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Adapting to the Changes of Old Age

A Matter of Life and Death Or...

The cruel Graham-Cassidy repeal-and-replace the ACA healthcare bill.

Yes, life and death. Because if this bill passes thousands of Americans will die. Let me walk you through it.

If passed, Graham-Cassidy will end up killing sick Americans because it does away with the Obamacare (ACA) requirement to cover pre-existing conditions.

Republicans, including Senators Graham and Cassidy and President Trump keep saying the bill covers pre-existing conditions. That is a lie.

The reasons are a bit complicated involving state exchanges and other esoteric effluvia in the bill but, as the Washington Post boiled it down for us [emphasis is mine],

”...the Cassidy-Graham proposal simply would allow states to waive the ACA’s prohibition against varying premiums based on an individual’s health status.

“Insurance companies would then be free to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting medical conditions.”

In addition, Graham-Cassidy removes premium subsidies and the Medicaid expansion which would leave many who bought health insurance for the first time under Obamacare unable to afford it under the new rules.

There is strong evidence that uninsured people, lots of them, die for want of coverage. As The Guardian recently explained:

”Various studies have looked at whether uninsured people have a higher risk of death. The most cited was published [pdf] by the American Journal of Public Health in 2009 and found that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year as a direct result of being uninsured.”

No one knows the actual cost of Graham-Cassidy - to insureds or the government - because the Congressional Budget Office has informed Congress that it does not have enough time to score the bill before the vote this week.

What we do have, from the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy project, is an analysis that seeks to approximate the Congressional Budget Office’s methods. As reported in Vox, Graham-Cassidy will cause

15 million fewer people to have insurance in 2018 and 2019, versus current law

21 million fewer be insured by 2026

32 million fewer Americans with coverage after 2026 if the funding provided in the Obamacare repeal bill [Graham-Cassidy] is not reauthorized by Congress

As I mentioned on Saturday's Interesting Stuff post, late night host Jimmy Kimmel waged a week-long war of words against Senator Bill Cassidy who, four months ago on Kimmel's show, said that he would not vote for a bill that did not include coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Then he went right back to Washington and co-authored this bill that does the opposite. Can you spell hypocrite?

Last Thursday a new survey from Public Policy Polling showed that only 24 percent of Americans approve of Graham-Cassidy. There is more detail about the poll at Vox.

Most of the news media and pundits are saying that the bill is hanging by a thread and has almost no chance of passing.

Three Republican senators have indicated they probably will not vote for the bill: Rand Paul, of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. On Friday, in a move that Vox called a “death blow,” to the bill, Senator John McCain of Arizona announced that he opposes Graham-Cassidy.

[UPDATE 5:45 AM PDT: Overnight, Republican senators altered Graham-Cassidy to throw more money via block grants to Alaska and Maine as a bribe to Senators Murkowski and Collins to vote for the bill. It will be interesting to see what they do.]

But are you going to count on that to quash the bill? Fifty-one votes are needed and we know at least one senator who went back on his public word.

Among the things I am grateful for even with my frightening diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is that I am old enough for Medicare. Without it, I would not have had anywhere near enough money to pay for my treatment and I would have had to just go home and die.

As will happen to too many people if Graham-Cassidy becomes law. Private insurance is not as comprehensive as Medicare but the Obamacare changes have gone a long way to help more people afford coverage. Graham-Cassity guts that.

They say that the Senate will vote on this bill on Wednesday. Unless Republicans withdraw it, they must vote by next weekend when Senate rules change and more than 51 votes are needed to pass a bill.

So please call your senators now to let them know where you stand. Even if you believe your senators will vote against it, call anyway. The number of calls matters.

Let's keep it simple – you don't need direct numbers to senators' offices. This number - 202.224.3121 - will get you to the Congressional switchboard. Just ask for your senator's office. Then, when you've left your message there, call back and ask for your other senator.

2122243121

Do it now.

Comments

We are very thankful that we have Medicare right now but those SOBs are doing their best to take that away too or at the very least increase the amount that seniors have to pay.
Why on earth do we keep electing these horrible people??? I have read books on why people continue to vote against their own best interests and I still find it unfathomable.

How does a part of a person become so desensitized and weak that it freezes over?

