We spent most of the holiday in the emergency room with an elderly relative. For those who have been in a similar situation you know that you will have a lot of time on your hands while waiting for test results or emergency room personnel to be freed up from other emergencies to tend to your patient.
Emergency rooms are also not real conducive to conversations so we often sit quietly thinking to ourselves.
Wednesday the thoughts that kept circulating through my brain were thoughts about what a crappy, discombobulated, fractured and inefficient health care system we have in this country. Ten years ago it was the number two issue in the presidential election immediately behind a looming catastrophic economic depression of Republican making.
Immediately following Obama’s election he put his focus on saving the world from economic disaster and did so. Will we ever really know how dangerously close the world was to a total meltdown?
Then President Obama moved on to objective #2, taking on our behemoth health care system. The system was fractured into many parts ranging from full governmental programs on down to fully privatized, for profit set ups that had their emphasis on profits. Some of the segments had coverage for everyone in their segment as a goal, but coverage for all Americans was never a total system focus. Obama sought to change that.
Americans have short memories. We are now about seven years or so removed from implementation of Obamacare. Democrats for whatever reason (this could be the source of lengthy arguments) chose to choose a middle ground that included for profit insurance companies in the mix. Even with all its warts, Obamacare was hailed rightfully as a major step forward.
And Republicans immediately went to work chip, chip, chipping away at health care programs, especially Obamacare. From constant attempts to repeal in congress – 50+ attempts if I recall correctly – to fights in courts to amendments to spending bills that would weaken the program. There was hardly a strategy that Republicans didn’t employ to ruin health care for Americans.
We can hardly forget that they also employed a vast propaganda network headed up by Fox News to discredit anything and everything about Obamacare. As Republicans chipped away, their media arms discredited Obamacare.
Now we are nearly 10 years past the original crisis. Republicans have interfered so much that they have damaged Obamacare, especially with the tax cuts for the wealthy they passed last December. Thanks to that Republican interference, it looks like health care premiums will be rising and there are increasing “loosely regulated” plans that will act to segregate those most in need of health care into a type of insurance ghetto that will also cause premiums to rise for some.
Iowa passed legislation for those “loosely regulated” plans in the spring.
As I wrapped my mind around what Republicans have done in their 10 year quest to ruin any steps forward, it made me mad. As our relative was getting cared for I wondered if she will be able to depend on Medicare the rest of her life? Will it be there tomorrow? People on Medicaid were blindsided by Branstad and Reynolds a couple of years ago and some of those folks are in a world of hurt.
We got news last week that the U of Iowa Dental School will no longer take new medicaid patients. This is a direct result of Branstad/Reynolds’ policies of privatization.
So here we are with an election right around the corner in 4 months looking at possible huge premium increases for some sectors of our populace, cutbacks in other sectors, inadequate policies now being marketed with one party actively doing all they can to cut the poor and the ill out of access to health care.
The VA medical system continues to have problems with no concrete plans to do anything to fix them. Actually the current administration’s policy seems to be to wreck the current system and then force veterans into a privatized system.
Even children’s health care was attacked by Republicans last month when the current president tried to pull a “recission” of money for the CHIP program.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that most of us have our health care tied to our jobs. That is never a good situation.
We are careening back to 2008 complete with pre-existing condition exclusions, large segments not covered and Republicans working hand in hand with insurance companies to maximize profits and minimize health care system usage.
Iowa’s move to privatizing Medicaid is one of the real lowlights of health care in this country. While promising to streamline and “modernize” (whatever that means) Medicaid, the product that these changes have delivered is much higher overhead, much lower service to people who desperately need care and a pile of unpaid bills that threaten to put hospitals and clinics across Iowa out of business.
What is even sicker about Iowa’s Medicaid system is that despite thousands of people of constituents calling for change and a system that seems on the verge of collapse daily, Republicans refuse to even discuss changing back to a system that worked fairly well. Talk about catering to big business to the detriment of the populace!
So this year you had better vote as if your life depends on it because it does!