The three Cuban American members of Congress from south Florida have made a deal with the devil, who we will refer to as President Donald Trump, to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and replace it with a new healthcare bill, which we will call ‘Anything But Obamacare’ (or ABO). Presently we have a bill proposed by the House of Representatives that was passed and sent to the U.S. Senate, which even the devil has labeled as “mean.” The Senate is now bandying about a bill, which the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan group that ‘scores’ bills proposed by the congress, has determined will leave 22 million Americans without health insurance.
It’s confusing, I understand, but that’s what they aim to do, confuse us. They want us to shrug our shoulders at some point and fall into the trap of believing the talking points we’re hearing from Republican members of congress. We’ve heard it dozens of time on television, read it in the written press and now listen to it from friends and acquaintances who parrot the lies: “Obamacare is melting down”, “Obamacare is unsustainable”, “Obamacare is bankrupt and will bankrupt us all”.
Then there are Senator Marco Rubio, and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, all south Florida stalwarts of republicanism. All three willing to risk the lives of more than 1.3 million Floridians who are Obamacare recipients, for their piece of a deal worked out with the devil. A pact which puts them on the front lines of passing an ABO in exchange for the president’s ear on foreign policy dealing with Cuba, Venezuela, and for that matter, most of the rest of Latin America.
We saw part of the deal played out in Miami recently when Trump himself flew down to south Florida to address an auditorium full of neo-Platt-Amendment anti-Cubans. The throng there that day adoringly praising the devil and chanting “USA, USA,” ignoring the fact that although they claimed to be there to help “regular” Cubans on the island, all they were thinking about was of themselves. And all led by who was once Little Marco to the president and is now known as the “president’s whisperer” on Latin American policy — especially Cuba and Venezuela.
What a farce!
In south Florida alone, where Rubio, Diaz-Balart and Curbelo are from, almost 630,000 would lose healthcare coverage if either the House or Senate version of ABO is passed.
And for what? A Senate bill* that offers the following:
- The CBO report says 22 million people would lose health insurance over the next 10 years, with people between 50-64 disproportionally impacted. The oldest people under 65 would pay five times more than younger people on the exchanges.
- Medicaid coverage for nursing home services could be cut as federal payments to states decline.
- Insurance companies would be required to accept all applicants regardless of health status. But the draft bill lets states ask permission to reduce required coverage, also called “essential health benefits,” which would give insurers some discretion over what they offer in their plans. That could result in “substantial increases” in costs for people who want those services, according to the CBO.
- People with disabilities would have to face the reality that services covered by Medicaid could be cut as federal funding to states declines over time.
- States could request waivers to opt out of requiring essential health benefits. If a state opted out of coverage for mental health care, the CBO says insurance that includes mental health care coverage could become “extremely expensive.”
- The working poor on Medicaid stand to lose big time. [It is important to note that these persons DO work, they just don’t make enough money to afford health insurance and therefore rely on Medicaid.] Federal funding for Medicaid expansion phases out between 2021 and 2023. Further reductions would start in 2025.
- Similar to the House bill; the Senate version would repeal ‘Obamacare’ taxes on corporations and the wealthy that pay for insurance subsidies. That would add up to about $563 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, according to the CBO.
Allow me to stress a fact one more time. Our three Cuban American members of Congress from the Miami area are willing to let more than 600,000 south Floridians (many of these, children and the elderly) worry (and some WILL die) about health care coverage for themselves and their families, all so that they can tell a small group of constituents that they are pressing the boot down on Cuba’s neck…
Heartless and immoral!
And still, I believe this action by Rubio, Diaz-Balart and Curbelo has been taken at great risk to all three — especially Curbelo, who still has no announced opponent for his congressional seat in the 2018 election. The three bandidos know that the persons they aim to please with their Cuba stance trumping (pun intended) healthcare coverage are excellent and regular voters — and also good campaign contributors.
The question to ponder then becomes whether the great majority affected by the ABO will participate at election time, and will they vote for or against our Faustian members of Congress?
Election Day 2018 is slightly more than 16 months away. We will know the answer then.
* Source of the bullet points, National Public Radio.