[I’m not a politician and I usually do not post anything too political, but here is what I would do if I was a congressman voting on H.R. 1628 – the American Health Care Act of 2017.]
The short version of where I stand on this healthcare bill is that I am voting “no.” The long version of why I am voting “no,” I will explain how certain aspects of this healthcare bill and the ACA before it, will be in the long run just another burdensome government project that bleeds the wallets of taxpaying citizens and denies individual states from creating comprehensive healthcare initiatives specifically geared towards their citizens. There are several aspects of AHCA and ACA that are positive, but my overall opinion is that this is predominately a wasteful use of federal government and an infringement on the people’s right to not carry health insurance.
I will start with the good portions of these healthcare initiatives. For both the AHCA and ACA, the requirement that dependents can stay on their parents plan till age 26 is valuable. Young people are trying to get ahead and anything that can help them by lessening the burden of securing their own healthcare right away assists them in that endeavor. Another aspect I like of these initiatives is that they both remove subsidies from those who seek insurance covering abortions. I have stated my position on the lives of the unborn and I would rather not have taxpayer money providing assistance to killing the innocent life of human beings through abortions. Mostly, abortions are for convenience sake and there is nothing convenient about killing an innocent unborn human being. The last thought that is positive about the AHCA is that I am pleased that they removed the tax penalty on those who live healthy productive lives and wish to not carry health insurance. The ACA imposed a tax penalty on “…nonexempt individuals for not having health insurance, as well as employers with 50 or more full-time workers who do not offer health insurance to their employees…” (Gore, Robertson, & Schipani 2017). This was an intrusion on individual rights and allowing the IRS to be the enforcer, meaning eventual imprisonment for not complying was too much government overreach.
The ACA should have never happened, at least in the form it is in, and I do not believe the AHCA does much better. First and foremost, this was not our government providing health insurance, but more so a collusion between insurance companies and politicians for the profit of the former. The government was not providing health insurance, as many politicians would say. The government was providing what would be equal to an app store to buy apps driven by profit, except that people were being forced to buy insurance or face the IRS. Ironically, now insurance companies are continually exiting the marketplace, finding it hard to maintain an existence there. They are realizing that they cannot sustain the profit losses, which is leaving a nearly empty field of insurers in some states (Luhby 2017). At some point, the ACA will collapse in its current form and I do not believe the AHCA can sustain the financial burden as well. These healthcare initiatives will eventually leave millions of people stranded without healthcare and in my opinion, will turn into increased government spending just to keep it from sinking. This is not helping people. On the contrary, this will be another burdensome government program to the American people at the taxpayers’ expense.
Do I believe affordable healthcare is good for the American people? Yes. I just do not believe that creating a marketplace driven by partisan politics while filling the wallets of politicians at the same time is the best solution for the American people. Many of the requirements for healthcare insurers could have been imposed without the government creating a system to purchase health insurance. States should have the final say in how they want insurance companies to operate in their domain. Eventually, states would find it motivational to have affordable, accessible healthcare to its citizens because it would be a competitive step for companies and U.S. citizens to move to other states based on their healthcare initiatives. This creates avenues to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to Americans without the Federal Government getting involved and creating stress for each individual state to comply.
The ACA is failing because partisan politics created a situation where a broad spectrum of thought was not considered for the bill. Having a seat at the table to discuss these types of initiatives without having an open mind is not same thing as reaching out across party platforms. And now the AHCA bill is creating the same situation, with the House dividing votes along party lines at 217-213 with 20 Republicans voting against the bill (Clerk.house.gov, 2017). We should scrap the AHCA bill altogether and work together to create a reasonable, sustainable healthcare plan where we give power to the states to construct healthcare initiatives geared towards their citizens. This is the same thought process in enticing people to move to their states as it is with taxation, education, and social programs. Healthcare will become a luring benefit to attract people, as states will compete to provide the best affordable healthcare possible. When one state excels in this area, other states will want to learn from them and follow in their footsteps. In the end, this will create checks and balances that will help affordable healthcare evolve into meaningful programs that satisfy the American people and not the politicians far removed from the needs of the American people. Join me in voting “no,” and let us say yes to something better.
Clerk.house.gov. (2017). Final Vote Results for Roll Call 256. [online] Available at: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll256.xml [Accessed 10 Jul. 2017].
Gore, D’Angelo, Lori Robertson, and Vanessa Schipani. “Q&A: The facts on the Republican health care bill.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 7 July 2017.
Luhby, Tami. “Aetna to Obamacare: We’re outta here.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 10 May 2017. Web. 9 July 2017.