Where is the Democrats' Alternative Healthcare Bill, the So-Called 'Fix' for the ACA?
The healthcare bill presented by the Republicans, AHCP, is a monstrosity. The facts in this article by the AARP should be enough to make it DOA:
How can a 64-year-old making $26,500 a year afford to have his health care premiums jump from $1,700 to $14,600 a year (a whopping 758 percent increase)? He can’t.
Yeah, paying more than half your gross income for premiums seems like a bit of a stretch, no?
So shooting down this bill should be the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel for the Democrats. Yes, I have heard them pontificate about the lack of heart, common decency, compassion, and morality that permeates this sickening piece of legislation, but what I haven't heard is what they would propose as an alternative.
Let me help them out:
1. Start with re-instating the 4 key pieces of the healthcare plan that President Obama won the Presidency with before the bait and switch of the ACA:
*Provide a public option to install a true competitive check on the for-profit murder by spreadsheet insurance bean counters who would gladly invoke rescission on a breast cancer victim for an unreported bunion 20 years earlier if they thought they could still get away with it. All that mispent cancer treatment money could be going into the pockets of the executive top tier. It gives them a sad to actually spend premium money on its putative purpose, actual healthcare.
*Negotiate prices in Medicare The fact that we don't negotiate prices in a publicly run and funded healthcare program as always been prima facie evidence to me of blatant corruption and lack of fiduciary responsibility by our legislators. Why wouldn't any ethical and responsible legislator see this as one of their duties as a steward of public dollars?
* Allow re-importation of drugs from Canada at least until we can get a handle on the outrageous pharmaceutical costs in our own country. And no, Cory Booker, no Canadians are dropping dead in the streets from their prescriptions, so you're protecting us from an issue that doesn't exist when you vote against initiatives like this.
*Fast track generics This brings up the general failure of the ACA to address the issue of spiraling drug prices at all period and not just in Medicare. The pols basically abrogated their regulation authority as a result of bowing to the strong arming of the industry and in return for some financial supports that would have been dwarfed over the long-term by some actual price controls in the ACA. SeeThe one that got away: Obamacare and the drug industry Not to say that generics themselves are a catch-all panacea, because generics are just as susceptible to market manipulation and price gouging as brand name drugs under patent. See: Generic Drug and Brand Name Drug Prices Increase
2. Forget #1. Get in line with the rest of the world, call healthcare a right and provide the most efficient and effective method of delivery - a universal single payer healthcare system for all Americans.
Do I expect Democrats to follow my advice and build a consensus for a specific and better game plan than that being offered by the Republicans? Um, no, not really. They're too busy having workshops trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for since they now realize that lack of such self knowledge creates "poor messaging" and lost elections.
Unlike Bernie, they haven't realized that it's actually easier to win elections by providing legislative initiatives whose innate benefits speak for themselves.