The Power of Price
There are three classes with whom we must reconcile the differences. I’ve reviewed the drafted bill’s revisions to ensure the GOP is taking into consideration each one of these groups and everything looks ok. We’re rewarding the upper class with tax breaks. Anytime the upper class gets large returns, something trickles down to the middle class. The poor will have the option to purchase a bare bones policy at a new low cost. I’m sure you understand why transparency’s not an option when we’re working to bring you a better way.
Dealing with the inanity of the opposition is another reason for the low profile. Let me share a recent letter, before I address a few of the concerns--
Dear HHS Secretary,
I’m apprehensive about what will become of our nation’s healthcare system with your great many plans to roll back regulations. You say you’re in favor of patient centered healthcare, but I don’t see how that could be the case when your point of view is stemming from that of a practitioner, then that of a government official.
I’m concerned not only about my own civil liberties, but also of those I hold close. I don’t see how you can put the mighty dollar ahead of a human life. I’ve noticed with each solution discussed, you replace “affordable” with “quality.” I don’t believe those currently enrolled in the ACA are receiving care from shady characters that purchased their degree from some fly by night institution. I fear with your plan we may soon find ourselves in that position. Treating healthcare with the you get what you pay for manner indicates those who cannot afford much don’t deserve the same care as those who can afford more. If the administration was not so focused on sabotaging the ACA, then why must the word “affordable” be removed completely? I can only determine replacing the word “Affordable” with “American,” is being done to reflect the new improved health bill will cover Americans only.
So many Americans have someone in their life that depends on Medicaid. How can you in good conscience push for billions to be cut from Medicaid? My immediate concern revolves around my own elderly parents. Without affordable healthcare options, they may have passed years ago, but they are still with us—only now they have pre-existing conditions. The increase in premiums for being elderly and having a pre-existing condition are well outside of their cost of living. I have begun preparing a room for them, as they’ll no longer be able to afford to live on their own.
You have mentioned on multiple occasions that you are all about high-risk pools to improve stability in the healthcare system. If this is something that can truly benefit the consumer, shouldn’t it have been implemented already or is there some risk to these high-risk pools?
I do hope this letter wasn’t written in vain, but fear myself like many other Americans will learn our fate sometime this month of July.
There’s no reason for so many people to be frantic over the lack of coverage. We have many GOP senators involved in the re-writing of this health bill, not just those related to healthcare.
We’re not robbing anyone of their healthcare. The current healthcare act is a failure we’re working to fix. During my time as a physician, I realized how public policy can affect patients and the quality health care they receive. I knew I could improve a patient’s access to healthcare by broadening my horizons and joining the US Senate. I’ve been a chairman in numerous houses and committees over the last 12 years. The House Budget committee, House Republican Committee, and the Republican Study Committee have all helped me to see how do more with less. With my experience, the removal of a few mandates shouldn’t be setting off so many alarms.
Nobody wants to be stranded without quality healthcare. That’s why we’re doing all we can to fix the system. We have a lot riding on this new bill and we’re just trying to figure out how to drive it home. We put it in gear with the repeal of Obamacare subsidies as well as the repeal of individual and employer mandates. We gave it a little gas with tax credits and the repeal of cost-sharing subsidies. Nothing. We’ve opened it up by adding an ok for insurers to charge more for older enrollees and consumers with pre-existing conditions. It just sat there, so we vowed to end Medicaid expansion and defund Planned Parenthood. Really, it must be the transmission, because those senators who aren’t on board just don’t get what our presidents trying to do here. In order to fix it, we’ve parked it where it’s remained since before the July 4th recess.
In terms of priorities, there is one absolute priority with the new healthcare plan and that’s affordable medicine. I do have some experience with this matter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years in government, it’s to lay low and not expose yourself; it will all work out in the end. In the spring of 2016 I invested thousands in stock shares from six pharmaceutical companies that developed biological drugs, all while lobbying for an international government to accept stronger monopoly rights for those companies who make biologics. Who needs low cost generic brands when there’s a patented quality drug on the market? Under US law the companies are protected from competition for 12 years, under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) they are only protected for only five years. It all worked out, as our president withdrew from the TPP agreement almost immediately after taking office.
