Say ‘no’ to GOP’s new health care proposal

DEAR EDITOR:

Hurry to tell your legislators to vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy version of the latest “Trumpcare” bill. Republicans are rushing to pass this newest debacle of a health care bill by Sept. 30. Before then, the Senate, which votes before the House, can pass it as a reconciliation bill with just 51 votes. After Sept. 30, it can pass with a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

This bill is bad for us average folks, which is why Republicans know they cannot get 60 senators to approve it. This bill repeals the Medicaid expansion that provides coverage for people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which equates to a full-time job paying the munificent sum of $7.69 per hour. Our legislators want to send block-grant funding back to the states. That means Congress will use the funds that currently subsidize Medicaid and ACA plans and reallocate those funds as tax cuts for the wealthiest people, and if you aren’t worth about $5 million, that won’t be you.

The states will not have enough money to make up the difference. Gov. John Kasich is against this bill. The elderly cared for in nursing homes, sick children and people seeking opioid treatment will be out of luck. You can bet our state and local taxes will rise.

The new bill also allows each state to apply for a waiver so insurances can charge higher premiums for those with a pre-existing condition.

The big medical associations — heart, lung, diabetes, ALS, doctors’ and nurses’ associations — they oppose this legislation. Call your legislators now and tell them to vote no. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

I also am recommending a No vote on Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Standards Initiative, aka the Drug Price Relief Act. Any litigation emanating from this legislation will come at a cost to the taxpayers. It also says that drug prices will be aligned with prices paid by the Veterans Administration, but it doesn’t promise whether those prices will stay low. Furthermore, it only addresses the costs of drugs paid for by the Veterans Administration, Medicare or Medicaid plans. It will not lower drug prices if you receive your health insurance through your employer, for example. Groups that oppose it include those for Ohio physicians, nurses and pharmacists, as well as the Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio osteopaths and many other organizations.

Republicans and Democrats can then work together on fixing the insurance marketplace, and they should also ask questions about why health care costs so much.

LINDA COCUZZI RICHTER

Niles

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