By F. Douglas Stephenson, LCSW
Ocala Star Banner, May 18, 2017
I’m a retired clinical social work psychotherapist and have seen many patients worried about the future of health/mental health care. Congressman Ted Yoho’s recent vote for the GOP’s American Healthcare Act (AHCA) that repeals much of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare) gravely threatens the health of thousands of his District 3 constituents.
The GOP bill would take $880 billion out of Medicaid, and another $312 billion out of subsidies that help working families buy private coverage through the ACA exchanges. Instead of helping people get care, this money would be diverted to give an $800 billion tax-break windfall to people with incomes over $200,000, as well as big insurance and drug companies. The rest of us would get virtually no tax relief.
If Rep. Yoho had supported expansion of Medicaid, many could now afford new coverage through the exchange. All told, his vote threatens to strip coverage from thousands of people in our district, would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, boost premiums for people over 40, and take tens of millions of dollars from our hospitals and clinics.
The ACA is deeply flawed. It left 28 million Americans uninsured and millions more with unaffordable premiums, deductibles and copayments. But the GOP plan would make things much worse. Instead of moving backward, we should move forward from the ACA to a “Medicare for All” plan like the one proposed Rep. John Conyers (H.R. 676).