Statement on Senate Bill “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017”
June 27th, 2017
The American Solidarity Party believes that universal access to affordable, essential health care services is fundamental to securing every person’s right to life and human dignity from conception to natural death. While we recognize that there are a variety of viable systems for achieving universal healthcare, there can be no compromising on the goal of universal coverage, or on the principle of protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.
The latest healthcare bill to emerge from the Senate represents yet another drastic failure by the Republican Congressional leadership to protect all American citizens. In the name of lowering health insurance premiums for those who are relatively healthy, this bill would make changes that leave 22 million more Americans uninsured, according to the official non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis. In order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and fund more military and defense spending, it would cut federal funds for Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars. These are the funds that provide healthcare for our lowest income citizens, and long-term care for the disabled and elderly poor.
The so-called improvements in the Senate bill, as compared with the House bill, appear to primarily benefit insurance companies. The Senate bill increases subsidies available to purchase private health insurance for some Americans above the poverty line, but much of this money would end up in the hands of insurance companies instead of increasing access to care. To add insult to the already injurious bill, the Senate is also reportedly adding a six-month lock-out period for anyone who has more than a 63 day gap in coverage—a potentially deadly penalty for anyone struggling with unemployment or underemployment, who suddenly find themselves facing a costly illness.
While we acknowledge there are flaws in the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed, we call on Senators to reject any approach that moves away from universal access to affordable essential health services. It is time to put partisan posturing and ideological shibboleths aside and work toward non-partisan solutions that will protect the most vulnerable, and indeed all Americans, from preventable death and suffering.