Something extraordinary happened last week in the House of Representatives when the American Health Care Act passed by just two votes. Politicians were willing to push aside the concerns of their constituency in order to cast a vote on purely political grounds.

It did not matter that version 2.0 of the AHCA went further to take away protections from millions of vulnerable Americans than its beta-version, or even that most Americans wanted to keep the Affordable Care Act and fix it (61 percent) vs. repeal and replace it (37 percent).

The only thing that seemed to matter to this newly empowered group of extremist Republican lawmakers was that they hold strong to an ideological position that health care is just another commodity to be bought and sold and that the free market is the real cure-all. If people actually get hurt in the process, well that’s the price these politicians are happy to pay.

Our representative in the U.S. Congress, Randy Weber, doesn’t believe that anyone in his district would lose health insurance or pay higher premiums under the proposed legislation. This is an astounding position to take given the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that 24 million people would lose health insurance and that premiums would go up for many, especially older and sicker, Americans.

This was before the bill stripped away additional insurance protections, giving states the power to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions and to dilute the services they actually cover. We are left to surmise that, either Weber values his “alternative facts” more than the real ones, or he is willing to lie to his constituents about what he voted for and why he voted for it.

But, here’s the good news. First, there’s no chance that anything resembling the House version of AHCA will ever be passed in the Senate. Second, come November 2018, we the people will have the opportunity to hold our representatives accountable for their reckless decisions and vote them out of office. Third, there is a solution to this whole health care mess, and even President Trump thinks it’s great!

That solution is the oft-misunderstood, unfairly maligned single-payer universal health care. The United States is one of the only major, industrialized countries in the world not to have universal health care. The limited versions we do have, Medicare and Medicaid, are more cost-efficient than private insurance. The Commonwealth Fund found the United States to rank dead last among a group of 11 industrialized nations in health care efficiency and in the middle of the pack on health care outcomes.

Who ranked first? The United Kingdom, which has single-payer universal health care. We need to start coming around to the idea that health care is a human right, not a commodity or a political poker chip. I think most Americans really believe this to be the case. We can start the process by kicking out our oblivious representatives from the halls of Congress, not 24 million people from the rolls of health insurance.

Dr. Ramzi Dakour

lives in Beaumont.

(35) comments

Steve Fouga

"We must see health care as a human right"

I agree wholeheartedly.

Mike Zeller

Dr. Ramzi Dakour you are correct sir. The repeal of ACA and replacing it with AHCA had absolutely nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with politics. Your article was "right on the money", "you hit the nail on the head", and "you hit it out of the ball park". I couldn't agree more.

Mark Stevens

Absolutely Correct, Doctor!!
The present health care "insurance" system is not a system and isn't really "insurance."
What it does is allow a bunch of companies who call themselves insurers to take a bite (some call it "mordita") out of the flow of health care money, without doing much but pushing paper (or computer buttons) and rigging the "system" to deny "insurance" to those who need it most.
"Socialized" medicine? Well, Congressmen get lavish health care benefits. The Military has an excellent system, which they doubtless earn with their service. Many veterans, disabled not, get some degree of health care paid for largely by the government.
Health care might just be a little less expensive if we could get the pigs out of the trough--and by that I mean the insurers and those congressmen to whom the lavishly "contribute."
Mark W. Stevens

Josh Butler

VA healthcare has many problems, including long wait times to get actual care. Also, Congress is a finite, controlled population. Universal care will not work well in a country with porous borders.

Carlos Ponce

"This is an astounding position to take given the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that 24 million people would lose health insurance and that premiums would go up for many, especially older and sicker, Americans."
READ the CBO report, doctor. The CBO reported those numbers on the assumption that without a mandate that many would CHOOSE not to have insurance. And the "older" Americans would have tax credits to offset the increased costs in premiums. Of course, these FACTS would not fit your misleading narrative so you omit them.
CHOICE to buy or not buy - the American way of doing things.
ACA - you must buy our product whether you want to or or not. That sounds FASCIST to most.

Mike Zeller

Wrong !!!

