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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

The Republican Healthcare Bill is Horrible for Alaska, Regardless of its Name

By Ghert Abbott


July 25, 2017
Tuesday PM

Dear Editor,

The first version of the Republican healthcare plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) raised premiums, increased deductibles, reduced coverage quality, lowered the subsidies that help people buy insurance, financially penalized senior citizens, and drastically cut Medicaid for rural states, all in order to pay for tax cuts to the top 1%. As a result, 24 million Americans were to lose their health insurance, 45,000 of them Alaskans, of which approximately 1,000 would have been Ketchikan residents. When Don Young provided one of the essential votes in the ACHA’s passage out of the House, he claimed there was no cause for concern as the Senate would substantially improve the legislation.

Well, when the AHCA got to the Senate, the only substantial change was that it was renamed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The Better Care Reconciliation Act is more or less the same as the American Health Care Act, only instead of 24 million Americans losing their health insurance, now only 23 million would be out of luck. So the BCRA would be just as disastrous for Alaskan’s healthcare as the AHCA. The AHCA/BCRA is simply beyond improvement, it is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation, written in secret without any public input, designed for the primary purpose of lowering the taxes of the extremely wealthy by cutting Federal healthcare spending.

Currently the BCRA is stalled and undergoing revisions which will either make no difference or further worsen its impact on coverage numbers and quality. Throughout the process, such endless revisions have been a tactic used to defer responsibility and create the illusion of improvement – ‘Congressman Don Young and Senator Dan Sullivan would like to comment, but they haven’t read the latest version of the bill and the latest version might be better!’

But not to worry, in the event that the Better Care Reconciliation Act cannot find the votes to pass, the Republican leadership has a backup plan: repeal without replace. This would only throw our healthcare system into utter chaos and cost 32 million Americans their health insurance!

Ghert Abbott
Ketchikan, Alaska


Received July 24, 2017 - Published July 25, 2017


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