Healthcare is 17.8 percent of the U.S. economy. The largest insurance agency in the country is the government, it covers its workers, military, plus 42% of children, 25% of adults under 65, and of course all adults over 65 and over. So, before Republicans get rid of the majority or American’s health care perhaps we ought to slow down and decide on a replacement system?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, CBO, the last effort to repealing the Affordable Care Act House bill 3762 would cause 18 million Americans to lose their health care the first year, which would rise to 27 million the next year. Everyone’s premiums would increase 20 to 25 percent the first year and up to 50 percent the next year. Republicans correctly point out that they are not trying to pass that bill, like they did a year ago, they don’t know what they will pass yet. It will probably be much larger.
This is also bad for the economy. The CBO estimated that repealing ObamaCare will increase the deficit by $137-353 billion over 10 years. One reason is because sick people without care can’t work, so they don’t pay taxes.
Here are some of the other things on Paul Ryan’s list: a repeal of Medicaid as it is. Instead states will get block grants to divvy out as they see fit. The grants will not relate to the actual costs of care. If there isn’t enough money, states would have to raise taxes or cut people from their program. Congressman Ryan wants to repeal Medicare and replace it with a health insurance exchange (which strangely enough is ObamaCare). Seniors would get a small subsidy depending on their age, not health. A healthy 80-year-old may get enough, until he gets sick, but someone 65 with a history of cancer would be in a lot of trouble.
The reason is cost. Twenty eight percent of the federal budget is health care. Of course, the government collects specific taxes, like the Medicare payroll tax, to fund it. The tax would stay, the coverage would go. Medicare, Child Health Insurance Plan and Medicaid have a promise built in them. We will give basic medical coverage to our seniors, children, and the most vulnerable. What Ryan wants to do is take away that promise. The government may help you a little, but the burden will fall on you in ever increasing amounts.
As a retired nutritionist who worked with Idaho’s Republican Senator Larry Craig on health care reform in the 1990s, I am going to explore some of the possibilities of health care reform. Maybe congress and the president should do the same.
Mary Haley RD LD