Carlos Ponce

What's wrong about my post, Mike? If you bother to look at the bill's text you will see everything in my post is factual.

Doyle Beard

Grand Slam Carlos

Doyle Beard

Actually Carlos Grand Slam walkoff

Curtiss Brown

Choice to buy or not buy? Like choosing between insurance for healthcare and owning an iPhone? Health for those who can afford it and death for those who can't. That's your model Carlos. Fortunately, except for a few people who don't know that there is no one on base for a walk-off home run, most Americans are throughly exhausted with the insurance model.

Carlos Ponce

"Health for those who can afford it and death for those who can't.
Read the CBO report, Curtiss. The people who leave will do so voluntarily according to the CBO report, not because they can't afford it but because they CHOOSE to spend their money on other things, perhaps a Health Savings Account.

Josh Butler

Health for those that can afford it, death for those who can't.... Now that's the most simple strawman argument I have ever heard.

Jim Forsythe

Most people have preexisting conditions, thus letting insurance company's to charge significantly more .This will let the company's charge, who knows how much!
"MacArthur amendment led both moderate and conservative wings of House Republicans to reconsider their stances on the AHCA
The amendment allows insurers to charge enrollees in their 50s and early 60s more than younger enrollees. It also allows states to waive essential health benefits and certain sections of the community rating program. The revised version of the American Health Care Act weakens protections for insurance consumers with preexisting conditions; under this version of the bill, insurers would be able to charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition"

Some of the highlights of Trump care.
"Insurers can impose a one-year 30% surcharge on consumers with a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days
Insurers can charge older customers up to five times as much as younger customers; states can apply for waivers exempting insurers from this limit
Insures may be able to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage
No tax credits for out-of-pocket expenses"
States can apply  for waivers exempting insurers from the essential health benefits requirement 

These are essential health benefits requirement that could be exempt ,under Trump care.
"Under the ACA, health plans sold to individuals and small groups (employers with 50 or fewer employees) must include 10 essential benefits: emergency services, habilitative and rehabilitative services, inpatient care, outpatient care, maternity and newborn care, mental health and addiction treatment, lab tests, preventive care, prescriptions, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care."

Josh Butler

Have you ever heard that more competition drives down prices? We need more providers and more choices for insurance. That can't happen with government mandates completely smothering the entire industry. Also, copy and paste much?

Leigh Cowart

The government penalizing me for not having insurance is WRONG. It should be a choice. Available Insurance and competitive pricing is a human right.

Josh Butler

If patients want the government to pick and choose which doctors you can and can't see, and doctors want the government to set their salary and dictate what patients they can see, universal is the way to go. I personally think the ability to choose my doctor is a better option. Also, in order for universal health care to work semi efficiently, you must have strict immigration laws. I hear many liberals who think health care is a right, complaining about the sanctuary city bill just passed. You can't have it both ways.....

Jim Forsythe

  My insurance, I have now, limit what Doctor I can go to.
If everyone is using the same  universal health care, then you would have a choice, as all Doctors would be in plan, or have no one could be going to them unless they wanted to pay out of their pocket.

Josh Butler

again, you would have a choice of doctors that the government gives you. I would rather choose whatever doctor I want to go to. If you don't like the doctors in your plan, shop for a different plan. This would be possible without the government in the way. If you don't think universal care would limit your choices in care, then you don't fully understand economics.

Jim Forsythe

Just as Millions of others, my employer (I'm retired, but still covered by them) gives you few if any choices. My choice is
HMO or PPO by the same company They have a list of the Doctors I can use.

Curtiss Brown

Simple strawman argument.

Josh Butler

care to elaborate on your simple statement?

Jim Forsythe

Follow the money.
"Out of all the interest groups involved in the American health system, the current Republican proposal focuses on rewarding the country’s highest earners."
"The current health-care proposal is about rationing care to fund tax cuts for the U.S.’s highest earners"
"The two main tax cuts—together costing $275 billion over 10 years—apply only to those making over $200,000 a year, with 80 percent of the tax savings going to those making over $1 million. Those in the top tenth of 1 percent would get an average tax cut of about $197,000, while the top 400 earners in the country—a group of individuals who average $300 million in annual income—would receive an average tax cut of $7 million each."

