Friday, July 14, 2017

Focus on the Senate

Amid the endless daily distractions concerning which Trump or Trump surrogate may have said what to which Russians and vice versa, the most immediately consequential issue remains in the Senate, which is still struggling to find a way to keep the majority party's promise to take heath care away from millions of needy Americans in order to give more money to the richest ones, who have no need at all.

Of course, Russia is important. Finding out what happened in the 2016 election (and hopefully not normalizing candidates' cooperation with hostile foreign powers in the future) is important. 

But, our media-driven obsession with scandals and rumors of scandals notwithstanding, the future health prospects of millions of Americans are more important!

A column in last Sunday's NY Times compared Kentucky and its neighbor Tennessee. Prior to Obamacare's full implementation, Kentucky had 14% of its population uninsured and Tennessee had 13% of its population uninsured. But, by 2015, Kentucky, which took full advantage of Obamacare's provisions and implemented the law as was intended, had cut its uninsured percentage of its population to just 6%, while Tennessee was stuck at 11%. That shows what Obamacare, when fully implemented in the public interest for the sake of the common good, has accomplished. And it shows the peril into which people are being put by the majority party's repeal agenda.

Like Obamacare itself, the proposed replacements are complex. One can easily get distracted by all the dreadful detail. And obviously attentiveness to detail is important if we are ever to be at all successful in addressing this problem. Even so, the essence of the problem with the Senate bill (as with the bill already passed by the House) is clear. It was simply stated by the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in a June 27 letter to the Senate and reaffirmed yesterday in light of recent proposed changes in the bill: "All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care. Unfortunately, the Senate bill does not provide access for all people which is truly within their means." 

No comments:

Post a Comment