Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trumpcare, Some Questions You Might Ask: Will the "Pro-Life" Catholic Bishops Provide Access to Healthcare for Millions Who Lose Coverage?

To borrow shamelessly from the title of a Mary Oliver poem, some questions you (and I) might ask now that the horror show of the Trumpcare "replacement" plan for the Affordable Care Act has been unveiled:

1. As millions lose healthcare coverage, will the "pro-life" U.S. Catholic bishops and "pro-life" white Catholics who have helped to set all of this into motion provide access to healthcare for those millions of poor people? 
2. Pope Francis speaks of the church as a field hospital for the wounded: will Catholic churches, chanceries, religious communities be taking in all the people in need of medical coverage now? 
3. Lying white evangelicals say they oppose state healthcare coverage because the church should provide such coverage: when and where did their churches ever provide healthcare coverage for the millions who needed it prior to the Affordable Care Act?
4. Who, precisely, among "pro-life" white Christians will now step up to the plate and take care of the healthcare needs of millions about to lose their coverage so that the super-rich can have more tax cuts?

I'd like to hear some honest, real answers to these questions.

So long as we don't have a universal system such as exists in various permutations in virtually every other wealthy industrialized country, the only real measure of policy success or failure is the number of people who have health care coverage - not theoretical access to coverage, coverage. Health savings accounts may have some marginal utility as they exist today. They don't count as health care coverage. Democrats and everyone else who cares for the millions who are about to be tossed onto the chopping block need to force an honest setting of the terms of the debate now. The number of uninsured people has dropped dramatically over the last five years. It's about to start going up against. It will go up even higher once the mid-term elections are past since the GOP plan is designed to push much of the bloodletting past the mid-term election. The current plan also starts the phaseout of Medicaid and preps for the phaseout of Medicare - a key policy goal for Paul Ryan. 
The number of people with usable insurance is the only measure that counts. "Access" is bullshit. 

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