5/12/2017

To the Editor:

 

While some members of Congress celebrate their ‘victory’ in passing the American Health Care Act, many of their constituents are wondering how the millions of Americans who will no longer have health insurance will cope, should this bill become law. Some will die, and that will be the responsibility of those in Congress who voted for this cruel bill.

 

Before the vote, there was not a single hearing on the bill. The Congressional Budget Office had not completed the analysis of its cost and effects. It was opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Hospital Association, among others. I wonder how many members of the House actually read the text of the bill.

 

The AHCA cuts Medicaid by $880 billion over ten years, reducing coverage for our most vulnerable citizens. It allows yearly and lifetime caps on coverage. It permits states to waive a requirement to charge people the same rate regardless of medical history. Do you have a pre-existing condition? Good luck - you’ll need it. That, and lots of money to cover the exorbitant cost of premiums, and high deductibles. And, for veterans, PTSD will be considered a pre-existing condition.

 

The money ‘saved’ by this draconian bill will provide tax cuts for families with annual incomes of $250,000 and more.

 

It is now up to the Senate to come up with a reasonable, affordable, and humanitarian version of healthcare for all. The way forward is to craft a single-payer healthcare bill that everyone not only has access to, but can also afford. Use Medicare as a template: eliminate the ‘middle man’ (insurance companies), keep administrative costs low, and allow negotiated drug pricing.

 

I believe that members of Congress and the President should have the same healthcare benefits as their least affluent constituents - those who help pay their salaries. I am very disappointed that our Representative, Andy Harris, put party before people and voted for the AHCA. He is up for re-election in 2018.

 

Susan J Shumaker

Warwick MD

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