Tag Archives: health care for all

Congressman McGovern: Trumpcare a Disaster for Millions of Americans

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman Jim McGovern

(editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

GOP Claim that Trumpcare Covers Pre-Existing Conditions is a Lie

Secret Negotiations, Backroom Deals and Bribes are Shameful

Congressman Jim McGovern, the senior House Democrat leading debate on the House floor against the American Health Care Act, slammed House Republicans yesterday for trying to steamroll the disastrous bill that would take healthcare away from millions of Americans.

“Pathetic. That’s the word to describe this process and this bill. If the American people could sue Congress for malpractice – my Republican friends would be in deep trouble. How could you do this? How could you do this to the people you represent?

You are taking away essential health care protections. You are allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. You are supporting a bill that will throw 24 million people off of their health care and cut Medicaid by $880 billion to give a $1 trillion dollar tax break to the very wealthy. What is wrong with you?

The American people were justifiably outraged – and they showed up by the thousands at town halls to express their anger. I guarantee you – your constituents are going to figure this out. And they will not be happy. And let me say to my colleagues, to claim or imply that this Republican plan covers pre-existing conditions, is a lie.

“Let me also say a few words about the process that has been used to bring this bill to the floor. It has been a disaster from start to finish with secret negotiations, backroom deals and bribes to buy off factions within the Republican conference. There have been no hearings on this bill whatsoever. And the Republican leadership couldn’t even slow down long enough to receive a score from the CBO.

“Are Republican leaders jamming this bill through to appease President Trump? Are they concerned that a new CBO score will confirm what we already know is true – that this bill would be devastating to the people of this country, force even more people to lose health care, especially older, sick and low-income Americans?

We’re supposed to fix problems and help people – not merely settle for political cover that can be used in a press release. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. Or better yet, do what they did a couple weeks ago and pull this disastrous bill.”

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“Pathetic.

“That’s the word to describe this process and this bill.

“If the American people could sue Congress for malpractice – my Republican friends would be in deep trouble.

“How could you do this? How could you do this to the American people? How could you do this to the people you represent?

“You are taking away essential health care protections. You are allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. You are supporting a bill that will throw 24 million people off of their health care and cut Medicaid by $880 billion to give a $1 trillion dollar tax break to the very wealthy.

“What is wrong with you?

“Today’s rule self-executes three of the newest Republican amendments to the Republican health plan. This means, without any sort of debate or discussion whatsoever, the Palmer, MacArthur and Upton amendments will magically pass the House. What I find so hard to believe about this latest backroom deal is that it actually makes this bill worse! I didn’t think that was possible.

To shore up support among this chamber’s most conservative faction, Representative MacArthur and others made a deal with President Trump to gut protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and to eliminate essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment, and prescription drug coverage, just to name a few. These are among the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

“The American people were justifiably outraged – and they showed up by the thousands at town halls to express their anger. And there were some on the Republican side who actually got it. They listened to their constituents and they had the courage to stand up and say no.

“But, when Republican leaders once again came up short in their whip count, Representative Upton ran to the White House and concocted a deal with President Trump to try to win back votes. His amendment adds a measly $8 billion spread out over 5 years in a futile attempt to soften the devastating impact that this bill will have on millions and millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

“$8 billion over 5 years sounds like a lot, but when we are talking about an entire country, it really isn’t. But don’t take it from me. Robert Graboyes from the conservative Mercatus Center said ‘the $8 billion amount is a pittance … spread over five years, it’s a fifth of a pittance.” This is not a left-wing organization. This is an organization funded by Koch Industries, the Koch brothers, my Republican friends love the Koch brothers.

“What’s more, some analysts have already estimated that an additional $200 billion will be needed over a decade to adequately fund high-risk pools, so this amendment is billions upon billions of dollars short. As the Center for American Progress points out, the Upton Amendment ‘will have almost no effect.’

“My colleagues who have been won over by this should be ashamed of themselves. We’re supposed to fix problems and help people – not merely settle for political cover that can be used in a press release. $8 billion to cover a $200 billion shortfall? Back where I come from, we call that being a “cheap date.”

“I guarantee you – your constituents are going to figure this out. And they will not be happy.

“For the so-called moderate Republicans who have contorted themselves this week to find a fix to the damage being done to people with pre-existing conditions, I have breaking news: I have a magic bullet fix if Republicans really want to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Are you ready? Brace yourselves. Don’t change the law! Everyone is already protected by the Affordable Care Act – including people with pre-existing conditions and those who struggle to find affordable care.

“And let me say to my colleagues, to claim or imply that this Republican plan covers pre-existing conditions, is a lie. Plain and simple.

“Let me also say a few words about the process that has been used to bring this bill to the floor. It has been a disaster from start to finish with secret negotiations, backroom deals, and bribes to buy off factions within the Republican conference. There have been no hearings on this bill whatsoever. And the Republican leadership couldn’t even slow down long enough to receive a score from the CBO.

“I have one simple question: What’s the rush? Wait a week and get a CBO score. Why is that such a radical idea?

