The Republican controlled house of representatives finally executed their plan to take health care insurance away from Americans and in so doing initiated a death sentence for thousands of Americans. Classically in the guise of "compassionate conservatism," and so often touting family values and piety, this action paradoxically took place on the National Day of Prayer.
The Republican caucus largely made up of wealthy white old men finally succeeded in their wishes to strip healthcare from largely poor and people of color across this nation. Make no doubt about it people will die due to this action if successful. The proposed plan rushed for passage before the Congressional Budget Office has made its assessment will most likely result in the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.
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The previous Republican plan was anticipated to take care away from some 24 million Americans. This plan will take care away from millions more as states and employers will have the ability to determine what coverage will be included or excluded and remove the mandates for coverage. Studies have estimated that for every thousand people not insured, one person will die prematurely. Putting this in perspective, some 24,000 Americans would be expected to die prematurely due to last week's legislative action.
In addition, the Republicans in the House approved gutting $880 million from the federal Medicaid program which affects half of all kids in the United States. They allowed pre-existing conditions to again be considered in pricing and excluding health coverage leaving that decision up to the states. 52 million Americans have pre-existing conditions. Removed also, the mandate for essential benefit coverage such as hospitalization, emergency room coverage, maternity coverage, preventative care and prescription coverage. The determination of what will be covered and for whom is ultimately paramount to the illegal practicing of medicine without a license.
As a practicing family physician for over 36 years this action will further complicate my ability to deliver and provide the health care that my patients need and deserve. Throughout my entire practice, I have had to fight, modify, and negotiate as an advocate for my patients while watching them struggle with what they can and cannot afford resulting in significant impacts on their health outcomes.
A far more equitable and comprehensive plan is possible and the time has come for us as a nation to move in that direction. That plan is for us to move to a single payer 'Medicare for All' coverage that covers every person in this country without regard to age or state of residence. The sole pre-existing condition that must be eliminated is the continued representation of our citizens by these congressional representatives. We can no longer afford self-serving hypocrisy. The health of our nation depends upon this.