Effingham Daily News: What's in store for us if Trumpcare becomes law

http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/opinion/columns/jim-harvey-what-s-in-store-for-us-if-trumpcare/article_665ffc3b-37df-5ca5-a1b4-6b0a60c2b4e0.html

Our Congressional representative, John Shimkus, has just voted -- rather proudly and enthusiastically -- to pass his party’s American Health Care Act, commonly called “Trumpcare.” I thought at least some of you might be interested in what is in store for us if Trumpcare becomes law.

Did you know that “deductibles” are projected to increase an AVERAGE of $1,500 per year?

Did you know that, per U.S. government statistics, 84 percent of all of us over age 55 have a “pre-existing condition” and that Trumpcare will not only allow states to opt out of pre-existing conditions coverage, it will give those states more money if they do?

Do you know that Trumpcare will result in 24 million Americans losing their insurance coverage? That is an estimate, of course, but if it is even close to accurate, some pretty high quality studies estimate that that will result in about 24,000 more of us dying each year. That’s about twice the population of Effingham.

Are you aware that Trumpcare will impose what amounts to an additional “age tax” on us seniors. It will allow us to be charged premiums up to five times higher than our adult grandchildren will pay for the same insurance coverage. In one example, a 64 year old with annual income of $26,500 would face annual insurance premiums of $14,600! That’s just over 55 percent of that person’s total income!

The ACA, commonly called “Obamacare,” required that all health insurance policies cover certain “essential benefits.” Trumpcare, if enacted, will allow states to do away with that requirement. It will then be OK for companies to sell you a policy that won’t pay a dime for maternity care or hospitalization or emergency care or prescription drugs. Great “insurance,” right?

If you or someone you care about now depends on Medicaid for their health needs, including nursing home care, expect that care to be cut back or, for some, eliminated. Trumpcare cuts $880 billion from Medicaid.

If you are, for example, 40 years old and your pre-existing condition is asthma, expect your insurance premiums to go up by $4,300 per year. Diabetes? You’ll pay $5,600 more. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, $26,500 in increased premiums. And, if lung, brain or other serious cancer is the pre-existing condition of a 40 year old under Trumpcare, that poor soul will have to come up with an extra $72,980 to buy insurance -- or just die.

There are more examples, but that should be enough to give you an idea of what the real-life effects of Trumpcare will be for you, me, our families and our friends. I know that some of you have likely seen some politicians on TV telling you how “great” Trumpcare is: “It will provide better coverage, lower premiums, lower deductibles and pre-existing coverage is guaranteed.” I wish there was a nicer way to put this, but these Trumpcare cheerleaders fall into two categories: They are either naïve fools or they are lying through their teeth.

Trumpcare does, however, help some folks. With all the money they save by providing less care to fewer people, the “yes” voters in Congress are giving over $600 billion in tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations. The richest 400 U.S. taxpayers will each get a tax break of about $7 million -- per year!

So, now you have some idea of what those who voted for Trumpcare think we -- their constituents -- the people they are supposed to represent -- deserve in the way of healthcare.

I don’t know about you, but I think we deserve better -- much better. And, I think maybe we should keep this Trumpcare vote firmly in our minds when Mr. Shimkus once again asks us to return him to Congress to “represent” us.