A lot of the healthcare talk has revolved around the subsidies that cover the low-income customers. It may look like we’re trying to get out of paying for the original contract, but that’s just not the case. No one is interested in sabotaging the system or losing out on any leverage that could help negotiate the new healthcare plan with the opposition. The reason I can’t guarantee the subsidies that were guaranteed under Obamacare is due to a little-known lawsuit that rolled over from the previous administration and must be dealt with. Loss of these subsidies could cause insurers to increase premiums and low income consumers to lose coverage. Nobody wants this, but the fact of the matter is someone has to pay for that contract. If it’s not the government, then it has to be the consumers.
Massive premium increases were predicted by me when Obamacare went into effect. A lot of people have an insurance card with Obamacare, but they can’t use it because they can’t afford the deductibles. The market decreased the competitiveness between insurers, but opposing parties of this bill need to realize that repealing Obamacare before agreeing on a replacement may lead to an uncertainty in the marketplace that can make it a hundred times worse. Democrats will only have themselves to blame if they force our hand to repeal without a replacement. While our policies across party lines may differ, there must be a sense of compassion in serving the American people.
Of course, we don’t want to forget about the sick, poor, and elderly. So many patients have trouble finding doctors that take Medicaid right now due to the low chance of reimbursement. Medicaid has significant challenges and while it’s not a right, it is an entitlement program that people can qualify for. The proposed 880 billion in federal cuts is not being taken from Medicaid in its current form, but only slowing the expansion of Medicaid. I don’t believe for a second that anyone will be losing their Medicaid coverage. We’re giving greater flexibility to the states and making it better by taking Washington out of the business. This cut isn’t a broken promise from the president’s campaign, because the winner of Obamacare was Washington, and the winner of these billions of cuts are the patients and doctors.
The nondiscrimination provision in the current healthcare act has offered a protection for the LGBT community, but there is a reason for the injunction against ACA section 1557. Discrimination is not a tolerant action no matter how it originates, but we have to consider all types and this provision never seemed to cover faith based discrimination. A perfect example of faith based discrimination comes to mind with the fire chief who lost his position, because of a self-published book he distributed to his employees. A few of the employees who received a copy of his book were part of the LGBT community. His book compared homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality. While he never discriminated against the LGBT community, he is an example of faith based discrimination and I for one will not tolerate it. I signed a letter asking that the mayor reinstate him and I expect his case to go as high up as the supreme court. Now that you understand my view on discrimination, you can see why this provision may see some adjustments in the new improved health bill.
Faith based discrimination also involves the enforcement of insurers to cover contraception. The argument exists that it’s against religious freedoms to purchase insurance that covers contraception whether the individual themselves uses contraception or not. It is a salable, taxable item that that should not be forced up anyone. That’s just one of the wrongs you’ll see righted with the new improved health bill.
I don’t view the replacement bill as “mean,” maybe because of all the people I know we are doing good for in its passage. I think the president just wants the highest quality healthcare in the world available to the American people. I can commit with this new bill that American’s will have the best quality healthcare that they can afford.
Let’s remember this isn’t just some bill; we’re dealing with people’s lives here and we are giving this replacement bill all the consideration it deserves. When we pass this bill, the differences between the classes will finally be reconciled. The wealthy will be healthy. The middle class will lose only what they are not willing to pay for. The poor will no longer have to jump through hoops dealing with the federal government in regards to Medicaid, because we are passing that liability on to state. Nobody is required to have healthcare. You’re right to choose has been returned to you. In regards to the letter I shared earlier, I responded--
I am writing to extend my condolences in regards to your expected loss of the ACA. The death of the affordable healthcare act is inevitable. This does not mean that you and yours will be without options. A wide range of plans will soon become available and you can be assured the quality healthcare you receive will be based on what is affordable to you.
I’m certain your parents appreciate the preparations you're making for their new living quarters. The golden years really are better spent with family. A benefit to you is they are now your dependents and a write off when you file your taxes.
Please know the HHS appreciates your concerns and is giving serious consideration to all aspects of the new healthcare bill. The replacement bill will have something in it for all Americans. Stay well.
US Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201