The Greatest Threat To American Health: Republicans


AARP on ACHA after the House vote

Tax cuts for the wealthy much more important than the health of citizens.

America voted for this???

Many years ago while the ACA was still in the talking stage, I was able to attend a meeting with a staffer for Senator Harkin. It was an open meeting, but as these often go it was attended by only around 20 or so people.

If you remember at that time, health care had been a major topic in the election of 2008. Premiums were skyrocketing and coverage was being denied for the flimsiest of reasons. Even if a person had health insurance and had had insurance forever, it was not a given that the insurance company would cover an illness.

At the meeting I made the comment that if I were to have a heart attack in the middle of downtown, I would try to wave rescuers away. The staffer was astounded by my comment and asked why.

At the time I had some of that wonderful high-risk pool insurance. Very high deductible catastrophic insurance. Would it have covered a heart attack? Probably not. You get on high-risk insurance because you have pre-existing conditions, which insurance won’t cover. The old Catch-22 of the insurance industry. If you are past 50 most likely you have pre-existing conditions.

So I told her “If I were to survive the heart attack and end up in the hospital, most likely by the time I get out we will be broke. Starting life over from nothing at my age with a damaged heart would kill me slowly and painfully. Better I should just die and incur the cost of a funeral for my family.”

The staffer was stunned. She then asked the rest of the group if who else agreed with that. Every hand went up. She slowly then said “it is so bad in this country that death is seen as better than surviving because of the health insurance mess? Oh My God!”

You can bet some form of that message was being heard across the country. People were desperate and scared. Scared of the position their own government had put them in by allowing an industry (health insurance) to dictate laws in their favor to the detriment of the the vast majority of people.

While the ACA didn’t solve all the problems it was a start. And it moved the wolf away from the door for a few years. Apparently Republicans like having the wolf howling at the doors of those they don’t like – the poor, the working class, women – all but the wealthy.

So here we go again. Through gerrymandering, voter suppression, dark money and unverifiable electronic voting plus an assist from Vlad Putin and his band of intrepid hackers, Republicans have a majority in the House. Thursday they happily voted to return to the very bad days millions without insurance, emergency room health care and death in the street.

Today’s Republican party is doing far more damage to America than the bogeyman terrorists they trot out to instill fear in voters. Republicans instilled fear in at least 24 million households with their vote to substantially reduce access to health care. Sounds like terror to me. Bin Laden would be proud.

When I was either in the high risk pool or without health care, believe me I was scared. I knew that the only obstacle between the fear I felt and the access to healthcare that would alleviate that fear was the Republican Party. They have gotten much worse since that time only a decade ago.

Republicans will claim that pre-existing conditions will not be a reason for exclusion from insurance. Instead what will happen is those with pre-existing conditions will see their rates reach stratospheric levels or they will be shunted into “high-risk pools” with little funding from the government and policies with huge deductibles and co-pays. Kiss insurance good-bye if you are over 50.

One of the tricks in this one is to kick the handling of pre-existing conditions back to the states. Having seen what an overwhelming Republican legislature and governor can team up to do to the people of Iowa, can you imagine them deciding on pre-existing conditions? I doubt it would even get real consideration.

Now the focus for health care moves to the US Senate. Their is little secret that Iowa’s senators are hostile to the ACA. But we can’t go down without a fight.

Numbers to contact the Ernst Offices:
Washington, DC (202) 224-3254
Cedar Rapids, IA (319) 365-4504
Council Bluffs, IA (712) 352-1167
Davenport, IA (563) 322-0677
Des Moines, IA (515) 284-4574
Sioux City, IA (712) 252-1550

Numbers to contact Grassley Offices:
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3744
Cedar Rapids, IA (319) 363-6832
Council Bluffs, IA (712) 322-7103
Davenport, IA (563) 322-4331
Des Moines, IA (515) 288-1145
Sioux City, IA (712) 233-1860
Waterloo, IA (319) 232-6657

Checking the posted Grassley and Ernst calendars for next week, there seems to be no public appearances for either senator in the state when congress is off.

Rod Blum is having a few town halls (see the list here)

We could find no listed town halls for David Young. Steve King doesn’t do town halls.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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