“The Affordable Care Act”: Isn’t Change Supposed To Make Things Better For Everyone? Not Necessarily, Just Follow the Money

In a civil society, change is often viewed as an opportunity to make things better. It is a chance for self-improvement, is open and transparent and is inclusive. This however does not appear to be the intent of the Trump administration or the republican controlled Congress. This brings us to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since President Obama signed this bill into law on March 23, 2010, there have been a minimum of 60 attempts by republicans to repeal it. Had the law not been signed by President Obama, or had been signed by a republican president, rest assured, it would have been accepted by those on both sides of the aisle without the multiple partisan challenges that we have had to endure over the last several years.

Now let’s fast forward to today. We have a President Trump and essentially the same repeal and replace republican majority Congress. They are counting on the alternative fact that the people are not really onto what their actual intents are, their real reasons for wanting to dismantle the ACA. The underlying intent is a continuation of long held conservative economic policy, cutting taxes for the rich. Oh yes, they proclaim that they are concerned about the health and welfare of you and your family, but do not be fooled and sucked into this vacuous and cowardly view. Their goals and intents are much more devious.

These same republicans want you to believe in their alternative facts about the ACA, that it has been an utter failure, that it has not provided health insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans, that it has not lowered the uninsured rate from 16% pre-ACA to an all-time low of 9.1%. They are hesitant to overtly acknowledge that much of the revenue for funding of the ACA comes from some very rich people. Them! They are acutely aware of this fact, but do not want you to think they are opposed to the ACA or that their opposition is based on their own self- interest and their self-preservation and ability to continue to line their own pockets. For them, greed is what makes the world go around. They could care less about you.

The concept of repeal and not replace for them has two implications. The first of these is deliberately throwing millions of people out in the cold with no health coverage. The second and most important to them is big tax cuts, again for the wealthiest people in the country. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 400 of the richest people in America whose average income is greater than $300 million per year would each receive on average, in the parlance of the greedy, a $7 million “kickback” from the ending of two taxes in the current law; the 3.8% unearned income Medicare tax and the 0.9% Hospital Insurance tax. The basis for these taxes is individuals with incomes greater than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 per year.

This means that the 160 million people who live in households with incomes below these levels will receive no tax benefits from the repeal of these taxes. This is the reward that republicans are giving all of those everyday working class voters who either willfully or unwittingly voted for them. Not only are they going to take away your health insurance, they’re going to give the savings to their millionaire and billionaire kindred’s. Don’t expect to see this tax in any replacement plan that they come up with, if they come up with a plan at all. So, thank you for your vote!

It is clear that after 6 long years of attempting to kill the ACA, republicans have only themselves, their corporate lobbyists and their moneyed supporters in mind. President Trump, along with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price want you to believe that they will repeal and replace the ACA with “something terrific”. That translates into high deductible plans, health savings accounts, block grants for Medicaid and “Premium Support” vouchers for Medicare recipients. These plans will only shift those costs to everyday regular people while millionaires and billionaires laugh all the way to the bank.

So if you believe the republican plan of repeal with no replacement of the ACA is in your best interest, think again. Repeal to republicans is about greed and superiority. There is nothing noble about being superior to another person. The true nobility is in being superior to one’s previous self, especially if you have been living in an alternative universe and now relying on alternative facts.

By His Deeds: Donald Trump Is Flying On A Wing And A Prayer

Based on the undeniable fact that our universe is only knowledgeable through the human minds ability to perceive reality, I’m afraid we may be in trouble. Our national government, in just a few short weeks, will be in the hands of unconscious agents who are creating reality in their own image. Our future is heading for a dead end. We are being inundated and surrounded by dark energy based on the irrational and random acts of the selective unconsciousness of a President-Elect who is “winging” it at every opportunity.

With the nomination of Jeff Sessions as U. S. Attorney General and Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, I thought we had stabilized at DEFCON 3. Now we learn that Donald Trump has nominated Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a former orthopedic surgeon as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He also announced that Seema Verma, a founder of a health policy consulting company, will be in charge of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees government health programs for the poor and elderly and health insurance standards. To add insult to injury, Dr. Ben Carson, yes that Ben Carson, has been selected to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ideologically, as a Congressman, Dr. Price has been one of the most fierce opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), supports plans to slash Medicare and Medicaid, is against a woman’s right to choose and backed legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. In 2015, he introduced legislation that would essentially destroy the ACA which is a pretty good indication of his philosophy. His bill would also roll back Medicaid Expansion that already exists in 31 states and the District of Columbia, would cut federal subsidies, convert Medicaid to block grants and turn Medicare into a voucher program with his “premium support” concept. On the issue of pre-existing conditions, his bill would offer protection only to those who maintained continuous health coverage with any insurer for the previous 18 months. So if someone did not have coverage for a month or were between jobs, insurers would not be required to sell an affordable plan to those who fall into this category. Tom Price is a danger to your health!

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a known racist who would be responsible for ensuring civil rights and equal justice for all Americans, a billionaire activist who has zero experience in education to ensure that our children are properly educated, two physicians one of whom has made it perfectly clear that he intends to gut the Affordable Care Act leaving millions without health care and end Medicare and Medicaid, and the other who believes the pyramids were built to store grain and has no idea of how the government works.

Now Trump has named Rex Tillerson as his nominee for Secretary of State, another in a series of many nominees with no governmental experience, unless you are not willing to exclude his active campaign opposing U. S. sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. I suppose his Russian Order of Friendship Award in 2013 could be considered a governmental job well done…..for the Russian Government.

And the beat goes on. We have Mike Pompeo as the nominee for CIA Director, a tea party true believer; Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a climate change denier and an existential threat to the planet; Mike Flynn, nominee as the next National Security Adviser, a man who borders on being demented, is a picture of paranoia and an avowed conspiracy theorist, and Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist, a troubled man who has difficulty walking upright and being awake or even aware of his surroundings. Bannon lives in an “alt-right” parallel universe where blacks only commit crimes and immigrants rape native born daughters.

I for one am not encouraged about the future of our country or that of my fellow citizens. Despite these outrageous nominations and appointments, there still remains the potential for things to get worse. We have yet to learn exactly what business or other ties Trump himself has with foreign governments, what promises he has made or even who or what foreign government is on the receiving end of those promises.

On Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald Trump will assume the role of chief executive of the United States. At noon on that day, Trump will recite the following 35 words: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” At the end of that oath, the United States of America will officially revert back to injustice, more inequality, loss of health care for the poor, the under-served and the elderly, more overt racism, bigotry and nativism, enhanced protection for the 1%, and suspension of women’s rights, voting rights and civil rights.

That day will be a dark day in America’s history. Oh, and lest we forget, our nation will revert to the edge of DEFCON 1.