A health care protest at the Washington, D.C, home of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the Republican leader in the Senate, on June 26, 2017. Photo: Ted Eytan
Health | Opinion | Politics

Steve Russell: Republican answer to Obamacare only benefits the wealthy

Republicans are promising "Better Care" for Americans with a controversial health reform bill that was drafted in secret. But Steve Russell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation isn't buying it:
This is written just after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) finally took the covers off the sleek new vehicle to repeal and replace Obamacare. Ordinary people are finally allowed to kick the tires. While the Senate was working on it, only a few Republican senators and no Democrats were allowed to peek.

Like the vehicle passed by the House, it does not repeal—let alone replace—Obamacare. Both bills simply repeal the taxes that funded Obamacare, most of which fell on well-to-do Americans. The only taxes that could have hit working class people depended on the unlikely circumstances of having a union contract so rich that the healthcare provision is subject to the “Cadillac tax” or being a habitué of tanning salons.

Having destroyed the funding base for Obamacare, both the House and Senate GOP bills “pay for” cutting taxes on the wealthy by kicking working class people off health insurance premium subsidies and kicking the poor off Medicaid.

Should one of these bills pass and be followed up by the Trump budget cuts in Medicaid, federal Medicaid dollars would be cut in half within 10 years. While Medicaid is a program aimed at the poor, the fact is that about half of all childbirths and two thirds of nursing home care in the country are paid by Medicaid. In rural America—where lots of Indians live—many hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes will not be able to keep their doors open without Medicaid reimbursements.

Read More on the Story:
Steve Russell: Would You Buy a Used Car from Mitch McConnell? (Indian Country Media Network 6/27)

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