By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green Congressman Bob Latta said the nation needs rescuing from the “disaster that is Obamacare.” So on Thursday he became one of the 217 Republicans who voted to push out the Affordable Care Act to replace it with the American Health Care Act.
The vote was followed by cheers from Republican members of Congress who had promised for seven years that they would get rid of the ACA.
“It’s very evident that Obamacare is failing the American people, and its problems continue to grow,” Latta posted on his website. “The promises of Obamacare have been thoroughly broken, and the problems it has foisted on hardworking families can’t be ignored.”
“Constituents in my district have told me about skyrocketing premiums, difficultly using their insurance, and the lack of choices they face thanks to Obamacare,” Latta stated.
But many constituents in Wood County were left wondering Thursday if Latta listened at all to their concerns. Those citizens, who support the ACA, peacefully protested each week outside the congressman’s Bowling Green office. They wrote countless letters and made countless phone calls.
The local citizens pleaded to be heard. They begged for a chance to meet with Latta. But on Thursday, he voted without a single town hall meeting on the health care issue. Some constituents did receive letters back from Latta – but they were identical form letters mailed out months after the local residents sent letters voicing their concerns.
“In his bogus form letter that many of you received, he wrote that premiums would go down 10 percent under the new plan and that he would ensure that people with pre-existing conditions would continue to get coverage,” Bowling Green citizen Meghan Wilson wrote after many local citizens received the exact same letters from Latta.
“What he didn’t say is that he would vote on a bill that includes high-risk pools, which will cause premiums to skyrocket for people with pre-existing conditions. There is no end to how disastrous this plan is,” Wilson said.
One Bowling Green resident voiced her anger on Facebook after Thursday’s vote.
“Thanks GOP. Every person that lives in my house has a pre-existing condition. Glad you’re looking out for us,” she wrote.
Twenty congressional Republicans voted against repealing the ACA, because they felt it wasn’t in their constituents’ best interests.
But Latta’s statement about the GOP plan painted a different picture.
“The AHCA keeps in place protections for pre-existing conditions while giving states more flexibility to improve their health care marketplaces and bring down the cost of insurance. At the same time, the bill repeals Obamacare’s burdensome mandates and costly taxes that hurt Ohio families and small businesses, and it establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund that will provide funding to states so they can implement policies that work best for their citizens. The legislation also makes needed reforms to the Medicaid program while ensuring a stable transition during the implementation of the AHCA,” Latta stated. “Our health care system desperately needs rescuing from the disaster that is Obamacare, and that’s why I voted to pass the American Health Care Act and provide much needed relief for Ohioans.”
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown views the American Health Care Act differently. On Thursday, he published lists of pre-existing conditions that are likely to cost people a lot more under the GOP plan. The alphabetized list starts will Alzheimer’s, aneurysms, autism and arthritis, and goes on and on.
According to the New York Times, the winners under the Republican health care plan are:
- High income earners. The bill eliminates two taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000.
- Upper and middle class people without pre-existing health conditions.
- Young, middle class people without pre-existing health conditions.
- People who wish to go without insurance.
- People who want less comprehensive health coverage.
- Large employers, since the bill eliminates Obamacare’s employer mandate which required large employers to offer affordable coverage to their workers. Under the GOP plan, companies will face no penalty if they drop insurance for employees.
- Medical device companies, indoor tanning companies and a few other medical industries.
The losers under the GOP plan include:
- Poor people. Many states would be expected to roll back their expansions of the Medicaid program. The bill would greatly reduce subsidies available for Americans just over the poverty line, the group that benefited most from Obamacare subsidies. Poor Americans are much more likely to become uninsured under the bill, and those who retained coverage would pay much more of their limited incomes on premiums and deductibles.
- Older Americans. The same factors that benefit younger Americans, hurt those who are older. Insurance companies could charge a senior citizen five times the price charged to a young adult.
- People with pre-existing health conditions. The bill allows states to waive rules on minimum benefit standards and rules that prohibit insurance companies from charging higher prices to customers with a history of illness.
- People with mental health and drug addiction problems.
- State governments, since the bill cuts back substantially on federal funding for state Medicaid programs.
- Hospitals, since an estimated 24 million fewer people will have health insurance in a decade. Those people will still have medical emergencies and require hospital care.
- Planned Parenthood.