“Are Republican leaders jamming this bill through to appease President Trump? Are they concerned that a new CBO score will confirm what we already know is true – that this bill would be devastating to the people of this country, force even more people to lose health care, especially to older, sick, and low-income Americans?

“Or maybe, Republican leaders are worried that their colleagues will go home over the week long break and hear from their constituents who overwhelmingly oppose this effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Honestly, I don’t know how my Republican friends can defend this terrible, closed, authoritarian process. It is an absolute disgrace. So I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. Or better yet, do what they did a couple weeks ago and pull this disastrous bill.”

More than a victory!

More than a Victory … an end zone dance from filmmaker Michael Moore

Dear Friends,

I’m guessing you’re still pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. But yes, it happened. At 10:07 yesterday morning, the conservative Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, not only joined with the liberal justices to completely uphold almost every single part of the Obama health care law, he wrote the majority opinion himself!

In fact, he went even further. When he realized that the government had poorly made its constitutional case to the court, he went searching for a clause in their argument and the constitution that would give him the justification he needed to back the administration and to ensure that his decision would hold up legally. In other words, even though he is on the opposite side of the political fence, he wrote the Dems’ paper for them. Stunning.

The other four justices? They didn’t just vote to overturn the individual mandate part of the law, they all voted to kill the entire Act.

The media is already spending much time talking about the mandate being the “centerpiece of the law,” but the real news is that if you ever have a pre-existing condition, you cannot now be denied insurance. If you are a young adult without health insurance, you can now stay on your parents’ plan until age 26. The insurance company can no longer say there is a lifetime cap to your coverage. The insurance companies are now required to spend 85 cents out of every dollar they take in on actual reimbursement for your health care – not on profit or “administrative costs” (some companies have been taking over a 30% cut; Medicare’s total percentage of their budget for administrative costs: 2%).

I know that our side is not used to victories and so we’re not quite sure how to respond when we get one out of the blue. For some of us, the first inclination is to point out just how weak the Obama law actually is, that it doesn’t provide true universal health care (26 million will STILL be uninsured), and that it leaves control of the system in the hands of the vultures, otherwise known as the health insurance companies. The individual mandate was a huge gift to the private insurance companies, guaranteeing them billions more from millions of new customers. And many of the key provisions of this law don’t even take effect until 2014 – and if the Republicans win in November, you can kiss all of that goodbye.

So, yes, the bill is highly flawed and somewhat wrong-headed – but what it IS is a huge step in the right direction. And yesterday’s court decision cements that. The right wing knows this and they are probably unraveling in some not-so-pretty ways right now. And that’s why today is a great day. The Right has been smacked down by one of their own! They know what we all know — that the path of history has been, and will continue to move toward the basic human right that all people are entitled to see a doctor and NOT have to worry about losing their home because they can’t afford to pay the medical bills. Those days are over, or will be soon, and that is where civilization is headed. It’s not headed back to the days of Oliver Twist. Today’s victory is momentum, it’s forward motion, and we WILL have true universal health care in this country in the not too distant future.

So take some time to celebrate; this is a victory for the people. Actually, more than a victory, it is a mandate that all of us must now make sure that a second-term Obama continues to move the ball down the field, toward a system like they have in every other First World country on the planet. He simply has to improve Medicare and then expand it to every citizen in the country. The countries that do this, their people live an average of two to four years longer than we do. Is there a reason anyone doesn’t want an extra four years of their lives? Or that our babies would have a better chance of surviving their first year like they do in the 48 countries that have a better infant mortality rate than we do? Exactly who is opposed to this? You’d have to be a bit…crazy.

And that, I’ve come to believe, is the true divide in this country. It’s not blue state vs red state, liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican. The split we have in America can be boiled down in its simplest form to this: On one side are the people who believe Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago – and then there’s everyone else. On that first side are the people who’ve been fed a diet of fear and lies and hate. And who is feeding them? The 1%. The richest people in the country, the ones who aren’t done with us yet because they still don’t have enough wealth, have done their best to dumb down the population through destroying our educational system and using media to provide them with a vastly distorted sense of reality. The rich’s only obstacle is that they only hold 1% of the votes in the country. So they have to try to get a slim majority of Americans to vote their way. And fear, plus keeping them stupid, usually works.

So that’s the battle ahead of us: Organizing and mobilizing the majority of Americans to push for true universal health care, Medicare for All. At one time, back in Illinois, that was the position held by Barack Obama. He will not make this happen on his own. He will only be able to do it when the mass of American people rise up and demand it. Demand it. Why not start tonight?

Five years ago this week, my health care documentary, Sicko, opened in theaters across the country. I have spent the better part of the decade on this issue, and for me, personally, fully aware of the current law’s limitations, I am very happy with today’s news – not because of its specifics or nuances, but because it is a road sign, and that sign points in the correct, humane and sane direction. THAT makes this a great day.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. To learn more and get involved in the campaign for real universal health care – to complete the job that’s been started – get in touch with National Nurses United and Physicians for a National Health Program.