President Donald Trump finally got his first big legislative win recently, when by one vote extra House Republicans passed what is now labeled Trumpcare, a bill so bad that it had no hearings, was never "scored" by the Congressional Budget Office, and few GOP backers could say they actually plowed through its 1,800 pages of legalese that will shock many voters who voted for The Donald thinking he was their Messiah.
On HBO last Friday, political comedian Bill Maher mused that California's law permitting medical marijuana could be the only treatment Sunshine State residents will have access to, if and when the badly botched bill House Speaker Paul Ryan's Majority Caucus voted for ever becomes law, which could be a pipe dream now that Senate Republicans say they'll start from scratch to craft their own version.
Bringing Back Bake Sales?
At the end of each of the major news networks' evening news programs is a segment on people doing good things or overcoming hurdles so high they were once thought insurmountable. The names of these human interest story segments range from Inspiring America to America Strong to On The Road. Before President Barack Obama's signature health law, The Patient Protection and Affordability Act, became law in early 2010, it wasn't uncommon for local or national news programs to feature bake sales as one way parents at their wits end thought of paying for someones costly procedure to keep them alive.
With Trumpcare on the march, is it premature to ask whether the era of the bake sales as a viable alternative to the affordable health care provided by the ACA has returned. Brownies, cookies and cakes baked by loving moms and dads to come up with the cash it costs in America to treat severe illness brings many a tear to many eyes who think its so inspiring that people come together to purchase sugary treats in order to pay the bills for treatments and procedures that in America cost far more than they do anywhere else around the world. where holding a bake sale would be considered a preposterous alternative to universal, single-payer health care.
If people can't afford the cost of health insurance, they shouldn't be entitled to it, is the thinking by many social and fiscal conservatives who believe when it comes to whether health care in America it's a privilege not a basic right. Most advanced countries have already decided it's a right, and built their health care system around that conclusion. American exceptionalism is exceptional in that it sometimes ignores the wisdom of the world as it meanders down a long and winding path that leads more of than not to heartache and despair for many who haven't feathered their nest as thoroughly as Donald Trump and his close cohorts have.
Bake Sales In Ohio?
In Ohio, the perfect storm delivered by Trumpcare will leave 900,000 Buckeyes at risk of losing coverage under the newly-passed House Republican healthcare plan. Another 200,000, the number of Ohioans currently receiving care for opioid addictions, could also lose coverage. Equally discouraging is a list of 90 pre-existing conditions that will leave many hurting, now that states can opt out of requiring for-profit health insurers from covering them.
On the right side of history and morality, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said these pre-existing offer insurance companies 90 reasons to discriminate by denying coverage or making it so costly as to be unaffordable. According to Sen. Brown, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates roughly 28 percent of non-elderly Ohioans had pre-existing conditions covered under the Affordable Care Act in 2015.
"That's over 1.9 million people in Ohio alone who stand to see their premiums soar because of conditions for which they desperately need care," Brown said in prepared remarks following the passage of Trumpcare in the House.
In another call for sanity, The Center for Community Solutions has analyzed Trumpcare and determined that Ohio could lose $16 billion to $22 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next six years if the bill in its present form becomes law.
What hope there is for a better ending to the tale Trump and Ryan bragged about last week, that puts 26 million in harms way, relies on a sensible Senate trashing Trumpcare and starting over with one that keeps and improves on the ACA, as a growing majority of Americans now want to do. Should Trumpcare become law in any form that resembles Trumpcare today, the hope is that the warning issued by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week, that voting for this bad bill will become a tattoo on Republican foreheads that "glows in the dark" in 2018 and 2020 comes true.
Democrats have lost so many legislative seats and governors chairs over the last eight years that it seems a dream that they can come back from the dead. But with Trumpcare as flawed as it it, the golden opportunity to right the ship of state so that bake sales don't return as a way to pay for keeping people healthy and alive is an open door Democrats need to walk through, if they can.
Can Republicans whose cold-hearted thoughtlessness on what ails the nation stands naked for all to see actually be turned out in sufficient numbers in two years that they lose control of the House and Senate in two years? Does a similar fate await the current occupant of the White House in 2020? Republicans have produced a poorly baked plan. Democrats must rebake it so the era of bake sales become a thing of the past.