Now that the Republicans control of both houses of Congress with a so-called Republican set to take over the presidency in less than a month, they will be able to make good on their promise to scrap the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. However, now some Republicans are having second thoughts, and they are right to be cautious about overturning or crippling the Affordable Care Act. They have nothing to replace it with. They should also beware of angering voters and being voted out of office.
According to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll taken in November 2016, only 26 percent of Americans are in favor of repealing Obamacare with an additional 17 percent wanting to scale it back. On the other hand, 30 percent of the public wants to see Obamacare expanded with 19 percent favoring Obamacare’s continuing as it is.
A group of Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan is not be satisfied with the prospect of doing away with Obamacare. They also want to gut Medicare, the government-run health insurance plan that almost all Americans over 65 depend upon to pay their healthcare costs. Why do the Republicans want to scrap this popular program? They want to get rid of it out of purely ideological grounds, although they attempt to justify their war with junk economics. Paul Ryan has stated, “What people don’t realize is because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke.”
That is a blatant lie. Tax changes put in under the Affordable Care Act have actually extended the life of Medicare by at least a decade. Yes, at some time in the distance future, Medicare could go broke if no changes are made to the program, but what is needed is some tweaking, not the ruthless destruction of the program.
If Paul Ryan manages to push his Medicare “reform” through (and under a Trump presidency that is likely), Medicare will be replaced by a voucher system. Senior citizens will use the government-issued script to pay part of their premiums for private insurance plans. What about those senior citizens who cannot afford to supplement the vouchers with their own money? Tough luck! They will be uninsured, causing the life expectancy of low-income senior citizens to decline.
When will senior citizens and low-income workers realize that in voting for demagogues like Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, they are voting against their own interests? These ideologues govern for the rich. They don’t give a damn about ordinary Americans. The only way we can stop the government from transferring wealth from normal Americans to people who already have more than they know what to do with is to vote these demagogues out of office in the next election cycle.
One thing you can bet on, if Paul Ryan and his cohort of right-wing Republicans manage to do away with both Obmacare and Medicare, many millions of Americans will not be able to afford health care coverage. They will go to a hospital emergency room when they have a health emergency, and they will not be able to pay the hospital bill. The costs of providing care will be passed on to those who do have insurance, and the cost of health care will skyrocket.
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