Thursday, May 4, 2017

GOP Promises Health Care Bill Won’t Eliminate Pre-existing Conditions


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Republicans on Thursday rammed their revised health care bill through the House of Representatives, packed with amendments and additional spending, to seize a narrow victory with a thin majority of votes. Gaining the same hard-fought adoption of the Senate, however, will prove to be a much heftier feat. Despite the skepticism of Senate Republicans, the opposition of uncharacteristically united Democrats, and concerns that the Congressional Budget Office has not reviewed the financial impact of the legislation, the biggest debate involves a concession called the MacArthur Amendment, which honors the president’s promise to guarantee pre-existing conditions. “If you have a pre-existing condition, this bill won’t touch it,” Trump said. “You get to keep your pre-existing condition forever. Our health care act won’t eliminate any pre-existing conditions you have.”

Revised Health Care Act: Less Care, Right Amount of Apathy

The first iteration of Trumpcare, to the chagrin of staunch conservatives, failed miserably in both chambers of Congress. The provisions fared so poorly among the GOP and Democrats that Speaker Paul Ryan recalled the bill before it was put to an official vote. The prevailing consensus among far-right Republicans was that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) provided too much care. Critics derided the bill as “Obamacare Lite.”

Repealing the ACA, which has enjoyed more success than condemnation, was never intended to remedy the law’s existing shortcomings. It was meant to strip access from problematic segments of the population -- primarily poor, infirm, immigrant and LGBTQ communities. Trumpcare fell short of achieving those goals. Hardliners criticized the scarcity of hate, discrimination and inaccessibility they were pledged.

Although the revised plan offers more to insurers and other businesses that profit from medical expenses, lawmakers in the Senate appear less enthusiastic about its potential.

“The bill is expected to undergo sweeping changes that might leave it unrecognizable -- perhaps stripping away some of the provisions that helped earn the support of hard-right House members and ultimately secure its passage,” explained the New York Times.

But for the seemingly liberal pledge to leave pre-existing conditions alone, the MacArthur Amendment strikes a political balance its authors believe will appeal to both parties.

MacArthur Act Will Let You Keep Your Pre-Existing Conditions

As CBS observed, “This ban on disqualifying consumers from health insurance coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions was one of the major pillars of the Affordable Care Act, but it has also been one of the act’s more costly features.”

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who wrote the new language in his eponymous corollary, proclaimed that nothing in the current version of the GOP health care bill will prevent patients from keeping their pre-existing conditions. The repackaged Trumpcare proposal also assists insurance companies through waivers that allow them to set higher premiums for consumers who choose to give up their pre-existing medical conditions.

The Center for American Progress estimated that insurers could charge additional fees on premiums for more complex ailments: $4,270 for asthma, $17,060 for pregnancy, $26,180 for rheumatoid arthritis, $71,880 for lung cancer and $140,510 for metastatic cancer, for example.

“The MacArthur Amendment is a tremendous win for America,” boasted President Trump. “You get to keep your pre-existing condition forever. Our health care act won’t eliminate any pre-existing conditions you have. Let’s say a woman finds a lump in her breast. Sad. But it’s her choice. This is a pro-choice bill. I’m a swashbuckler, like Andrew Jackson, I’m walking the wild side. So, she has a lump. Probably a bad thing. And she can keep it. Nothing in my bill will interfere with that or remove it or make it go away. You know, she can even let it turn into full-fledged breast cancer.”

This is where the waivers come into play, according to the president.

“Now, maybe she decides she doesn’t want to keep her pre-existing condition, which has gotten a lot worse,” Trump continued. “As the MacArthur Amendment says, health insurance companies can’t limit access to coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions. It says that. I had Ivanka read it to me. Right there in black and white. So, this woman pays like $100,000 to have a radical mastectomy. The lady gets cured, gets to live a longer but uglier life as a boobless ironing board, nothing worth grabbing, and the insurance companies make a bunch of money to create jobs. That’s the beauty of Trumpcare. It’s the greatest job creation machine since God. Think about it, you know and people don’t realize, every time in history when a business has gotten filthy rich, it passes those profits back down by opening positions and hiring more workers.”

Some economists, however, have questioned the inclusion of pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Trump defended the language and intent of the amendment.

“Until the baby is delivered, the condition is pre-existing,” said the president. “And the $17,000 price tag is there because pregnancy, not childbirth but pregnancy, falls into the cancer category. An unborn baby is basically like a cancer. There’s this parasitic entity inside the woman -- making her sick, fat, just gross looking, and literally stealing food from her body. Not many people know that. Why? So if some knocked-up broad decides to treat this pre-existing condition, she’s asking a doctor to remove what’s essentially a tumor.”

Progressive San Narciso County pundit Ferrel Michaels, whose terrible and abysmally low-rated program on KCUF Radio manages to stay on air, attacked the MacArthur Amendment as a specious tool meant to pander to the left.

“I think there’s something poetic about it being called the MacArthur Amendment,” Michaels opined. “As in General Douglas MacArthur. Despite his decorated career up to 1942, a series of tactical blunders and bad decisions lost him the Philippines and forced his escape to Australia. Right at that disgraceful point, George Marshall pressures President Eisenhower into giving MacArthur the Medal of Honor, even though Ike noted that the general hadn’t actually performed any acts of valor as required by law. That’s what we’ve got with this bill. A bungled perversion of something previously successful, which will probably lead to loss of life, and a president who slaps a medal on it to save face and shovel the propaganda before the truth hits.”

(c) 2017. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. All articles are works of satire. See disclaimers.

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