Watching all Trump most of the time on CNN is painful. Who cares? Does it really matter that Donald Jr. had a meeting and we only find out now that on person in attendance was a dual citizen who lobbied for the Russian government not to have sanctions? In talk radio, the rule is ” pocketbook” issues, and Donald Jr.’s meeting at Trump Tower does not address pocketbook issues. What people really care about is the health-care bill, and the television producers should focus on health care not Donald Jr.
As of this writing, the newest health-care bill, which was unveiled on Thursday, has not been “scored” (costed out) by the Congressional Budget Office. That will most likely happen at the beginning of this coming week. Then we will find out how much the bill actually costs the taxpayers and who will get coverage and who will not. Then members of the Senate can make their decision.
What we do know is that the GOP side of the Senate can only afford to lose two members – then Vice President Pence can vote and the bill will pass. We already know that Sen. Susan Collins of Maine will vote no, as she feels the bill does not help people who might be sick or poor enough, and Sen. Rand Paul, who is a doctor from Kentucky, feels the bill is too big of a giveaway, so he will also vote no.
The bill is called The Better Care Reconciliation Act. Most of this bill was crafted in secret. Back int the early ’90s, Hillary Clinton’s bill was formed by committees, and the meetings were not open. Secret bill writing, whether done by Republicans or Democrats, does not work. It is high time to open the process. Let’s let C-Span videotape the discussions, and let people decide who is really going to make money and has an interest in the parts of the bill.
What we know about the bill is that 33 percent of Medicaid payments are for people who are blind or disabled. We know that Medicaid for these people has been a safety net. The Nevada governor, a Republican, is upset about what he sees as the eventual rollback of Medicaid. Dean Heller, Republican senator from Nevada, is paying close attention to that state’s governor and now has a Democratic opponent for his Senate seat.
The Senate version of the health-care bill also allows plans to be sold that do not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA (aka Obamacare). It allows people to purchase bare-bones plans. Young people never think they are going to get sick, and they don’t think they are going to need maternity care or get stuck with an addiction or depression. The ACA required that the heath-care plans have maternity and mental-health coverage in it. This new plan does not.
On the opioid addiction crises, the bill does provide money to fight this health-care problem. Two senators, Capito and Portman (West Virginia and Ohio) requested $45 billion dollars in the bill, and currently the bill has that money in it. We do know that the number of deaths have risen and that now there are more deaths from opioids than from guns. This is a great positive in the bill.
The bill has some poison pills, and one of those is to cut all funding for Planned Parenthood for one year and not allowing Medicaid to be used for their services. Whatever you think about abortion, Planned Parenthood is often the only way poor women get health care. They have clinics all over the country. If the health care bill proposed by the GOP in the Senate ends the option of women getting health care at Planned Parenthood clinics, then what will be available to women who need female health care?
Even if there is a “bare bones” health-care package, is there a requirement that people purchase health care? It needs to be in the bill, just as cross-state selling of health insurance needs to be in the bill.
One Democrat suggested that all senators offer their ideas about what should be in the bill. That would be a great idea, just like CNN filling its airwaves with real debates about the health-care bill rather than a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and the Russians. We need health-care debates, not non-stop TV coverage of some stupid meeting with Donald Trump Jr.
Media wishing to interview Ellen Ratner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.