It’s now been more than 30 years since I finished my formal business education in health care administration and more than 20 years since wrapping up tax law handling of health and welfare benefits. I’ve applied this training in an unusual manner to address consumer financial planning issues as an independent adviser rather than actually working within the health care industry itself. In this capacity, I’ve addressed questions from more than 50,000 Americans in every part of the country. Every single one of these 50,000 people share the same basic underlying concern: Will they be able to access basic medical care when they need it? I try very hard to avoid the political issues and focus only on helping people cope with their health care financing struggles. But it’s tough to keep quiet when we see the type of horrible and ignorant legislative and administrative actions that do nothing to help ordinary Americans afford medical care. Separately, I published a short explanation of why I oppose the Republican health care bill citing comments by Warren Buffett.
We all know that health care has a huge impact on our financial well-being. That is an understatement. Financial ability to access health care can actually be a matter of life and death. This is the single most important factor in our overall well-being, happiness, security and quality of life.
Over these 30+ years we’ve watched our leaders battle with heath care affordability but not make much progress. I wasn’t a fan of the grossly misnamed “Affordable Care Act” for that reason. Health care regulation is complex, and I don’t fault any law or legislature that attempts to make even the tiniest steps toward resolving the difficult issues.
Yet yesterday our US House of Representatives took the largest legislative step backwards that we’ve ever witnessed in modern times. The bill called “The American Health Care Act of 2017” that passed on May 4, 2017 with only 217 Republican votes keeps every former legal protection for members of Congress and their staff but strips most legal protections from the rest of us. Meanwhile the bill gives uncounted billions of dollars in tax savings to the richest individuals and corporations while stripping away health care funding for the poorest. The betrayal of public trust is beyond description.
I have to presume that these 217 Republicans either didn’t bother to read a brief of what’s in the bill or blatantly don’t give a damn; so long as they can move along a piece of party-sponsored crap.
Fellow Americans, let’s be clear and strong in this point:
This bill is not just wrong, misguided, short-sighted or dangerous. It is a horrible abomination against ALL Americans (not just those under Obamacare but every person covered by employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Yet members of Congress and their staff are exempt from the impact of the bill). Support for this bill, IMO, borders on the legal definition of criminal intent to harm fellow Americans. Every one of those 217 members of the House who voted for this crap yesterday must be held accountable.
In my region of the Delaware Valley there were 9 Republicans in Pennsylvania and 2 in New Jersey (none in Delaware) who voted for this atrocious act:
- Keith Rothfus (PA) @keithrothfus
- Mike Kelly (PA) @mikekellypa
- Scott Perry (PA) @repscottperry
- Glenn Thompson (PA) @congressmangt
- Bill Shuster (PA) @repbillshuster
- Tom Marino (PA) @reptommarino
- Lou Barletta (PA) @reploubarletta
- Lloyd K. Smucker (PA) @repsmucker
- Tim Murphy (PA) @reptimmurphy
- Tom MacArthur (NJ) @reptommacarthur
- Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) @usreprodney
I urge my neighbors in PA and NJ to let these bullies know that we will not tolerate this type of white collar legislative crime that specifically intends to bring cruel denial of basic medical care and premature death to millions of Americans while cutting the financial burden for the wealthiest sector. Public outrage against the bill has already caused these scoundrels to abandon the part of the law that gives themselves special health care protections. The unpopular Section 1312(d)(3)(D) provisions were removed. Additional public pressure will scare them into some reconciliation of reality that voters will not tolerate this type of behavior in an elected official. Let them know this bill will never become law and that they will face consequences for voting to undermine your health care and financial security.