"Imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs the system and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat's personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control, " writes Becky Little of Smithsonian magazine,
Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. Sound familiar?
Millions of citizen's health care is on the line, and despite the pandemic and resulting major recession, the Trump Administration and 18 Republican state attorneys general filed briefs late one night last week asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare.
"The Trump administration and [Republican] state Attorney Generals lawsuit has the potential to throw the health care system into chaos," reports the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. (KCEP) "Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians would lose coverage and many more would lose/pay more for coverage or care [because of pre-existing conditions]."
The ACA has expanded access to health care, lowered health care costs, lowered prescription drug prices, and incentivized states to adopt Medicaid expansion helping strained state budgets.
The Republican party's "unfathomable cruelty" was voted on 54 times between 2011 and 2017. The problem? There was no "plan" to replace the ACA. People were going to die.
Republicans have been dead wrong to think that private markets can solve problems for the common good.
Remember, the U.S. is the only developed country with a for-profit health care system and job-based health care coverage. Many economists have decried the profit motive as a main factor in explaining why we were not ready to face this pandemic because preparation, warehousing supplies, and equipment, is not profitable. As a result, many people have died, needlessly.
The Supreme Court is likely to decide this case in early 2021, when the unemployment rate is still expected to be high and the public health crisis will still be ongoing. ACA repeal was projected to cause 20 million people to lose coverage nationally before the crisis. Millions more would lose coverage with pre-existing conditions. Compound that with unemployment rates now at 15% plus.
Many of the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have likely already lost job-based health coverage are eligible for Medicaid coverage thanks to the ACA. Kentucky has already seen a surge of over 130,000 in Medicaid enrollment mostly thanks to the ACA expansion of eligibility.
Kentucky's successful Medicaid expansion which helps us afford private coverage in the health insurance marketplaces would be eliminated if the ACA is struck down.
Research shows the ACA has improved access to care, financial security, and health outcomes, with strong evidence that both Medicaid expansion and coverage through the ACA marketplaces save lives. Reversing health coverage gains would put all of us at risk [pre-existing conditions], with effects being even more severe due to the pandemic and recession.
Also, the ACA has significantly narrowed racial gaps in health coverage. In Kentucky, NO ACA would cause nearly "1 in 10 non-elderly Black people, and 1 in 10 non-elderly Hispanic people, to lose their health insurance, compared to about 1 in 16 white people." (KCEP)
But this pandemic has spotlighted the serious racial gaps in health care coverage.
Health care coverage losses from the lawsuit would lead to higher costs to the patient and the hospital. Repeal would add to the financial burden on state and local budgets during an unprecedented state budget crisis, and it would also harm providers when many hospitals are in danger of closing from the unprecedented drop in revenues due to the pandemic.
"While this issue is being argued in the courts, the health coverage of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians during this pandemic hang in the balance," reports Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.
Will Mitch McConnell's Republican Senate celebrate if the Supreme Court decides to strike down the ACA thus canceling the health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians? That has been Republican's rallying cry since "Obamacare" was enacted.
Mitch, where is the Republican plan?
BTW, repealing the ACA would give the wealthiest Americans yet another huge tax cut!