American Flatline

My degree is in management and business types are known to be bottom line people. That is, in the final analysis the thing that matters most is the net profit or loss (the bottom line of the P&L statement). In health care there is a “bottom line” of sorts; it is the line(s) on the vital signs monitor that measures activity. When it goes flat you are dead. I contend that Trumpcare, in all its versions, will produce a flatline for many Americans. Let’s explore.   

Monday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score for the current pending Senate version of Trumpcare (the Better Care Reconciliation Act). It projected that 22 million Americans would lose their access to health insurance and thereby health care under the plan by 2026; most of them in the early stage of that time period. That is pretty much in line with the CBO projections for the House version (the American Health Care Act). Off the top of my head, the ACHA came in at 23 or 24 million. Since we are dealing with projections the outcomes are basically identical. To put those numbers in perspective, only California and Texas have populations of more than 20 million. It is like wiping out any of the other 48 states and then some.

Another finding in the CBO reports is that most Americans who were still able to obtain health insurance would pay more for plans that covered less and had higher deductibles. In plain English: you would pay more for less.

It doesn’t take a world class statistician to figure out that with less access to health care more people will die. It borders on hyperbole, but as I’ve been saying for years now, the Republicans are hazardous to your health. If you think you and your family will have continuous coverage and the access to the quality health care that brings therefore you are immune – think again! Simply put we all breathe the same air. If others are infected with contagious diseases you are exposed to them (i.e. in a store, school or church). Obamacare brings several provisions to your private or employer based health care plan that will be in jeopardy (i.e. lifetime caps, coverage for children to 26, no discrimination for pre-existing conditions). Many or all of those protections will vanish under Trumpcare.

It is early Tuesday morning as I write this. I expect Mitch McConnell to amend the bill in an effort to get to 50 votes. This bill was never anything more than a way to finance a tax cut for the wealthy on the backs of the needy. A few amendments won’t improve it to the point that it will do the majority of Americans any good. The bottom line is that it stinks and I hope it flatlines in the Senate!

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