Labrador and Health Care…

Dear Editor,

Raul Labrador drew national attention when he said “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care coverage” — a Time Magazine quote of the week.

But another questionable quote came from Idaho’s other Congressional representative, Mike Simpson, who, while defending the GOP House-passed health care bill, proclaimed he wouldn’t have voted for it if he believed it would become law.

The bill, that faces an uncertain future in the Senate, was drafted without any input from the medical community – including the American Medical Assn., the American Nurses Assn., and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have denounced the Republican plan as an attack on the poor and the elderly, threatening 24 million Americans with losing their health care coverage.

Opponents are concerned about billions in cuts to Medicaid, in order to provide tax cuts to wealthy Americans. It would allow insurers to charge sharply- higher premiums to older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions—putting health insurance costs out of reach for many families. (Obamacare makes sure it isn’t just sick people who purchase policies. It offers subsidies to low-and middle-income people to purchase care.)

“It really comes down to a moral choice,” says Betsy Querna Cliff,  a Spokane native and doctoral student in health economics at the University of Michigan, in a guest opinion.

“Are we going to help support those who bear the burdens of medical conditions or are we going to tell them they’re on their own?”

When the Senate takes up the health care bill we can only hope our lawmakers (moderate Republicans joining Democrats) make the moral choice and keep the many good parts of Obamacare, while making further improvements.

Jim Ramsey

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