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Tribune Editorial: House health care bill enough to make one sick

First Published      Last Updated May 22 2017 03:28 pm

You may be among those who was sickened by the sight of a grinning Jason Chaffetz wheeling into the House Chamber on Thursday, where he gleefully voted to rip the kind of health insurance that paid for his recent foot surgery away from millions of other Americans.

If so, whatever you do, don't tell anybody. Because if that understandable illness is recorded anywhere, it might be considered the kind of pre-existing condition that insurers will now be able to use to jack up your health insurance premiums astronomically or refuse to sell you a policy of any kind at any price.




All that suffering might prove to be pointless, though, if the House Republicans' vote to finally repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act hits what will be, with any luck, the brick wall of the U.S. Senate.

There, with even Republicans making nonsupportive noises about the bill and Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch trying to lower expectations of quick action, a new version of health care reform might rise. One that could hardly be any worse than the abomination the House approved.

Chaffetz and the other three members of the Utah delegation — Republicans Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love — justified their votes by trying to sell the new bill as a vast, small government improvement to Obamacare.

But that's only true if your idea of "improvement" is to take our existing overly complex system that barely meets First World standards and replace it with a totally unacceptable plan that leaves millions without insurance, cuts billions from Medicaid, frees states to set rules that favor insurance companies over customers and quite literally see to it that low-income, and even not-so-low-income, Americans get sick, stay sick, go bankrupt and die.

All for one purpose, and one purpose only. To offset the cost of billions of dollars worth of tax cuts for the rich. Anything they tell you to the contrary is false.

Even if the bill runs into its much-deserved Death Panel in the Senate, the whole experience speaks poorly of Republican leadership across the board.

It took three months for a government controlled by Republicans to come up even with this horror of a bill. A bill that didn't do the things the White House supposedly demanded of it, such as really cover pre-existing conditions and raise standards and lower costs for everyone.

What does that say about the ability of the president, the Senate and the House to now take on, and really solve, such issues as tax reform, immigration, trade, entitlements and government reform (aka, the swamp)?

The prognosis is poor.

 

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