Over 4th, GOP senators seek independence from their health care jam

Donald_Trump-1-225x300Republicans in the U.S. Senate will spend a long Fourth of July break trying to figure if they can repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with their Better Care Reconciliation Act, aka Trumpcare. Their bill, drafted in large part by just 13 GOP senators, some of the most conservative in the Senate, failed to win sufficient support so Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even could get it up for a vote before the holiday recess.

Lots of negotiations are under way.

In case you missed it, the Congressional Budget Office provided its independent analyses, scoring the cost and effects of the bill. The CBO estimated it would save the nation $321 billion in health-related expenditures in the next decade but would strip 22 million Americans of coverage, slightly fewer than would lose health insurance under the House-approved Trumpcare.

The Senate bill savages Medicaid, with Democratic senators asking CBO to project further out in time than Republicans first did, finding Trumpcare would slash federal outlays for the health program for the poor, chronically ill, disabled, the old, and children by fully more than a third of what the nation spends now.

Public support for either the House or the Senate GOP versions of Trumpcare has plummeted, polling in the teens, at best.

Republicans, desperate to make good on a seven-year vow to get rid of the Obamacare that they  detest, have blown up more legislative trial balloons to advance Trumpcare than clowns do at a kid’s birthday party.

President Trump even resurrected the discarded idea that Republicans could just repeal Obamacare and figure its replacement, later. That would, of course, increase deficits, throw some tens of millions of Americans off health coverage immediately, and create chaos of unintended consequence in insurance markets.

Just to remind on a few points, though:

In my practice, I see not only the harms that patients suffer while seeking medical services but also the struggles so many Americans go through to get safe, sound medical care at all. Obamacare is imperfect. There are big areas where thoughtful, careful, bipartisan legislating could improve Americans’ health and well-being.

But, so far, the GOP has all but written a textbook on bad lawmaking, done in haste and secrecy, without expert consultation, and contravening evidence. The GOP-controlled House has, as expected, advanced a wrong-headed measure that strips patients of their rights to seek legal remedies when they are harmed by medical service providers. That measure also imposes harsh caps on what juries can order wrong-doers to pay injured patients and their families, sums that harmed patients may need to live on for a lifetime. Lawmakers have ignored research and independent expertise who have decried as unneeded and unwarranted the GOP actions on medical lawsuits.

Failing to listen to experts, and most importantly, to one’s own voters may hurt, at some point, job security for elected officials.

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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