Tuesday, October 23, 2018


It Seems to Me: Repeal measure ill-advised

  • Chisholm-Thomas-092817

The billionaire in the White House and Congress insist that Obamacare be stricken from memory and replaced with Trumpcare, health care reserved for special American patients.

I was taught, “to be worthy to serve the suffering.” Medicine is a sacred trust, an art, a calling, not a business. “One of the essential qualities of a physician is interest in humanity for the secret in the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.” The current bill advocated by the Republican majority is unworthy, uncaring and inhumane. It is business as usual, partisan and exclusive.

Fortunately, the AMA, the American and Catholic Hospital Associations, The American Medical Students Association and other groups, including AARP, are opposed to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment to H.R. 1628.

Unlike its rigid opposition to Medicare in 1965, the AMA states this latest effort to repeal or improve the ACA fails the principal of “first do no harm.” It would jeopardize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and destabilize access to affordable coverage and care.

In his recent letter to Senate leaders, Dr. James Madara, CEO of the AMA, urged Congress to focus on stable premiums, avoid any law that would cause the loss of insurance for those currently covered, those with pre-existing conditions, and continue the parental coverage provision. Dr. Madara insists that Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and other safety-net programs be adequately funded.

His letter reminds the Senate that per-capita caps fail to anticipate costs for medical improvements or the impact of public health epidemics, including opioid abuse. The AMA adds that allowing states to base premiums on health status could make insurance unaffordable and objects to eliminating the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund after 2018.

If the Senate passed the bill before the end of September as the Republicans desired under current rules, the CBO would not have had time to measure the cost or the effects of H.R. 1628 on more than 23 million Americans excluded from health insurance.

Who will care for those millions? There are approximately 1,200 free clinics in the nation, including Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie, serving the untouchables — for primary care only. Are we concerned; are we caring for the patient? Is the amendment to H.R. 1638 just?

There is a solution: America Care — financed equitably by taxes rather than premiums only the Brahmins can afford.

Dr. Chisholm, of Chippewa Falls, is a member of Veterans for Peace and the American Medical Association.

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