Why such a partisan divide on health care? Why did the House pass a bill that will put health insurance beyond the reach of 23 million people? Why have Republican Senators scurried off to work in secret on the Senate version of the bill?
Putting aside partisanship and callousness, one significant part of the answer is highlighted in yesterday’s New York Times article about GOP Senator Dean Heller and his opposition to the Senate bill. About a week ago he said he could not support a measure that would deprive millions of health care and do nothing to lower insurance premiums.
According to the Times, “Now Mr. Heller is facing an intense backlash in Nevada, his home state, where there is talk of a primary race challenge against him next year and a pair of the state’s wealthiest Republican donors are fuming.”
The leading edge of the “backlash” is from President Trump and his rich supporters, in this case, billionaire Nevada casino magnates, Sheldon G. Adelson and Steve Wynn.
Meaning, the health care fight is largely over the taxes imposed on the wealthy to make health insurance affordable for the poor.
Money versus health. Greed versus individual and societal well-being.
Notwithstanding attempts by Republicans, including Raul Labrador and Paul Ryan, to explain otherwise, if the Senate version of Trumpcare passes, 22 million Americans will become uninsured and people will die.
A Harvard medical study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that for the states that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, mortality rates have declined. Many previous studies support the same, obvious conclusion that with access to health care, mortality rates decline — including for young people.
The Republican-controlled Idaho Legislature has already exposed tens of thousands of Idahoans to higher risk of mortality by refusing to adopt the Medicaid expansion. The further contraction of Medicaid with Trumpcare will make life even more difficult for tens of thousands of Idahoans.
Voting for Trumpcare is like voting to strip most of the Boise metro area of health insurance and allowing one whole neighborhood to die as a result.
Because of their disregard for the lives of their constituents, Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson should be ashamed for their votes in favor of the House version of the bill. Senators Crapo and Risch should be ashamed if they support the Senate version.
If you agree, please call or send emails to Senators Crapo and Risch. The Senate will come back to this terrible bill after their July 4th recess, so email as soon as you can. Encourage our Senators to follow Nevada Senator Heller’s example.
Mike Crapo, Phone: (202) 224-6142 Email: https://www.crapo.senate.gov/contact/email-me
James E. Risch, Phone: (202) 224-2752 Email: https://www.risch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email