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AHCA – Winner or loser?

March 22, 2017

It doesn’t really matter what Congress does with the AHCA, because it will stand or fall on public perception.

So,  what do the people who will have to use it think of it so far?  As always, the best way to find out about public perception is to ask.

(Note:  These comments were made before the latest round of changes on Monday.)

Dan, age 61, pipefitter, grosses about $42,000 a year when he works.

“It sucks. It discriminates against older people for both age and health reasons. I’m 61, and I’ve worked hard physically all my life. I have a bad back, arthritis in my hands, and only one and a half functioning lungs, because of a car wreck 30 years ago. My take home pay is usually less than $35,000, and I sure as hell can’t afford to pay out half of that for insurance.”

Meg, 28, divorced, no kids, an administrative assistant, grosses about $28,000 annually.

“I think it would be better if we just went back to the old way of getting insurance.  Except maybe put all the old and sick people on something like Medicare or Medicaid sooner, like maybe at 50 or 55.  I can only afford Obamacare because I get a subsidy, and I’m not sure how this tax credit thing would work.  Unless I got some kind of payment at the beginning of the year or once a month I couldn’t afford insurance, so how is that any different from how it works now?”

Paul, student, 21, works part-time, averaged about $12,000 a year for the past three years.

“Well, I graduate this June so maybe I’ll get a better job with insurance. In fact I don’t know how I could afford insurance unless I get it from work. I still owe almost $21,000 in student loans. I don’t have my own insurance now, but I’m on my parent’s policy. I hope they keep that part. “

April, married, an LPN who works on call, grosses about $40,000 annually.

” It’s all a big joke.  All this screwing around is just politicians trying to get votes. I work in healthcare, and I can barely afford my OB visits. I sure can’t afford to put money in some goofy savings account.  But I guess since Obamacare is going broke, we have to have something.”

Miranda, 32, works  in a large retail chain store, averages about $16,000 a year, working 29 hours a week (which is all that she is scheduled to work.) She goes to school part time and hopes to be able to work in the tech field when she graduates.

“I’m scared I’ll lose what insurance I have now. They don’t say how prescriptions will be handled. I hope I will be able to get more hours if the employer mandates and all that crap goes away. “

Here’s the interesting part of this.  Every single one of these people voted for President Trump.

Do they blame him for the AHCA mess?  Yes and no.

All of them said they think that Republicans are trying to dump any government healthcare.  They have hope that President Trump will try to make it more fair, but they aren’t sure he can control Congress, now that all the hard-right members are opposing everything except a full repeal and have no immediate replacement ready to go.

They do seem to think that he shouldn’t have started with repealing Obamacare, simply because no one has seen any of the increased income from tax cuts or the end of the mandates, and especially because it is now obvious that Republicans didn’t have a plan of any kind to replace it.

They wonder if maybe he is pushing too hard to get a new plan passed quickly, but they also acknowledge that if Obamacare collapses next year, something would have to be in the works to replace it.

Asked if they understand that the government has to know what the costs for health insurance will be before any of the other stuff can happen, they agree but say that understanding it doesn’t make them any more able to afford normal annual healthcare, much less anything unexpected.

Asked if they would vote for the new plan if they could, three said no, and two said yes.Two said that they may drop insurance altogether if they can’t afford it. That doesn’t bode well for the Thursday vote.

To a person, they say they will do what they have always done…hang in there and try to roll with the punches.

From → op-ed

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