Return to Point Zero

In the March of 2009, President Obama convened a health summit compromised of doctors, insurers, drug companies, consumer advocates and lawmakers. That July, Democrats presented a thousand-page plan that would become the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Late fall, both house and Senate approved their own versions. The battle was on amid accusations of death panels, grossly high premiums and lost coverage.

Dislike Obamacare or not, we talked, we argued, we fought, we yelled, we screamed, we lied about Obamacare, but it somehow passed.

Is Obamacare perfect? No, a lot of concessions were made to make it law. Would it be a better bill without those concessions? Who knows?

The thing is though, before the ACA a lot of people were using the emergency room as a doctor’s office, premiums were skyrocketing, in some years, by double percentage points, while valuable benefits were being lost, college kids were dropped from their insurance plans, and if you had a pre-existing coverage, chances are, you couldn’t find affordable health care.

Right or wrong, something had to be done. I’ve always considered Obamacare the first step in rectifying our Nations ridiculous healthcare system. I’ve always believed that the ACA would be improved on; identifying problems, fixing problems, always a work in progress.

As I write this, today there are 13 powerful, white, male Republican Senators working in secret to craft a bill to replace the ACA. That’s all we know about it. No discussions, no negotiations, no leaks.

Contrary to belief, this is not how the ACA was passed. In fact, this is not how laws are made, not here in America. Perhaps in some small banana republics, but not in the United States of America. Common sense dictates that the bill has to be somewhat similar to the House bill, in cost and content, otherwise the process starts over.

So why the secrecy? Why are the voices of a multitude of people; women, minorities, doctors, insurance and pharmaceutical companies not allowed to speak to their concerns?

Democrat or Republican, as an American, this is not the democratic process, this is not the American way, this is not who we are, and it should make you mad as hell.

Will Americans wake up next week to find that many once again must visit the emergency room for a child’s cold, that their college student has no access to healthcare, to outrageous premiums, to decreasing benefits and if you have a pre-existing condition, you’re simply too much of a risk for coverage.

A return to point zero on the baseline, where our healthcare industry chugged along, making huge profits for some, and painful decisions for most, a huge step backward that benefits few, and is shamefully problematic for most.

Is this going to be the new standard in America. Bills formulated in secrecy, with out debate?

Are you really fine with that?

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