As always when I write about current events, feel free to leave calm, un-insulting, intelligent responses and I will answer in the same way. Do realize however that I don't consider "but poor people can just go to the emergency room" to be an intelligent considered response.
The question of course is to whom, and a quick look at the bill as it is becomes well, frighteningly enlightening. First of all, the bill will leave between eleven and twenty million people uninsured, most of them earning under $16,000 a year. The ACA expanded medicaid to cover these folks and the current administration would put them out to pasture. Apparently there is such a disconnect that one senator figured that not having a phone would enable families living in poverty to afford health care. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Boomers and retirees will see our health care jump as much as 18 percent folks. That's eighteen percent (this figure is from the AARP institute and could be much higher once the Congressional Budget Office evaluates). This is because the ACA gave us tax breaks and refused to allow insurance agencies to charge us more than three times as much as younger folks.
People who are sick or have pre-existing conditions will have insurance in theory but will pay much more and perhaps find care unaffordable. Why? Because republicans will guarantee insurance, but they will not enforce what part of care insurance companies will pay for those ill or with pre-existing conditions. By doing the math, my friend with breast cancer will still not be able to afford treatment.
By now I'm sure, some of my republican readers are saying "quit complaining, where's the good stuff". And there is a tiny bit of good stuff-mainly for those with a bunch of money or just entering the workforce. in theory, younger folks could get cheaper rates, as the original goal of the ACA was to make the kids pay for the boomers (I am the first to admit as the parent of a hard working millennial, that this is inherently unfair on some level). Really healthy Americans (the ones with no history of family illness or personal illness) would pay slightly less. And finally of course, wealth Americans will pay less taxes. That's right, the top one percent will get cheaper health care, pay less taxes and get more tax breaks.
Insurance companies will (surprise) get greater tax breaks, because of course, Insurance companies are not making enough money. Never mind that Anthem (who withdrew because there were "too many sick people getting care" had the best year ever last year. We must make sure insurance companies make money, and lots of it.
The bottom line? This is insurance for the healthy and the wealthy, with few exceptions. For most of us, health care will be more costly and more rationed. Period. There is no question.
Now, I am someone who knows a teeny, teeny tiny bit more than the average user when it comes to health care and it's cost and delivery (A degree in hospital administration and working with non profit health cares for years has led to a little automatic osmosis). I know absolutely nothing about medicine itself, in fact, I recall years ago telling my sister in law who is now getting a doctorate in nursing that they must be able to do a whole body blood transplant because I saw it on St Elsewhere). I do however know a few things about the other side.
Put simply, health care is made up of many parts. There is who pays for it. There is who delivers it, there is the cost of delivery, and the method of delivery. I would suggest that Americans (partly due to unreasonable fear of socialism) worry a great deal more than they should about the first (who pays for it) and the second, when concentration should be on the latter two. To be clear, other countries don't have better health care than us (which almost all do) because of how it's paid for or the fact that it's delivered by the governments. Other countries provide better health care because they lower health care costs (remember that 45 total dollar cost mammogram and breast sonogram I had in Germany?) and because they deliver it in an even fashion, over the board.
The fact is, that health care costs us more in taxes and in costs when everyone is not insured. When a mother has to take her child to the emergency room for a shot, said shot costs almost four times what it would cost at doctor's office. While said mom may have been able to afford said shot at the doctor's office, she probably won't be able to afford her emergency room bill-which means one of two things: either the cost of our procedures go up to accommodate that unpaid bill, or our taxes go up to accommodate for tax breaks for insurance companies and hospitals.
I am not an expert on health care, but I encourage all my readers to research the topic beyond the CNN and FOX headlines, and find the true facts. Look at what the congressional budget office says on costs and numbered of uninsured for a start. Whatever your conclusion, realize that we all pay (in shared illnesses, financially and many other ways) when there is not insurance for all.