EDITORIAL: Trumpcare 1.2 — the political cure for Obamacare is toxic medicine for America


Republican victory speeches after a barely successful health care vote in the House this week were grandiose, but what President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders said was actually delusional, deceptive or  outright lies.

Like most of America, we were desperately hoping Congress would offer something that did what Obamacare isn’t doing: making health care accessible and affordable. Trumpcare does neither. It makes the problem much worse and more dangerous.

Republicans do not have a good answer to America’s health-care crisis. Trumpcare version 1.2 — the American Health Care Act — is undoubtedly worse for all Americans than the seriously flawed Obamacare.  For those who are older than 50 or have pre-existing conditions — such as surviving breast cancer or who’ve been diagnosed with depression, diabetes, asthma, menstrual problems, obesity or sleep apnea — Trumpcare is a financial and medical calamity. For millions of Americans not extremely poor or extremely rich, it could be a virtual death sentence.

That’s the staunch opinion of the American Medical Association, AARP, American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians, National Nurses United, National Physicians Alliance, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and more. Even insurance companies, such as Blue Cross, are voicing their opposition to Trumpcare, saying the hardest hit will be those who need medical care the most.

A coalition of six strategic physician groups summed it up best this week: “We believe that (Trumpcare 1.2) would dramatically increase costs for older individuals, result in millions of people losing their healthcare coverage, and return to a system that allows for discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.”

Trumpcare, as Republicans passed it, would be economically catastrophic to businesses, states, the federal government and, most importantly, almost every person in America — except the rich ones.

In an astonishing act of cruelty, House Republicans voted for a plan that not only threatens access to health care for hundreds of millions of older and sicker Americans, but it does so in part by providing massive tax breaks to the country’s richest citizens.

In an equally disturbing act of cynicism, many Republicans, fending off criticism they faced from their own conservative constituents, said they simply voted for Trumpcare hopeful that growing reasons why it is much worse than Obamacare would get fixed in the Senate.

In fact, while an earlier version of this bill made it clear after a non-partisan congressional analysis that 14 million Americans would lose health insurance almost immediately and premiums would soar for older Americans, Republicans didn’t even wait for the fiscal analysis of Trumpcare 1.2. It’s likely even worse.

Nervous Republicans fearing huge voter backlash from older and sicker Americans point to a last-minute patch to Trumpcare 1.2 creating an $8 billion fund to help states create high-risk pools for people with asthma and other pre-existing conditions.

“A pittance,” is what Robert Graboyes, a senior research fellow at the conservative Mercatus Center, dubbed the $8 billion addition. The disasters created by states that previously tried these failed high-risk pools are part of what led to creating Obamacare.

Aurora Republican Congressman Mike Coffman wisely voted no on the measure.

Trumpcare cannot solve America’s health-care problems any more than Obamacare could. Just this year, America passed a tipping point of spending more than $10,000 per person on health care in the United States. It’s not just more than any other country, it’s much, much more.

Even though a variety of analyses consistently show that profits for insurance companies, hospitals and provider groups have continued to decline since the implementation of Obamacare, prices have continued to soar.

This financial shell game logically cannot work. It shifts even higher costs to already struggling groups of Americans, and it creates huge new expenses for states trying to bail out sicker residents. In states where obesity, diabetes and lower wages are big problems, such as across the South, Trumpcare seeds a catastrophe.

This disaster now moves to the Senate, where GOP leaders also have shown they don’t have a clue of what to do to reduce costs and improve access to health care for Americans. Meanwhile the political pressure to adopt something, regardless of the consequences, continues to build.

Obamacare, as it stands, is not the answer. It’s highly unlikely that it can be modified to become a good solution in the long run, but it can at least be changed in ways to make it work better than it does to deliver health care to America.

The partisan politics in Washington are too toxic to handle the job in Congress. A non-partisan group of experts should determine how to improve Obamacare and then what should come after it.

Tell Colorado senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner that while other issues may be negotiable, life-threatening health-care proposals are not. A vote for this legislative calamity is a career ender. If Trumpcare is approved by this Washington, Coloradans will join the rest of the nation in assembling a Congress in 2018 that will correct the problem.