Serving the rich at the expense of the poor and the sick is not freedom – it is a form of oppression.
Paul Ryan is promoting Trumpcare by saying: “We’re not going to make an American do what they don’t want to do. You get healthcare if you want it. That’s freedom.” I'm guessing he means that we finally have the freedom to die uninsured.
The truth is that the bill largely relies on Obamacare’s blueprint, although it mangles its details to the benefit of the rich while stripping coverage from a staggering 24 million people by 2026. Ryan’s healthcare bill would, like Obamacare, provide subsidies for the purchase of private insurance policies. Yet these tax credits would be comparatively more regressive and less generous than those in Obamacare and many Americans would be freed from having affordable premiums.
The bill would also punish those with low incomes by squeezing federal funding out of Medicaid effectively removing millions of poor people from the ranks of the insured. It would, at the same time, cut the ACA’s taxes on the wealthy, which, as the New York Times reported, would redistribute upward some $144bn over a decade to millionaires. So, this provision would increase their freedom to buy a second vacation home, or a first yacht.
As Trumpcare’s greatest emancipatory element Ryan underlines the elimination of the ACA’s unpopular individual mandate. That would simply be replaced by a 30% premium penalty, assessed by insurers, for those who spent time uninsured.
Ryan sees this devastation as “freedom!”
For Ryan and his palls freedom in healthcare is basically the freedom of the consumer, who should be free to buy or not buy the particular insurance plan that suits his or her needs and tastes. Representative John Shimkus recently asked why, exactly, men should be compelled to buy plans that cover maternity care.
This peculiar vision of healthcare freedom means that the uninsured are more likely to die. And Trumpcare will increase the ranks of the uninsured by 24 million over the course of the next decade. The bill would increase our freedom to die of health conditions curable by modern medicine. Is that freedom? The only thing the bill will do is liberate tens of thousands of Americans from years they would have otherwise spent on this planet.
Real healthcare freedom would look completely different, and it would also go well beyond what the ACA has accomplished. Real healthcare freedom would mean knowing that one will never be uninsured. It would provide the liberty to choose a doctor and hospital. It would ensure women’s control over their reproductive health. It would mean that we could all make healthcare choices based on our medical needs and personal preferences and not our bank balances. Serving the class interests of the rich at the expense of those on welfare and the lives of the poor and the sick is a form of oppression, not freedom.
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