Sunday, May 7, 2017

Being alive is a preexisting condition

There was that vile House GOP health care bill this past week. The focus has been on the huge list of preexisting conditions that will send a person’s health care premiums into the unaffordable stratosphere. Several news sources that have published the lengthy list of conditions that fit the category. I’ll list just a few:

* Transsexualism, yeah being transgender could be a reason to boost your insurance rates.

* Pregnancy for the females and expectant parent for the males.

* Obesity. It is bad enough that many doctors already blame all sorts of ills on obesity and insist on weight loss before treatment. Now with obesity as a preexisting condition the patient won’t be able to afford either the fruitless weight loss plan or the treatment of the actual illness.

* Pending surgery, which seems to mean you could pay standard rates and keep your coverage up until the time the doctor finds something wrong that needs surgery. Now that might be something that developed while you maintained coverage, but once it happens it is “preexisting.” Coverage is great until you actually need it.

I agree with Paul Waldman of The Washington Post, who calls it an abomination. Others have called it the most cruel legislation ever passed by a body of Congress. Waldman calls on us to make sure every one of those yes voters is held accountable. This should be a stain on their records for the rest of their careers, even if the bill never becomes law.

One of the few comments I read (out of over 3000) said so how are we going to hold them accountable with the way House districts are so heavily gerrymandered?

Waldman also lists the other provisions of the bill. One that hasn’t gotten a lot of airplay is that it “provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for families making over $250,000 a year.”

The vote handed Democrats a weapon, which was gleefully seized, to hammer at those who voted yes. They will be wielding that hammer relentlessly form the next 18 months.

Chauncey DeVega of his personal blog Indomitable explains the bill in terms of ranking (though not as solidly as I could) and refers to a conservative “celebration of selfishness.” He wrote:
There is a moral obligation to speak plainly and directly in a time of crisis. To wit: The Republican Party’s so-called health care reform is designed to kill, injure and bankrupt the poor, the sick and the weak, in order to line the pockets of the 1 percent. As Republicans have repeatedly shown, the supposed “party of life” is actually the “party of death.”

While driving to Dad’s house on Friday I listened to the NPR program The 1A and their roundup of the week’s news. One of the panelist (I don’t remember which one) described the difference between the Democrat and GOP view of health insurance. In the Dem view health insurance is like Social Security, a basic right given to everyone. In contrast, the GOP talks about health insurance like car insurance. If a driver tends to speed and get in a lot of accidents it is expected his insurance should go up. No one else should have to pay for his recklessness. The GOP says in the same way the healthy shouldn’t have to pay for those foolish enough to get sick.

DeVega says this idea is the just world hypothesis, the idea that if bad things happen to you it is because you deserve it. But it is a fallacy. Even the rich get cancer. It is also a justification for ranking.
The just world hypothesis can be compelling. It allows the privileged, the powerful and the rich to rationalize their opportunities: “I earned it! Those people are lazy!” “Good things happen to good people! Those people are immoral and made bad choices unlike me!” “Their problems aren’t my responsibility!”

Sarah Kendzior has a couple tweets on the issue:
Bill is devastation in own right, but also ominous. You don’t pass something this unpopular thinking there will be free and fair elections.

When you flaunt disregard for public will this blatantly, you’re assuming public will is irrelevant. You have a lock through corruption.

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