We are gathered here today to mourn the death of the American Health Care Act, better known as the Orgiastic Attempt To Buttf*ck The American People. It died as it lived - a tawdry bill full of bad choices, ill decision making, basically political revenge sex against the man whose name they cannot utter without shuddering. The Republican created AHCA finally made its morning after walk of shame. And as it staggered down the House halls, ill conceived and unsupported, it slipped in the puddle of spin cycle bullshit, breaking its neck and dying.
In lieu of flowers, the President and his cadre of uncaring minions now request we all eat shit and die with it...
Let us now open our hymnals and sing Highway To Hell(thcare)...
Yes, once again sanity has overruled the pathological need of the GOP to ruin everything President Obama ever touched. After spending YEARS and YEARS filling their Depends over the Affordable Care Act, YEARS and YEARS of votes they could not win to repeal it, YEARS and YEARS of promising something markedly better - they were shown again to be what they are: sullen teenagers with no ideas, just a lot of toddler foot stomping. A party filled with self serving legislators whose main goal in office is to stay in office. The people, their constituents, are incidental, a means to an end. Voters are simply the backs they climb upon to get to their positions of suckling at the power teat.
So, fine - they got the White House, they have the House, they have the Senate. What else do they have? Well, zero ideas to build on the Affordable Care Act, that's for sure. You would think that for all the grandstanding, all the angst, the attempts, the YEARS - they would have had something. Anything.
They had nothing. Not an idea. Not a proposal. Bupkis. In a rare moment of honesty, Republican lawmaker Joe Barton likened their efforts to Fantasy Football. They can talk a big game, but they have no game. This truly was the moment when it was proven that all their repeal attempts through the years have not been about the people. If it had been about the people, they would have had something well crafted and ready to implement. Those repeal efforts have only ever been about giving President Obama the middle finger. This bill was the equivalent of a book report written the morning it was due, having never even opened the book.
Empty suits with empty promises. Just like their new boss, a man who rambled repeatedly in the campaign that there would be "insurance for everybody!" He crowed that “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”
“I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” Trump had also recently promised that the repeal will end with “a beautiful picture.”
So imagine the surprise when he and his coven began to hastily cobble together a bill that would throw an estimated 24-26 million people off their insurance. When the CBO stated that the bill would cut Medicaid by $880 billion. BILLION with a B. And that beautiful picture? It began to take shape as a carnage filled mural of pain, anger, and certain death.
Look, I am certainly not arguing that the current Affordable Care Act is perfection. Far from it. But it enabled millions and millions of people to obtain and afford insurance coverage. My best friend is alive because her pre-existing condition could not be held against her and she was able to have two brain surgeries. My children are secure in knowing they are covered till age 26 as they each move into the world trying to get fully launched as independent adults. My dear friend with a child fighting cancer does not face inevitable financial ruin as the ACA prohibits a lifetime cap. Insurance can not be higher based on gender. And the one that the insurance companies truly hate: Insurers are required to spend at least 80% of premiums on medical costs or pay rebates back to consumers.
That last one is the kicker because that last one takes on a truly heinous disease: GREED.
In an industry where top execs pull in salaries and bonuses that rival those on Wall Street, they did not like that one a whole awful lot. You see, insurance is a business. And as much as we feeling souls view healthcare as a moral, societal obligation - there simply is no room for philanthropy on a Blue Cross Blue Shield spreadsheet. There are actuarial tables, lots of percentages forecast, and of course, a bottom line detailing their profits.
That's fine. I get it. Business is business, but this business is run like a cartel. We are all supposed to do our part and enrich the cartel, but the moment we speak up and request some back, we become a target and El Chapo wants us dead.
I also get that having to pay for something you don't use regularly can chafe. Take car insurance. In 28 years with State Farm we have had one claim. ONE. When I hit a deer - let me rephrase that - when a deer hit me. I was not out cruising for venison. We have poured over a hundred thousand dollars into the system through the years, drawing on it once to the tune of roughly $6,000 in repairs.
