New Health Care Bill Continues Obamacare Premises: Limit Care for the Poor, Subsidize Wall Street Insurers
March 7, 2017 (EIRNS)—The new Republican bill, the American Health Care Act, was released yesterday, in the process of what its backers refer to as the repeal-and-replace phase of ending the destructive 2010 Obama "ACA"—Affordable Care Act. Certain of the new bill’s key features, and other actions the White House has announced will be taken, retain the very same premises as the Obamacare abomination, namely, that medical treatment must be limited for the poor; and hand-outs must be continued for the mega-insurance companies, to "stabilize" the marketplace. Other features of the bill give more support to health-care savings accounts, and for refundable tax credits for buying private insurance.
A rush is on to get the bill up before Congress. There are no hearings in sub-committees planned. Instead, tomorrow morning, simultaneous full membership sessions will be held to mark-up and vote on the bill in the Commerce and the Ways and Means Committees.
The new, 123-page bill—57 pages of which are repeal measures, and 66, new measures—is part of what White House spokesman Sean Spicer said today will be three areas of action in the coming days. First, the bill itself; second, executive orders to "stabilize the marketplace" (translate: Federal aid to the Wall Street insurance sector); and last, measures of various kinds to be announced, such as lowering the cost of medications, through "increasing competition" among suppliers, and damping down insurance premium spikes, by allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines, etc.
Regarding the stratum of 70.5 million poor people nationwide, who are dependent for care on Medicaid, this program is to be limited and frozen. Medicaid expansion is to be stopped by a certain date. In addition, those currently under Medicaid, will have a cap on what can be spent on each patient. States are to be given a fixed sum for the number of poor persons in each category: disabled, elderly, pregnant mothers, childless adults, etc.
Thus, unlike the view of Medicaid in the 1960s, which was regarded as a temporary safety-net way to care for the poor as a stopgap until an economic downturn was reversed, the current view is to see Medicaid as a dump for anyone who becomes poor, who should then have their treatment cut. In other words, the Hitler health care model of "lives unworthy to be lived."
Meantime, the new bill authorizes the creation of a $100 billion fund, over a decade, for states to use to help subsidize insurance companies in their state, and related purposes.
From 2013 to 2016, Obamacare doled out billions to private insurers to guarantee their profits, in what was euphemistically called "risk adjustment payments." This program expired in December 2016. Heads of the mega-insurers—Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth, and others—were at the White House last week, asking for continued Federal payments, under the pretense of providing "stability in the marketplace" for insurers.