years ago for people to go in and get a healthcare check and not have the bank account go to zero.

    It is similar to Options trading, Futures Trading on the market where the system itself is setup in contango mode with very few opportunities for backwardation and what happens is the investor (or the person paying the quid pro quo) is trapped in a commodity that is set up to devalue on a YOY ROI………cyclical patterns that repeat…….

    😎

  10. Shak says:

    The meanies you complain about for not enslaving the people into subsidizing the insurance corporations, happen to care about their patients.
    Doctors & surgeons have left their practises by the thousands, because they refuse to play the mafia game.
    They instead offer true health care by Free Market choice.
    Netflix doesn’t force people to sign up, yet everyone who volunteers to sign up receives unlimited mounts of movies to watch each month. Nobody is forced to watch, nobody is forced to pay, and the choices of which movies to watch is unlimited. The paid subscriptions pay for all overhead.
    Direct pay health care is just like netflix. You pay a monthly subscription & use it as wanted or needed. The monthly subscriptions pays for the overhead. The services provided are always there for you to use as you wish, prepaid. The goods the service provides are brought to you at wholesale prices. Some people go 50 years without needing a doctor, except for checkups times. Some people visit once a month for asthma or other regular afflictions. Some people need heavy duty treatment, like cancer treatment. Thanks to the monthly subscriptions, & wholesale meds & tools, ALL are covered. Nobody is turned away. You pay your subcription, you get care.
    Those meanies are ruining the corruption model aka health insurance.
    Subsidising health insurance companies solidifies the pickle.
    True health care solidifies healthy people.

    True health care: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bGZaRnC1wNg

    1. Shak the video is at an event of the an industry front group known as The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. This may sound familiar because it sounds like the American Medical Association but it’s not them.

      Wiki tells us more.

      “The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to “fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine.”[3][4] The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 5,000 in 2014.[5][6][7] The executive director is Jane Orient, an internist and a member of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.[1] The AAPS motto, “omnia pro aegroto” is Latin for “all for the patient.”[8] AAPS also publishes the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (formerly known as the Medical Sentinel).
      The association is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative, and its publication advocates a range of scientifically discredited hypotheses, including the belief that HIV does not cause AIDS, that being gay reduces life expectancy, that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, and that there are links between autism and vaccinations.”

      History:

      During the winter of 1943, the Lake County (Indiana) Medical Committee opposed the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill, proposed legislation that would provide government health care for most U.S. citizens. Also opposed to the bill was the conservative National Physicians Committee. The committee began a membership drive in February 1944. By May 1944, the AAPS claimed members from all 48 states.[4] In 1944, Time reported that the group’s aim was the “defeat of any Government group medicine.”[4] In 1966, the New York Times described AAPS as an “ultra-right-wing… political-economic rather than a medical group,” and noted that some of its leaders were members of the John Birch Society.[9]
      In 2002, AAPS said that its members included Ron Paul and John Cooksey.[10] Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, was a member for over two decades until his election to the U.S. Senate.[11]

      Yes, I think they would agree with you that health care in the United States, unlike all other industrialized countries, should look more like Netflix and less like the ACA. And yes, for some reason (Hint, it begins and ends with $), there is a core group of conservative doctors who have fought socialized medicine tooth and nail in the United States since at least the end of WW II.

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