By Jeffrey Solomon
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The famous phrase confirms to all here and around the world who we are. These are the unalienable rights given to all human beings by their Creator, the rights which governments are created to protect.
Unfortunately, the government is not living up to our founders’ ideals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided to hold a vote to repeal the health care law now and replace it at a later date. Republican Senators are placing a greater value on political expediency than the lives of their constituents.
After working as a chiropractor in Florida for 35 years, I’ve come to understand that the “right to life” is the American promise to provide access to high quality health care to all Americans. And when we put aside partisan and political ideology and look at other existing models around the world, the truth comes out: repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and undoing all the progress we’ve made in providing health coverage to more people, is not the American way.
Senate Republicans have tried twice, and failed twice, to pass their unpopular health care bill. After being flooded with stories of the everyday Americans – including seniors, children and people with disabilities – who would suffer under their plan, a few Republican senators stood strong in opposition to the bill.
Repealing the ACA – today, tomorrow or years from now – is simply a mistake. Too many lives are on the line. Without a replacement plan, repealing the ACA would leave 32 million people uninsured. And the best replacement plans Congressional Republicans could come up with weren’t much better – leaving about 22 million people without coverage, and making health care less affordable and less comprehensive for millions more. These plans would have promised to end the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
For Floridians, the consequences would be especially disastrous. A study conducted by the Urban Institute found that under the Senate’s original plan, Florida’s uninsured rate would skyrocket by 62 percent under the Senate health bill – leaving 2.1 million fewer Floridians with health insurance in the next 10 years. Out of that 2.1 million, the Senate’s health plan would throw 1.27 million people off Medicaid and 817,500 off private health insurance.
Senator Rubio: Enough is enough. Repealing the ACA and erasing the progress we’ve made is not a solution– it’s heartless, gutless, and downright un-American. As the Declaration of Independence reminds us, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This is not the American way – and you do not have our consent to strip health care from millions.
It’s time to stand up for our ideals, protect our progress under the ACA, and demand Sen. Rubio and Senate Republicans block this effort and any future effort to cut off health care to millions of Americans.
Jeffrey Solomon is an immigration advocate who ran as a Democratic candidate last year for the Florida House of Representatives, District #115. He is also a Miami chiropractor.