Our senators and representatives have returned from their July recess, when they supposedly asked their constituents what they thought about the newest healthcare plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the Senate’s version of the AHCA bill, and more amendments are being discussed prior to a delayed August recess.

Our senators and representatives have returned from their July recess, when they supposedly asked their constituents what they thought about the newest healthcare plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the Senate’s version of the AHCA bill, and more amendments are being discussed prior to a delayed August recess.
In attempts to discredit CBO analyses, critics have charged that the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare (ACA) was wrong. However it is important to note that their original predictions of the 2017 premiums are correct to within 1%, and it was details, not the overall numbers, that needed adjustments.
Much of our current ACA plan is paid for by taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and eliminating those taxes was the Republican’s first priority. Conservatives seem unconcerned with stabilizing the markets or with making premiums affordable for vulnerable Americans. It is apparent that their goals are NOT to fulfill candidate Trump’s often-repeated promise to give us BETTER, CHEAPER insurance for EVERYONE. If GOP plans become law, there will be skimpier health plans and higher deductibles.
To make healthcare cheaper, plans would need some real reforms and serious cost-containment in the areas of medical expenses, drug costs, doctor's salaries (especially specialists), administrative salaries and overhead, stylish hospital settings, and insurance companies' exorbitant profits. Other advanced countries spend half what we do and receive better outcomes. It is time to look at other options.
The conservatives’ proposed overhaul of the 1965 Medicaid act would be an enormous change to an institution that many rely upon. The federal government would no longer supply a percentage of the money spent by states, but instead federal grants would be capped and would not keep up with rising costs. Even Republican governors are dismayed by these changes which would force them into impossible choices for their citizens as most state budgets are already in crisis.  
Medicaid cuts would directly affect millions, from the oldest (67 percent of seniors in nursing homes) to the the youngest (40% of children, many born with handicaps). But cuts will more indirectly affect whole communities, especially those in rural areas. In many counties, the hospital is a major employer, and these same hospitals greatly rely upon Medicaid  ments to keep their doors open. Medicaid pays for 50% of the births in this country and medicaid reimbursements are especially critical for expensive units such as obstetrics and emergency rooms.

Also at issue: coverage for pre-existing conditions. Without the ACA’s essential benefit provision, there is no guarantee that expensive treatments will be covered, even if a condition itself is supposedly insured. In an unfriendly market, expensive treatments for conditions such as cancer could be excluded. This is a backdoor for getting the sick out of the market place.

Conservatives’ goals are entitlement reform, driving people toward private, unregulated insurance. To them, health care is NOT a right, but a personal responsibility. They want government out of healthcare entirely, and have no desire to provide care that is affordable. Their claim that government gets between patients and their doctors, ignores the fact that insurance  profits are the real obstacles. Those who have medicare usually find that government is less of a hinderance to good medical care than are insurance providers who base their decisions on profit margins. No model is perfect, but so far ours has proven to be the most expensive in the world.

Yes, the insurance markets must be stabilized, and premiums lowered. (They have been rising for decades.) But tax cuts for the wealthy and slashing medicaid will accomplish neither of those goals.

Catherine Rhoades writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.