by Stephen Lendman
On March 23, House members will vote on the so-called American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) – Trumpcare, the proposed Obamacare replacement measure with little debate.
Instead of providing healthcare on the basis of need, politicized Trumpcare makes it dependent on the ability to pay, legislating enormous harm on the nation’s most vulnerable if enacted into law, leaving an estimated 52 million Americans uninsured by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Fairness, equity and justice aren’t US attributes, especially with a self-serving bipartisan criminal class in Washington running things.
Commenting on proposed Trumpcare, Dr. Adam Gaffney said Speaker Paul Ryan promotes it as “some sort of medical Magna Carta – a brave declaration of healthcare freedom”, saying Americans can take it or leave it as they wish, the latter choice leaving them free “to die uninsured…”
Proposed Trumpcare isn’t “some libertarian healthcare promised land wherein open heart surgeries and rounds of chemo are bartered and traded like tubes of toothpaste – far from it,” said Gaffney.
It’s Obamacare light, making an inequitable system more nightmarish – benefitting business and high-net worth households, while denying millions of Americans the right to essential healthcare, inflicting unacceptable harm on the nation’s most vulnerable.
Trumpcare is “false freedom,” said Gaffney. It’ll afford “freedom to die of health conditions that are amenable to modern medical care, and thereby liberate tens of thousands of people a year off of the face of the planet.”
True healthcare freedom would assure Americans are treated on the basis of need and right to choose their providers.
It would eliminate unaffordable insurance, high deductibles and co-pays. It would assure coverage for everyone unrelated to the ability to pay.
Healthcare is a fundamental human right, not a commodity to be sold like toothpaste or other consumer products.
Billionaire Mark Cuban proposed a constitutional amendment, making healthcare a “right,” saying:
“I think health care should be a right. If there’s a legitimate way to modify the Constitution, I literally think there should be an amendment to the Constitution for healthcare for chronic illnesses and serious injury. We all play the genetic lottery.”
“I think all of the talk about Trumpcare vs. Obamacare really just avoids the ultimate question, which is, is health care a right or not?”
“…I’ve had friends who have had cancer. We’ve all had people who have had severe illnesses and if they didn’t have insurance. In a couple cases, I’ve since paid for them because they didn’t have insurance or enough insurance. I think that’s wrong. That’s a cost we all should share.”
The same holds for education, sustenance, shelter and other essentials to life.
An earlier article discussed Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed economic bill of rights.
On January 11, 1944, in his last State of the Union address, he proposed a second bill of rights, saying the initial one “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.”
His solution was an “economic bill of rights,” guaranteeing:
- employment with a living wage;
- freedom from unfair competition and monopolies;
- medical care;
- education; and
- social security.
In an age of bipartisan-supported neoliberal harshness, these ideas are inconceivable. Profits are prioritized over vital people needs.
Americans can have whatever they want – based on their ability to pay, including for essentials to life.
Roosevelt proposed his economic bill of rights when he was visibly frail and ill, 15 months before his April 1945 death.
Proposing it, he said “(w)e have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”
“Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”
“In our day, these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security can be established for all – regardless of station, race, or creed.”
His 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (the GI Bill) provided college or vocational education for 7.8 million returning vets plus a year of unemployment compensation.
Around 2.4 million vets got VA-backed low-interest, no down payment home loans at a time their average cost was under $5,000, enabling millions of families to afford them, many with government help.
His economic bill of rights was never enacted into law. It would have been his most important New Deal program.
Today it’s inconceivable at a time America’s resources go increasingly for militarism, endless wars, corporate handouts, and police state crackdowns on non-believers – at the expense of social justice for all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.