Senate health care bill is obscene, morally indefensible; and oh, bad for my clients and Kansas

After a review of the Senate’s latest proposal for repeal and revision of the Affordable Heath Care Act (“Obama Care”), it is clear the bill will be bad for all of my clients. For the record, it will also be bad for Kansas.
Some argue government should not be in the business of providing health care. The argument makes no sense. If it were true, no government would provide universal health care. But, the opposite is true. All industrialized nations, with the exception of the United States, implement some form of universal health care. Good health, and by extension health care, is a human right.
Despite changes in the earlier Senate effort, the new bill is essentially the same as the old bill in that it will make the poor poorer and the rich richer. And, while it is so easy to say that, it is important to stress the middle class, the majority my clients, will suffer under this proposal as well. A government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, where there is no sense of social responsibility, is obscene and immoral. There really is no other way to view it.
Kansas has one Senator, Jerry Moran, who has not taken a stand on this bill. I encourage all my clients to contact Senator Moran as quickly as possible to encourage him to vote no. Ironically, there is more time to do this because Senator John McCain is absent from Washington due to his health care issues.
While I doubt any reasoned argument would change Senator Pat Roberts’s opinion or determination to vote for the bill, he should be told that Kansans do not support this effort to harm Kansans. Everyone should let Senator Roberts know his position on this issue is morally wrong.
Some of the reasons I oppose the Health Care Security And Freedom Act Of 2017:
●Those in their 60s can be charged 5 times or more what folks in their 20s are charged for the same coverage.
●As a result of new caps on aid to states, folks in nursing homes receiving support form Medicaid face reductions in support and the risk that they will be refused care with no viable options for living spaces.
●Medicaid covers at least 1.8 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults including 31 percent of LGBTQ adults living with a disability and 40 percent of LGBTQ adults with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty level. An estimated 560,000 LGBTQ adults will lose coverage if Medicaid expansion is ended.
●Removal of the mandate for health insurance coverage is predicted to mean that healthy folks won’t buy insurance forcing premiums up for those who decide to maintain coverage for themselves and their families.
●Elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood would result in loss of contraceptive assistance and education, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/Aids treatment and counseling.
●The bill will allow sales of reduced coverage insurance plans that will give some folks the sense they are covered, but will in reality mean they pay far more for health care than they would under the existing law. Services that are now required, but wouldn’t be under the new law include vital medical services such as mental health care; treatment for conditions such as cancer; and maternity care.
●The much-loved regulation about pre-existing coverage remains, but states could waive other insurance rules that could weaken protections for medical conditions, such as the basic benefit package and the minimum payments insurers must make toward medical bills.
●Loss of required coverage for mental health and substance abuse issues would seriously impact the LGBTQ community where some studies show the need for depression, eating disorder, drug abuse treatment and general mental health counseling is twice the need of the heterosexual community.
●Middle-income families (most of my clients) — those making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year — would lose an average of $150 when the tax cuts and benefit cuts are combined. Families making less than $10,000 annually would lose more than$2,500 in annual benefits under the bill, once the plan is fully phased in. Proponents of the plan claim there are tax cuts for the poor, but fail to point out that
the cuts would be overshadowed by increased in health care costs for those same folks.
●Families making more than $1 million a year (none of my clients) would get tax cuts averaging about $50,000, according to an analysis released by two nonpartisan research groups, the Health Policy Center and the Tax Policy Center.
●If passed, the number of uninsured Kansas adults and children would jump from 343,000 now to 463,000 in five years.
●Health economists estimate the Senate bill could lead to 208,500 additional deaths by 2026 due to loss of coverage or reductions in Medicaid assistance.

Make certain you are counted

The Census Bureau is preparing  questionnaires for the next census and planning to leave most questions about gender identity and sexual orientation off the forms. This is wrong. It is time for everyone to stand up and insist that populations in our country be accurately counted.

The Census, which every ten years counts every person in the United States, was mandated by the Founding Fathers and has been called a keystone of American democracy. The government uses it to allocate public resources; businesses use it to choose where to invest; and the count affects congressional redistricting.

The U.S. lacks simple, reliable information about the LGBTQ community. How big is it? What is the average income level, life expectancy, or unemployment rate? Without data, policymakers can ignore the entire community and pretend it doesn’t exist.

At national level census information is used to plan the provision of health care, education, employment, transport, etc. It is used to help determine where to build new schools, roads, health care facilities, child-care and senior centers.

The Census is also an important economic tool.  One of the greatest strengths of the census is the provision of detailed population figures at local level. It counts the number of people in each region, county, town and local area and this helps local authorities to make better decisions about the whole range of their activities including the provision of utilities, transport, healthcare requirements and education facilities.

Census data is extensively used by interest and representative groups who have power to influence the authorities in campaigning for the interests of those whom they represent. The use of Census data in the reports and submissions of these groups is a convincing and powerful tool in influencing political and social leaders.

In short, this is about money and representation. If data isn’t collected showing that the the LGBTQ community exists, when it comes time to allocate governmental resources, there will be no basis for awarded those resources to the LGBTQ community.

Understanding the size of the LGBTQ population is a critical first step to informing a host of public policy and research topics. States and governments are often testing grounds for the implementation of new LGBTQ related public policies or can be directly affected by national-level policies. Adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions to national data sources that can provide local-level estimates and to state and  municipal surveys is critical to assessing the potential efficacy and impact of such policies.

The Census Bureau wants to appear neutral and above the fray, but its work is inherently political. Members of the LGBTQ community and all supporters should demand a count in 2020 that is accurate and fair to all.

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