Big Pharma & the Insurance lobby run DC & this country. I am so saddened by all that they & * have done to so many things that Mr. Obama has/had done for our country. I have never felt so much disrespect for a person * in my life. Dee(:

I have called both of my Senators and begged them to vote against any repeal of Obamacare. Senator McCain says he is going to vote no, but, as you pointed out, Senators have changed their minds before.

Lets hope that another Senator will study what the bill will do to her constituents (Are you listening, Senator Collins and Merkowski?) It will take 2 to kill the bill.

I agree that there is a lack of compassion and allowing the very wealthy to gain at the expense of the rest of us. I also worry about Medicare and Social Security

I called Senator Mark Warner (Virginia) and a very unhappy sounding woman answered his phone. When I told her I would like to leave a message for the senator she put me through to voicemail. I guess (hope) she is getting a lot of calls.

This whole thing makes me sick. The way we treat each other in this country is deteriorating every day and it is emanating from the top. I'm not old enough for Medicare and am lucky enough to have private health insurance through my husband's work. We are 55 years old and both have pre-existing conditions. I fear for our health, but mostly I fear for this mess of a country that we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.

I marched on Washington, DC on January 23 with my daughter-in-law, made hundreds of phone calls to senators, congresspeople, and have read thousands of news articles and written replies. But I am so disheartened by the steady decline of our lives that it is making me sicker.

We have a certifiably insane person in our White House and he and his cronies are killing this country and it seems like all we can do is sit by and watch. I keep asking "why is no one doing anything?"

Whether this or any other legislation, the primary concern for too long has been to block and confound the other party in every way possible. The needs of the people are the last thing they care about.

Have you noticed how much of the news coverage is devoted to the football controversy? In addition to being a racial 'dog whistle' to his base, it looks like a diversionary tactic to distract citizens from this important health care vote.

Well, I tried. Senator Moran's office took my message, but Senator Pat Robert's box is always full and says "try back later" -- in other words, "f--K off."

It's always like that...

And to hell with the football controversy. I AGREE with the protest against the police brutality, but it's still a diversionary tactic to get our minds off the healthcare bill.

Everybody, stay strong and maybe we can have a victory here!!!

Thank you for staying on the issue of this awful medical bill. I did phone Jeff Flake's office nd asked him not to vote for this terrible medical plan.

Amazing, I just wrote to my pols that it is hard to be polite to someone who is willing to cause thousands of deaths.............and is really and truly is. If you have hands to write letters, a computer, or a telephone...........and most of us have all three, use them to stick up for what is right. If we sit around moaning, doing nothing, well, guess what will happen? The worst, that's what.
I actually don't know how much weight the petitions and phone calls have, but doing nothing is not an option.

Getting to this later in the day again, but the good news is that Susan Collins was seduced by the block grant money that was waved under her nose and is doing the right thing. So, as of now, it looks unlikely that there enough votes.

Watching the people in wheelchairs being ejected from the halls today was awful, and felt like the foreshadowing of more unpleasantness to come. I could just imagine Trump watching it all somewhere and commenting that people clearing the halls shouldn't worry about being rough on them. Just like he advised police to not worry about hitting people's heads when getting them into vehicles. Such a nasty man.

I keep thinking Hitler & Co did it with the ovens but 45 & Co are doing it by slow and insidious state torture in citizens' homes.

I am so very sorry and have renewed gratitude for my Canadian health care as I would be dead without it.

Keep fighting. The injustice and callousness is breathtaking.

XO
WWW

I am so grateful to you, Ronnie, and all of your supporters, who are carrying on the fight against these unjust health measures. Being Canadian, I could write a letter every day, and it would carry no weight whatever. But Canadians believe that this is an international issue, since the entire world is affected by what the US does.

Just got back from visiting a friend who is dying of cancer in the hospital. Haven't seen him for about twenty years, but there was a time when I thought of marrying him... Luckily better sense prevailed for both of us and he found a wonderful woman who was just what he needed and I found a wonderful man who was just what I needed and we've both been married for over thirty years to exactly the right people. Sometimes life works out that way.

However, he is dying, fourth-stage lung cancer and his wife is devastated. I don't know her well, but will try to help her get through this or to help others to help her. She's still pretty young and so she may find someone else to finish her life with -- or not. My husband has third stage cancer and is starting to lose his hair, but he has been very strong and I think he's going into remission. Keep your fingers crossed for us...

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