AND THAT'S FINE.
Like our medical insurance - we are lucky to be a healthy family. We avail ourselves of standard visits for preventative care, and have had the odd medical anomaly of a broken ankle here, dehydration there, three pregnancies and deliveries. Biggest use of our insurance has been when our oldest daughter became a medical curiosity through a year of testing and attempted treatments for a malady that was never diagnosed beyond the word "idiopathic" - med speak for "We dunno."
We have paid into that system for decades, and the asked for return on our investment has been small in comparison to those with traumas, cancers, tumors.
AND THAT'S FINE.
This argument we have seen the past couple weeks from citizens and even legislators that, "Why should I pay for someone else's birth control/pregnancy/cancer?" shows just how little people actually understand the whole concept of insurance. And the fact that those writing this failed bill did not have even a basic understanding should more than trouble ALL constituents.
Insurance is based on a pool. A risk pool. Our monies go into it. And those that pay in may avail themselves of a "withdrawal" when medical crisis emerge. Hell, it doesn't even have to be a crisis. When you get a chest cold and head to the urgent care, the cost of your visit and treatment far exceeds that $20/$30/$50 copay you give them. The rest is submitted to your insurance to be paid from that pool.
Just like the car insurance risk pool paid to have deer fur removed from my car's grill, which sat two feet back from its original location. (Deer are not to be trifled with.)
As the vote on the GOP's Obama spite bill drew near, the outcry and backlash from this country's citizenry, yes, even from some Trump voters who realized what a sack of garbage it was, was thunderous. Not a single Democrat wanted a thing to do with it. And even some Republican lawmakers had either a moment of conscience, or worry about their re-election bids, to state they would not vote in favor of it.
Today, doing what he does best - Trump picked up the phone and called Robert Costa at the Washington Post to begin the spin. "So, we just pulled it."
Before Costa could ask a question, Trump began to spin in earnest, placing the blame squarely at the feet of Democrats, incredulous that “We couldn’t get one Democratic vote." Boy howdy, Donald, why that's, that's unheard of!
Oh, wait, no its not. The Affordable Care Act got not a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.
He went on, “The beauty is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes, they come to us, and we make one beautiful deal for the people."
Damn, that's rough. Having to own defending something that will protect those 24-26 million people who would have gotten screwed by your hastily scribbled hate mail to President Obama. In terms of what happened today, our faith in our voices actually being heard and mattering began a tiny recovery, moving off the critical list. To quote author and life coach Cheryl Richardson, "People start to heal the moment they feel heard."
So, President Trump, you want to make something "beautiful for the people"? GREAT. Get working on it. Not with crayons and construction paper and seething hatred towards the black man who dared to be President. Do it with research, experts, your conscience, some morals. Stand up to the insurance execs that live in the halls of Congress, slithering around like vipers. Stand up to the pharmaceutical lobby which does the same.
Put the citizenry first. Put love of country far ahead of love of money and enhancement of ego. And for fuck's sake, stop making every breath your side takes about ruining everything associated with President Obama.
Have better ideas? Wonderful! Present them and you will be surprised at the support you will get from all sides. Do something revolutionary like single payer and see how people like me stand with you.
But right now you have gotten what you deserve. Another stinging rebuke. Another bravado laden bill whose plug got pulled.
Spin it any way you like, Trump, but the truth is there for all to see. You put forth a bill with terminal ass cancer and no insurance to cover it.
Will the congregation turn to Ezekiel 34 as we read a very special passage for the deceased's father, Donald Trump...
Yea, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of Congress, we will fear no evil: for thou art of the deal is known to us; thy Tweets and thy staff they amuse us.
Thou preparest a table before us in the presence of thy members at Mar-a-Lago: thou anointest thy golf clubs; thy cup runneth over with Trump Vineyard, immigrant made wine.
Surely treason and conspiracy shall follow you all the days of your life: and you will dwell in the bighouse for ever. Amen.