Just before this post began to be composed, the United States House of Representatives voted to replace the Affordable Care Act with their own version of national health coverage. Which is to say there won't be any for a lot of us, or if there is it will cost more per year than a membership at the Augusta National Golf Club.
This monument to cruelty and mendacious rhetoric has been expected ever since Donald Trump took office. After all republicans in the house have loathed what they derisively called Obama Care long before it ever took effect. So much so they voted to repeal the ACA over 50 times when they knew either the senate would reject their decision, or Barack Obama would veto it.
The only surprising thing is it took this long since the last inauguration to kick the ACA to the curb. We have the hard right wing of the GOP to thank for the momentary reprieve. Those bellicose wankers don't want any government involvement in the corporate health and insurance complex. Their philosophy being, "Let 'em die in the streets if they can't pay for their own health care."
This state of mind was expressed perfectly by former republican congressman turned--what else--radio talk show host, Joe Walsh. In response to an emotional monologue by late night TV star Jimmy Kimmel, which included his own experience as the father of a newborn with a life threatening heart defect, Walsh tweeted, "Why do American taxpayers have to be obligated for the health care expenses of an individual anyway?"
Hmm. Maybe out of a sense of decency to our fellow citizen and human being? Or, just because providing health care is far more gratifying than paying for another fucking bomb.
According to the radical left wing publication known as the Wall St. Journal, the bill put together and passed by republicans will allow employers to get rid of 10 specific types of health services. Among them are prescription coverage, mental health treatment, and hospitalization. In addition it will allow companies to void the limits on the amount of out of pocket expenses for their workers when they become the victims of catastrophic illness. It's a scenario which goes like this: Your spouse shows up at your place of work and the HR rep says, "Oh, don't worry, the company insurance will cover all of the cancer treatment expenses after you pay only $1,000,000."
In addition it allows states to get rid of the caps on insurance rates when it comes to pre-existing conditions. In other words, if you have a heart defect, like Kimmel's kid, you can get coverage, but could well be paying, let's say $100,000 a year, or so. That's so long as a state legislature doesn't wipe out the clause entirely, which it can now do. As a moral lesson to slackers, it also allows states to force Medicaid recipients to find a job no matter what their condition. Plus the premiums for senior citizens on fixed incomes can sky rocket unchecked just because they're old.
Yes, as Hannibal Smith used to say on TV, "I love it when a plan comes together."
Fortunately, if you're a congressman, or are on the staff of one, none of this shit applies to you. The hacks who wrote the new law know it is so horribly rotten and sadistic they intentionally left themselves an exception which allows them to keep all the Obama Care benefits no matter what parts their states kill.
That's right, as the bill is currently written, republican legislators will remain safely covered and economically protected by the very same law they have spent years raging against. News of the hypocritical loop hole broke several days ago, but instead of taking a magic marker to the existing language, a whole new bill was put together which will, in theory, close the escape hatch. The house leadership claims a vote on the additional measure will come at a later date.
No doubt, unless, of course, the media and public eventually forget about it. In that case, it's party on dudes.
Now the measure is headed to the senate where God only knows how it will mutate. Then quite probably it will go to a joint house/senate committee. Finally, if the amended law passes both houses it will end up on the desk of El Don. When it gets there the big orange guy will unabashedly tell everyone he personally created, "The best, the greatest, most incredible new health care system for America ever." Just don't ask him what it actually says, or does, because he won't have a clue, nor will he care.
Well, hey, why should he? Let's face it, details are for we the little people to suffer.
And, as everybody, except a bunch of overstuffed, jowly, blue collar racists realize, Donald John Trump is not one of us.