I was positively stunned to learn that many congressmen acknowledged they had not read the latest healthcare bill (The Meadows-MacArthur Amendment to the American Health Care Act or AHCA) before it was recently approved by the House of Representatives. The bill was also passed before input was received from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which calculates how many more people could lose insurance, how much this plan will cost the federal government and the bill’s ultimate impact on the federal deficit.
The analogy to this would be if you were to purchase a home without knowing the price, failing to calculate your payments or the maintenance costs, and determining if you could sustain the expenses over time. And no competent business would ever undertake a major overhaul without significant study and attention to detail and to study the financial implications of such a plan.
I was never a numbers person until I became involved with non-profit organizations; going over the financial reports in meetings was something I did not enjoy, nor fully understood. But over time I learned that it was critical to understanding the numbers, as they could tell us how well we were doing, whether our mission could be sustained over time, and how much money we would need to raise. I learned how to read and interpret financial reports, which was a critical part of my job as a board member.
Now a bill was quickly passed with virtually no study, discussion or regard for its implications. The congressional leadership pushed the bill through without waiting for the CBO to project its costs or how it would impact millions of people in our country. The projected impact of this bill is frightening; at least 24 million more people will likely be uninsured, protections for people with pre-existing conditions will be gutted through state waivers with little if any federal oversight and seniors could pay five times that of younger individuals for their insurance. The bill also guts Medicaid by over 800 billion, leaving our most vulnerable citizens without medical care. Most concerning of all is that the bill is a poorly disguised tax cut for the wealthiest people in the country which will ultimately result in a $850 billion transfer of wealth from the poorest to the wealthiest Americans over the next ten years.
Every school child is taught the importance of doing their homework. It prepares you for what’s ahead in school and in life. Sadly, leaders in Congress wanted to pass a bill so badly to make a political splash that they didn’t feel the need to do their homework. Shame on them…and let’s hope that the Senate takes the time to understand the repercussions of the bill and that they will not be as cavalier with people’s lives and money as our Congressional leaders.