May 12, 2017 by Ramsha Ahmad
On May 4 the House of Representatives voted to replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The American Health Care Act of 2017 passed the House with a 217-213 vote with all Democrats opposing the bill. Hotly debated with much controversy around the issue, the rights of people have essentially been ignored.
The bill is a reflection of the deep-rooted hypocrisy of the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans within the healthcare working group.
What is most striking is that 13 men worked on this bill, most of whom are conservatives in opposition to the ACA but no women.
Female members of Congress were not represented in the making of this bill; members who should have had an equal say due to experience with healthcare law and policy.
This further perpetuates a double standard within the GOP through the silencing of women. There are 21 women in Senate and the voices of all Americans should be heard. The bill should not just benefit the upper-class, privileged white males who make up the healthcare-working group, especially when the bill deems preexisting conditions that disproportionately affect women.
Ironically enough, some members who signed off on the bill admitted that they did not personally read the bill in full. It was approved without a Congressional Budget Office analysis of costs and demographics of those who would be covered by the bill.
Most controversial is the fact that the bill allows for rolling back protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which in turn may hike up the cost of health care for 130 million Americans.
A pre-existing condition is essentially a condition that a patient had before obtaining an insurance policy; the classification is used by health insurers to deny people coverage or increase their premiums.
Under the ACA, insurance companies were not permitted to use preexisting conditions in order to charge more money or refuse coverage to the impoverished who otherwise would not be able to afford health coverage. Essentially, under the Republican health care bill, if it is passed in Senate and then officially signed, it could permit the unfair use of one’s health history for insurer’s gain, which says more about how the members of this administration show a blatant disregard for the poor.
Preexisting conditions include conditions like diabetes, obesity, diseases like cancer and lupus. The list is vast, and even conditions that are highly common like acne and high blood pressure that could have people denied coverage by some insurers, yet accepted by others with the downside of being charged a higher premium. The bill will allow states to decide what is deemed a preexisting condition for health care coverage purposes.
The bill allows insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions more money for health insurance. By denying people access to health care, a vicious cycle of poverty, and gross societal inequities will only persist.
The legislation, by ways of punishing people for common conditions and diseases, could result in excessive increases in insurance. The price of pregnancy under Trump care could increase by 425 percent due to insurance premium cost, which would severely increase the price of living and family planning for all Americans.
The GOP is aiding institutions that have historically worked against minority groups, when our own government should be actively advocating for the underprivileged. Although the Senate is expected to heavily revise the bill and even start one from scratch, it is clear that Senate Republicans will still feed into the agenda of fellow Republicans in order to appease the party and serve their own agenda.
In an effort to repeal Obamacare, the new bill does not justify a complete overturning of the basic rights of American people. Once again, our trust in the system has been violated, as it has been made apparent that laws put in place that affect us all will only be created to serve the interests of those in power.