|GOP leaders work on a health bill|
By Tom Walker
I’ve been thinking lately about going back to work.
This will undoubtedly come as a news flash to many people I know, particularly my wife, Linda Haley Walker. I’ve been retired since 2010 because of health problems that have only gotten worse since then. Basically, I depend on oxygen-producing machines to keep me breathing.
Nevertheless, the way things are going in Washington D.C., I may be searching for a job soon.
I have perfectly good Medicare Advantage health insurance right now, but that may not be enough. Republican lawmakers, led by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, are searching diligently for a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with something that will have little to do with health care but will richly provide for the care and feeding of millionaires.
In its early stages, this ghastly cauldron of legislation, also known as Trumpcare, would have left 22 million Americans without health insurance. That included 15 million low-income people now covered by Medicaid, which led Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to Trump, to opine: "If they are able-bodied and they want to work, then they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do."
However, Jonathan Cohn points out in the Huffington Post that Conway is, once again, spreading alternate facts, also known as BS. “The majority of able-bodied adults on Medicaid already have jobs. The problem is that they work as parking lot attendants and child care workers, manicurists and dishwashers – in other words, low-paying job that typically don’t offer insurance. Take away their Medicaid and they won’t be covered.” The Kaiser Family Foundation also bears that out.
Senate Republicans are continuing to stir toil and trouble with their witches’ brew, adding a lizard’s leg here and an eye of newt there and hoping Americans won’t notice if the hell-broth they end up with still has the same massive health care cuts for the poor and tax breaks for the rich as before.
You don’t have to be an insurance wizard to see where this is going.
People who lose their coverage will flock to emergency rooms when they get sick, just as they did before the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA . Hospitals are required by law to treat anyone who comes to their ERs, whether the government provides insurance or not. So the unpaid hospital bills for these uninsured, also known as “free riders,” run up and will eventually be passed on to people who do have other forms of health insurance.
Many retirees, like myself, will be hit with higher premiums, which we will be hard-pressed to pay. So I’m thinking it may be time to return to work. And thanks to indeed.com, I’ve found some promising leads for grant writers and newspaper reporters – both of which I’m well qualified for. Unfortunately, the jobs all involve driving, air travel, working in an office. All of those are problematic right now.
No doubt, Ms. Conway has health coverage in her $180,000-a-year job, all covered by taxpayers, that lets her work part-time from her $8 million mansion about a half-mile from the White House.
More and more, this sounds like it belongs in The Hunger Games, not our government.