"Donald Trump pledged during the campaign that he would not cut Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, while he now pledges only to protect the latter two."

Do away with Obama care, Trump care and go to True care. If we do not , then it will become Warren care , Cruz care or what ever party is in control. Each party ,when in control will want to change it to their care.

True care is single-payer universal health care in some form. Take away the money from  the insurance company's .and see a improvement in health care.
 

Josh Butler

Bring more competition into the market, see an increase in quality of care, and innovation. And a decrease in prices. I am not a fan of AHCA. I wanted a full repeal of ACA. BTW, money incentivizes innovation.

Miles Whittington

Human rights come from God. Not from government.

Kelly Naschke

Is it a "right" to smoke like a chimney...drink like a fish...eat like a pig....develop lung cancer, emphysema, COPD, liver disease, hypertension, and diabetes...and then expect someone that DOESN'T smoke, drink and works out and eats healthy to pay the other guy's health care?

Mike Zeller

In the world I live in their are lacerations, broken bones, burns, car accidents, industrial accidents, etc. Sh_t Happens, and so do accidents. You never know.

Josh Butler

Umm, if government paid for all health care, there would be less of an incentive to take care of yourself, since someone else is paying for your care.

Jim Forsythe

Not all people believe in God . Are you saying Human rights are based on God, and if you do not believe, you have no rights?
Man make laws, to cover all.
"Human rights are moral principles or norms, which describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being,"and which are "inherent in all human beings" regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status."


Carlos Ponce

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Creator = GOD.

Jim Forsythe

Nowhere in "The Declaration of Independence, could I find a reference to Human rights.
 

Carlos Ponce

I see the word MEN which refers not only the male gender but to all Humanity. I see the words "endowed their Creator" meaning GOD GIVEN.. I see " certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." which designates which rights are God given.
Her is another answer on Yahoo:
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=A0LEVicC5BRZrsUA6zgPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--?qid=20111124192645AAoFwjk&p=Meaning%20of%20the%20Preamble%20of%20the%20Declaration%20of%20Independence
" The Declaration of Independence claimed God given rights.
Rights given by God to the American people that governments cannot take away.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, not everyone was free, but it was a document that would provide the hope that some day it would be better.
The Declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident," Truth not lies. Self-evident - obvious.
" that all men are created equal," Created by God equal opportunities. Now when the Declaration was written not every one was free, but Thomas Jefferson knew that freedom had to be taken in small steps. Today you have the right to become a Doctor, a plumber, or a teacher. Will everyone become a Doctor? No, you will have to work starting in grade school - if you wait until you are a senior to start studying you probably will not become a Doctor.
"That they are endowed by their Creator" Endowed - blessed, bestowed provided by God. There is that wonderful word Creator again.
"With certain unalienable Rights" Unalienable - Rights that cannot be taken away by the government, the God Given Rights every person should have.
"That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Declaration of Independence did not guarantee Happiness, just that you have the right to look for happiness.
Life - Yes Life can be taken from you by a court of law, your liberty can also be taken by a court of law. But no one can make you happy or take away your happiness except you. You have the right to wake up every morning and say, I am going to be happy today.
The Declaration of Independence is a wonderful document. Our Founding Fathers did not just wake up one morning and think we have nothing better to do today, so let us have a Revolution. It was well thought out and well written."

Doyle Beard

Doctor people also have the right to know facts not half facts.

Kelly Naschke

If health care is a "human right" wouldn't it be incumbent on the individual, starting with himself, and the decisions that are made in preservation of this said "human right"?

Jarvis Buckley

Democrats are like Obamacare. Soon to only be a memory.👍

Diane Brodie

It's insulting to say Republicans don't care about people. The ACA is failing and the single payer system will make it worse. How do these liberals not know about the millions who LOST their insurance and the skyrocketing premiums no one can afford? The polls I read say 52% want to either repeal or repeal and replace.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.