Obama criticises Senate healthcare bill, asks Republicans to oppose it
The new healthcare bill proposed in the US Senate will dismantles the Affordable Care Act passed by the Obama Administration.world Updated: Jun 23, 2017 13:04 IST
Former President Barack Obama on Thursday severely criticised the proposed GOP Senate health-care bill that dismantles the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare by issuing a warning saying, “this bill will do you harm.”
By posting a nearly 1,000 word critique on Facebook, Obama wrote “I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.”
Within a few days, Senators will have to decide whether to support or vote against the 142-page bill, which was unveiled on Thursday.
The Senate bill is similar to the version of the House measure that passed last month. Trump has since called it “mean,” despite celebrating it at the Rose Garden with House Republicans. Democrats have blasted the Senate bill, with some calling it “meaner.”
The Affordable Care Act is perhaps the most significant domestic legislative achievement of Obama’s Presidency. Obama termed the GOP leadership’s bill “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” and called on Americans to push back against congressional Republicans.
“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family - this bill will do you harm,” the former president wrote. “And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”
Citing several reasons on how Trump’s proposed health-care bill is bad, “It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”
One of the main features of Obamacare, was its requirement that most people purchase health insurance. This was designed to address several problems, including the possibility that people would purchase coverage only when they got sick.
Higher rates of health insurance were also meant to reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals have to provide uninsured people in emergency departments. Neither the House nor Senate bills include this mechanism, known as the individual mandate, the Washington Post reported.
“After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics,” he wrote. “It’s about the character of our country -- who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.”
Republican senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee have said they opposed the current version and key votes such as Sens. Dean Heller and Susan Collins have also withheld support.
First Published: Jun 23, 2017 13:04 IST