The Healthcare Industry Sounds The Retreat On The Senate Bill And Takes A Stand

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DDNormally, Republican politics and business walk in lock step. Linked like DNA sequences, the financial codes of contributions to campaigns and the codes to removing regulations and providing tax breaks are tightly wound and almost unbreakable. So, on an issue that polishes off 18 % of the GDP–$3.2 trillion!–common sense would expect Republicans and healthcare business leaders to move in lockstep, in complete agreement, especially with so much money at stake (not to mention so many lives!).

But, strangely, businesses are in full retreat from the Senate bill. Not only are they running away, but at the same time, they have taken a hard nose active stance against the Senate bill. That’s right. Businesses–the entire healthcare industry–doctors, nurses, hospitals, providers, and the insurers–have come out against the healthcare bill. In recent political history, this breach has never happened before. This chasm occurs because the Senate in its blind frenzy has lost sight of of business’ interests–having long ago vanquished the public’s interest. Carving fake protections by creating phony pass-thrus, underfunded to the states, their efforts to preserve their redistributive tax cuts for the rich have given the poor and working families new allies in the fight for fair coverage.

In March, early in the fight, the American Nurses Association expressed its opposition to the House bill, writing to House committee chairs:  “the bill changes Medicaid to a per capita cap funding model, eliminates the Prevention and Public Health Fund, restricts millions of women from access to critical health services, and repeals income based subsidies that millions of people rely on. These changes in no way will improve care for the American people.”

The nurses association also faulted the House on its absence of debate and transparency: ” Any legislation that would fundamentally alter health-care delivery and deeply impact patients and providers deserves thoughtful, deliberate and transparent consideration.”

Insurers Join The Ranks Of The Opposed:  The Republican Plan Is “Unworkable”

Now at the center of the fight against the Senate bill are the insurers themselves.

Two insurance trade groups issued a rare joint statement, calling the Senate bill and its Cruz provision “unworkable in any form.” Further, the groups assert the bill would make premiums “skyrocket.” This from folk who sell health insurance–bellwethers of free enterprise—they say the bill is “unworkable.” Costs would “skyrocket.” And of the Cruz provision, his duplicitous fix, they wrote: “this provision will lead to far fewer, if any, coverage options for consumers who purchase their plan in the individual market. As a result, millions of more individuals will become uninsured.”

Assume that the health insurance industry is not run by partisan Democrats or liberal CEOs; think they are after profits—know they would not oppose a bill that benefited their bottom line and balance sheets. When business rejects the bill, then Congress is legislating national suicide—charging for the privilege and funding a giant political sham.

The Republican answer refuses to acknowledge its critics—they ignore your doctor and insurer—they ignore you whose life they put at risk. Cornered, Republicans attack institutions with lies and half truths (easily explained!) rather than facts.

The politicians stand alone in their scam to deflect the gross damage to families and communities by using states to shield the tax cuts for the rich. Normally in league with lobbyists, the Senate bill breaks ranks with every sector of the healthcare business except big pharma.

Asked if the bill has any positives, the AMA president, a Missouri family physician with a rural practice, said: “does it improve coverage? No. Does it improve affordability? No. Does it stabilize the safety net, Medicaid? No.”

Businesses–insurers, doctors, nurses, hospitals, providers–are saying, “No!”  The unity of opposition is unique in our power-driven economy of wealth. Shouldn’t we believe our doctors? Our insurers? Our nurses? To the Senate’s bill, they say, “No!” Shouldn’t we join them with our voices–and our votes–too?


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