To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Observercast

The Great Divide

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BY SHARON MARTIN

Calling the Senate’s healthcare bill the Better Care Reconciliation Act [BCRA] is a little like calling diet soda a healthy alternative to water. Most people see it that way, too.

According to the Fox News poll, only 27% of those asked are fine with the BCRA. The NPR/PBS Marist Poll puts that number in the teens. Yes, there is still a divide in this country, but it may be messier and more lopsided than most people think.

I mean, do a quarter of the people in your community really believe that children with disabilities and people too young for Medicare but too ill to work should lose their Medicaid funding? Yes, that able-bodied alcoholic nephew of yours should get his act together and get a job. But what about the couple with two kids and two minimum wage jobs, neither of which offer insurance? Are they just collateral damage? And perhaps what your able-bodied nephew really needs is mental health care or a good drug treatment program. Neither of those is in the BCRA.

Are supporters OK cutting funds for preventive care so that 400 wealthy families get a tax break?

Let’s have another poll. What if we asked, “Would you be willing to pay a healthcare tax instead of a healthcare premium so that everybody had health insurance?”

Would our healthcare be as good? Would the cost of healthcare come down? Ask someone who lives in Canada or France or Australia. The average life expectancy is higher in all three of those countries. In fact, out of 228 countries, the United States is No. 53 on the average life expectancy scale. Of course, if you’re wealthy and white, you might do better than average. If you’re black and poor, you might do much worse. And there’s the real divide.

Some people in this country have access to preventive care. Preventive care saves lives. Millions of people are in danger of losing the preventive care they were finally able to access under the Affordable Care Act. The ACA wasn’t perfect, but the GOP’s so-called replacement is much worse. You’ve called your senators. You’ve gathered and marched. So far, so good, but now is not the time to let up.

Too many legislators in this divided country believe some people are more deserving than others. They will come back from recess with patches and bribes. Under the patches, it will still be a bad bill that benefits the few at the expense of the many. We can’t let it become law.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer