So the celebration of the past two days is that the Republican party is finally re-united and working together toward their goals. They still lament that the Democrats (actually, a relatively insignificant minority in Congress) are being obstructionists because they aren’t going along with the Republican agenda.
And what are they celebrating? The repeal of Obamacare. No more requirement that plans provide maternity or mental health care – after all, some of us may never have a need for it. Even though our mothers, sisters, brothers and children may, there’s no reason to require that insurance plans provide it. And even those who want no more abortions won’t be paying for or supporting the single most effective way to prevent abortions.
Just look at states like Colorado that have really pushed the solution – free, readily available access for any woman who is not ready to have a child to long-lasting birth control that doesn’t require monthly trips to the pharmacy (whether you have a car or not), renewed prescriptions from the doctor, co-pays, or, if your insurance doesn’t cover it, full cost of birth control pills every month, and a schedule and memory that allow you to remember to take it every single day.
Long-lasting methods (like an implant or an IUD) generally work for three years and can be removed whenever you are ready to start a family. These methods are safe, cheap, do not require daily, weekly, or monthly attention, visits or payments, and are 99 percent effective in preventing abortions.
They are now in agreement that we don’t need mandates. If people want to stay uninsured, so be it. I don’t really think the rest of us are prepared to leave our friends, neighbors, family or even the stranger at the side of the road sick, in pain, bleeding, injured. Like the good Samaritan – even if no one will pay for the care of the uninsured – we will get them to hospitals and doctors who will still provide care without reimbursement.
And they want to cut back on Medicaid – as if any Medicaid payments ever went to the sick, poor, elderly or children who need health care. The money only went to the doctors, nurses or facilities that provide care. And, at least in Kansas, more than 80 percent of all Medicaid payments go to nursing homes that care for the impoverished elderly who have exhausted their own resources and who are unable to care for themselves anymore. What do we think will happen to them? Are the baby boomers who haven’t saved enough for their own retirement going to step up and bring their elderly relatives into their own homes for care? Many of the boomers are talking about working until they are in their 70s because their savings has been wiped out in the housing and financial crises a decade ago. Not sure how well that’s going to work.
But at least the tax cuts to the billionaires, including many Republicans in the executive branch of government, as well as those in Congress, are still in the plan. All I can hope is that the Senate has enough wisdom to, once again, shut down this latest effort to repeal Obamacare.
Linda Johnson is a Leavenworth Times columnist.