A Physician's Prognosis For The Senate Health Care Bill

It's bad.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

As a physician, my primary concern about the Senate health care bill is that it is bad for people.

Who is it bad for?

Essentially, it is bad for everyone.

It is bad no matter where you live.

The health care bill is terrible for people in blue states, and those in red states too. It is bad for people living in urban areas, and it’s really bad for those living in rural areas.

It is bad no matter what kind of insurance you have.

The health care bill hurts Medicaid recipients, yes, but it also hurts people with employer-based insurance. It allows insurance companies to withdraw adequate coverage for important, life-saving health benefits, and to refuse care or raise premiums for those with common conditions.

It is bad for you, me, and people we care about.

The health care bill hurts all the people most of us agree should be cared for by society: young children, the disabled, the elderly, the infirm.

Sadly, it harms the large number of our U.S. veterans who receive care through Medicaid.

Because some of the “pre-existing” common conditions include pregnancy, childbirth, and domestic violence, it is particularly awful for women.

It is dire for those consumed in the opioid epidemic ravaging the country, whose addiction is treatable in largely Medicaid-funded programs.

It is bad for entire states and hospitals.

It is dreadful for the majority of states, who will struggle to cover the gap left by the withdrawal of federal funds from Medicaid programs, and who are projected to have tens to hundreds of thousands fewer people covered by health insurance than under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

It is harmful to hospitals, which will be left with the burden of unpaid expenses of uninsured patients.

It is tough on emergency departments, which are being touted as the solution for people who lose insurance and access to primary care, and will not be able to provide the preventive care, care for chronic conditions, or definitive care for curable conditions, like cancer, that these people will need. Nor are ED visits free.

Bottom line: it is so bad.

The Senate healthcare bill is miserably, egregiously, blatantly, irrevocably, embarrassingly bad. A bill whose primary purpose is reducing the tax burden on the super wealthy has little chance at improving health care.

And worst of all? It is close to passing.