Trump’s pick for HHS is deeply disturbing. Tom Price is a hardcore, right-wing, Tea Party founder who also happens to be a doctor, which is incredible given his war on universal healthcare and willingness to let countless Americans die for lack of coverage. Under his odious plan, which Obama vetoed but Trump could easily sign into law, the Affordable Care Act would not be strengthened, but shredded, and replaced with a regressive, reverse Robin Hood scheme that steals from the sick and the poor to feed the rich.
For starters, it replaces Obama Care’s income based tax credits (subsidies that don’t go far enough as it is) with even more miserly, fixed reimbursements that crush the middle and working class. Price’s plan also creates health “savings” accounts, which only work if people earn enough to save, and repeals Medicaid expansion in 31 states currently providing life-saving health care for the working poor. This expansion was intended to cover all fifty states, but nineteen craven, immoral Republican governors and/or legislatures refused to expand the program to spite Obama, thus sabotaging the Exchange by reducing the flow of federal dollars into the system, driving prices higher, and forcing insurers to abandon it. This obstruction also killed, sickened or indebted MILLIONS of low-wage earners who needed the expansion to qualify for Medicaid.
Now, even though the federal government would’ve paid for 90% of the expansion — FOREVER — Price and his Party of No will not only try to strip Medicaid expansion from ALL 50 states , but add work requirements and co-pays for regular Medicaid recipients. What happens if these chronically under-paid, under-employed, under-educated citizens can’t find work or make their payments? The GOP will either kick them off Medicaid, or these people won’t seek care when they get sick. Then, they’ll run to the ER with the millions of other citizens kicked off Obama Care, driving prices ever higher for the dwindling numbers who can even afford insurance in Trump’s new banana republic.
What else is at stake?
Preexisting conditions will kick in again for those between jobs who can’t afford healthcare, contraception subsidies will be dropped – jeopardizing women’s health – and mandatory coverage for preventative procedures like physicals, mammograms and colonoscopies will be abandoned, making people sicker, also leading to expensive premiums only the elite can afford. Lifetime caps will be back on the table (punishing the sick for being sick) and Medicare will be “privatized”, which, in Republican-speak, means fixed vouchers that will NEVER cover costs for taxpayers expecting (and deserving) full coverage when they retire, after making LIFETIME payments into a system based on that expectation. If that’s not the ultimate rip off of American workers, what is? To add insult to injury, the super-sick will be thrown into high-risk pools with pricey premiums most of them won’t be able to afford.
What does all this add up to?
More money out of your pocket, and yes, that especially goes for the all the poor, marginalized, working class folks who voted for Trump. How will you feel when your boss drops your health plan because she won’t have to provide it anymore? Yes, Price wants to gut this safety-net too, so ponder that Trump vote on your next ER visit while the rest of us pay your bill. You’ll have plenty of time to think, because millions of fellow citizens will be standing in the same line.
KNOW THIS: Price, the President, and the GOP have absolutely ZERO interest in reducing healthcare costs as they boot sick, poor, working and middle class people off the rolls through a policy of greed and attrition. In fact, their “free”-market plan crushes the cost curve. It pushes prices UP, increasing profits for insurance companies, Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers, private hospitals, and for-profit providers, while covering LESS medical expenses for consumers, all of which equals exponentially ESCALATING out-of-pocket payments for those lucky enough to afford, or even USE a plan without going into DEBT. Hmmmm . . . . how will that health savings account work when you’re in debt?
Believe it or not, despite all of its neo-liberal weaknesses, Obama Care is actually SLOWING the RATE of rising healthcare industry costs, primarily due to Medicare reforms that place PERFORMANCE over PROFITS. Translation: Medicare pays docs and hospitals more if their patients get well, and less if they just throw costly diagnostic procedures at their patients to make money (Price wants to chuck this policy too).
In short, Price’s unholy plan creates a self fulfilling prophecy of increased industry profits, under-insured and non-insured citizens, and decreased government assistance that can never be made up with middle class tax cuts. This is why Bernie Sanders supports slightly higher middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, which not only simplifies a disgustingly complex health care system, but puts more money back in our pockets, and makes us healthier, happier and more productive, all of which is great for the economy.
Call to Action
Trump has appointed an extremist to govern HSS with every intention of DECIMATING Obama Care, Medicare and Medicaid so Trump can pay for tax cuts for the super-rich. In other words, a billionaire will STEAL your right to affordable healthcare, just to make the rich richer, if Tom Price has his way.
Working Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Independents: You must fight this appointment with all your heart and soul. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Tom Price’s eventual outrageous plan. Use social media, Tweet your thoughts on this injustice, and tell your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. Join Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution to sign up to fight for Medicare for All, which a majority of Americans want. Do all this NOW, before his bill starts to worm its way through Congress. Send a CLEAR message that Tom’s bill will be too high a “PRICE” to pay.
Your pocket under Tom’s “Pricey” plan.