For Some, Health Care Repeal Equals Death

"Obamacare saved my life without a doubt," says Barbara Boros, a California resident with kidney disease.

Kendall Brown, "digital nerd and social justice fan," lives with Crohn's disease. "It has nearly killed me, twice," she writes. "It would have killed me, if it weren't for one thing: Obamacare."

For Cherry Jackson, a 55-year-old New Orleans resident, new Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - was a godsend. It helps her pay for her prescriptions. Jackson told the Los Angeles Times: "I thank God for this program."

By slashing ACA coverage, the incoming Trump administration and the right-wing Congress are conspiring to take health care away from these women. But that is just one step in their plan to strip health care from millions of people and throw them to the insurance corporation wolves.

Donald Trump - elected by a minority of voters - has selected Republican Rep.Tom Price of Georgia, a right-wing zealot and multimillionaire, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Price is dead-set on taking away ACA coverage, gutting Medicaid, and letting insurance corporations take over Medicare.

This plan will improve the wellbeing of corporations and billionaires, while leaving tens of millions of people to suffer - and even die - without health care. It amounts to a death sentence: Studies show that people without insurance are 25 to 40 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with insurance.

People in the U.S. want less profiteering in health care, not more. But Price and the right wing in Congress want to turn Medicare into a voucher program that funnels public dollars into insurance corporations that rake in billions each year. If that voucher isn't enough for a decent health plan - or any plan at all - then you're on your own.

Destroying Medicare this way is a betrayal of seniors and all of us who have been paying into the system. We contribute to support each other, not boost insurance corporation profiteering.

Price also wants to eliminate Medicaid for about 15 million people who've signed up since the program was expanded, and cut out many more. Medicaid has been providing health care since 1965. Taking it away is a betrayal of the belief that the value of our lives shouldn't be measured by the size of our wallet.

But Price doesn't stop there.

He wants to let insurance corporations jack up premiums for many people with preexisting conditions. Insurance corporations could charge as much as they want based on your age. The ACA ended that kind of unfair treatment. Price wants to turn back the clock - another betrayal.

Price would end guaranteed birth control coverage, allow discrimination against LGBTQ people, and let insurance companies charge women more for coverage.

The right-wing Congress is fully behind him, proposing changes that would throw our entire health care system into chaos, cutting coverage for almost 30 million people.

We don't have to be a heartless and cruel country, valuing corporate profits over people's health. Congress shouldn't cut health care for anyone - whether they get it through the ACA, Medicaid, Medicare, or the Children's Health Insurance Program. Instead, Congress should expand health care to make it available and affordable for everyone.

The good news in the upcoming health care fight is that we have solutions right in front of us.

Medicare is popular - and a huge success, sustaining seniors and people with disabilities for decades. We must protect it, let it negotiate prices with prescription drug corporations, and make it available to all of us.

We need strong, principled lawmakers to say no to the death sentence the right-wingers want to impose - and yes to good, affordable health care for all.