Sunday, July 16, 2017

The GOP's Repeal and Replace Act (Explained)

Under the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare bill, the CBO says about 22 million will "lose" healthcare insurance. But what is misunderstood (or is not properly explained) is:

1) About half of those -- 11 million "able-bodied adults without children" -- will no longer qualify for Medicaid, which was expanded under Obama during the Great Recession when 8.7 million Americans had lost their jobs and the number of the unemployed had peaked at 15 million in 2009.

2) The other half of those who will "lose" healthcare insurance -- about another 11 million Americans -- will voluntarily forfeit healthcare insurance by choosing to no longer pay the rising premium for a MANDATED healthcare insurance policy because they will no longer be forced to pay a fine for not buying such a policy.

The idea of a 3.8% sur-tax on capital gains for those earning $200k or more --- and to offer subsidies for middle-to-low income people to purchase an ObamaCare™ healthcare plan -- was to expand the risk pool for the unemployed and low-income "able-bodied adults without children"; and for older Americans who either can not afford to buy a healthcare plan and/or (is still working) but are not covered by their employer (which is more and more common these days with the demise of labor unions).

Under the current GOP plan being considered in the Senate, the disabled and low income adults (WITH young children) will still qualify for Medicaid.

But the elderly will most likely be the most harmed by this plan, because they are usually high risk and/or with pre-existing conditions, and until they can qualify for Medicare at age 65 (which isn't all that great without a costly Medi-Gap policy), will be "SOL". Some groups like AARP are calling the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare plan an "age tax" on our senior citizens. (Civilized cultures take care of their elderly citizens.)

The elderly -- the most vulnerable of our society (unless they are wealthy) -- would suffer the most because they would be forced to pay higher premiums unless they can afford to see a doctor who will provide them with the evidence they need to show the government that they are no longer "able-bodied adults without children" -- but yet, may not qualify for disability.*

* If someone is applying for Social Security disability benefits, they would still qualify for Medicaid until such a time when their claim is finally settled -- but it usually takes up to 3 years to settle a disability claim after all the appeal processes have been exhausted (unless one has VERY STRONG MEDICAL EVIDENCE and/or ARE VERY NEAR DEATH.) And about 50% of all disability claims are ultimately denied.**

** Bill O'Reilly on Fox News used to always say that millions of Americans quit their jobs to file a disability claim because it's easy to do. No part of his ridiculous claim is true. Millions of people DO NOT quit their jobs to take a huge chance of being awarded on a claim and "being on the government dole". And it IS NOT "easy" to file a claim. Even the very first initial process of filing a claim on line can be difficult; and as time goes by, and as the process wears on, it gets more and more difficult. There are many doctor appointments and a ton of paperwork. Most of those people suffer acute anxiety and depression while waiting for an answer during this very apprehensive time. Also, most of those people CAN NOT survive 3 years without any income at all -- unless they had a free place to live and can survive only on Medicaid and food stamps for 3 years. To quit a job and live like that for 3 years with a 50% chance of winning a claim is taking a HUGE gamble. And in the end, the monthly stipend is barely enough to live on -- even if you have worked for 40 or 50 years. Bill O'Reilly could NEVER imagine what it must like to be in this situation: poor, disabled, suffering, alone, bored and terrified while waiting 3 years for a judge's decision on the future of their survivability.

Whether one agrees with Senator Bernie Sanders OR NOT on a range of other issues, one thing he is definitely right about -- Medicare for All -- where everyone pays in to expand the pool and provide healthcare for everyone.*

* No, healthcare in America is NOT a Constitutional Right sanctioned by our founding fathers, it's a Human Right sanctioned by God**.

** Currently the replace part of the GOP's repeal and replace healthcare plan is to replace "healthcare" for the very poor with "tax cuts" for the very rich.

After almost 8 years in the making...

GOP Repeal and Replace Healthcare Act

(EDITOR'S NOTE: If any part of this explanation for the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare bill is incorrect, please leave a comment below. Thanks).


  1. It's often the case that a worker's application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits never make it to the medical-qualification stage; first, the individual
    s work history is examined to see if s/he meets the quarters-earned requirement. (see here for details -- )

  2. Our health care costs defy common sense, and something must be done to bring it under control!

    1. Dr. Charles Krauthammer on Fox News raised an important point: We also need tort reform to help lower the cost of medical and hospital costs, instead of further enriching wealthy trial lawyers.

      * And we also need to go after fraud in Medicare and Medicaid . . . committed by wealthy doctors and hospitals, not by sick poor people.

  3. Sean Flynn, assistant professor of economics talks about how we can bring down the costs of healthcare and what it could do for our economy:

  4. Unnecessary and wasteful medical care is harming patients physically and financially and sapping the strength of our great nation.

  5. Fixing the U.S. health care system -- yes, really! John Fetrow

  6. A more well researched discussion by the Brookings Institute.


    1. It's difficult to sympathize with people who buy illegal or prescription drugs just to get high on --- and then over-dose (OD). People with legitimate issues with severe and chronic pain are being deprived of prescription opiates because of the illegal abuse of others. If thrill chasers get high and OD, even after knowing the risks they are taking, then why should innocent people suffer with severe pain?

      Opium has been around for millenniums. The use of the opium poppy predates written history. Images of opium poppies have been found in ancient Sumerian artifacts from 4000 BC. The making and use of opium was known to the ancient Minoans. Its sap was later named opion by the ancient Greeks, from whence it gained its modern name of opium. There were two Opium Wars in the mid-19th century involving Anglo-Chinese disputes over British trade in China.

      If kids steal their parents' prescription opiates from the bathroom medicine cabinet, they only have themselves to blame if their kids OD. If doctors unnecessarily over-prescribe, hold them accountable; but don't prevent other doctors from legitimately prescribing this valuable drug to their suffering patients. If chemical variants of the drug ("designer drugs") are being legally manufactured, then pass laws and crack down on the makers and distributors. If people within the medical profession (doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, etc.) are haphazardly distributing legal opiates based solely on profit motives (and not just for the benefit of helping people), then they will fry in Hell for eternity. (Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm.)

      I have about 8 Percocets left over from 2014 that an oral surgeon had prescribed to me. I keep these pain-killers stashed away in case of an emergency, because now many doctors are too paranoid to prescribe opiates for legitimate reasons ... to kill pain. (If I just want to get "high", I can stay home with a bottle of tequila. Even pot is legal in my State now.)

      I think the "opium epidemic" has been blown way out of proportion because greedy people are looking to profit from federal taxpayer dollars. Far more people die every day for many other reasons.

      CDC: "There are more than 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the U.S. each year --- an average of 6 alcohol poisoning deaths every day." (Maybe if opium were legal for recreational use, the death rate for opiate-related ODs would drop.)

    2. The "opiate epidemic" might be because of rise in purchase of illegal fentanyl, because people in pain can't get normal pain killers from doctors. If I'm in a lot pain, and a doctor won't prescribe me regular painkillers, I'll look for Fentanyl on the street. Am I supposed to suffer? Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate painkiller (much stronger than morphine or heroin) used as a recreational drug.