“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” President Donald Trump, February 2017.

When Donald Trump campaigned for president in 2016 he said, “My first day in office we’re going to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something better.” This month (three years later) he sent a series of tweets: “The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the (2020) Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. The Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great HealtCare (sic).”

In other words, Trump has done nothing for three years or what Republicans say, “You didn’t take what he said literally? We take him figuratively.” Still not sure what that means. Try talking to your spouse or significant other “figuratively.”

In July 2017 the Republicans came out with the “American Health Care Act.” It basically killed Obamacare without replacing it. It would have kicked 24 million Americans off their healthcare coverage by 2026 and it was even worse if you were old, sick and/or poor. The bill would have repealed the individual mandate and the employer mandate, dramatically cut Medicaid spending and eligibility, eliminated tax credits for healthcare costs, abolished some taxes on high earners, and altered rules concerning pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits. It did provide billions in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. Luckily seven Republican senators voted against this bill and it failed in the Senate 45-55.

In California, it’s mandatory that to drive your vehicle on the road you must have auto insurance. So what’s the big deal about mandating health care insurance for those 18 and older? Think about this … if you were an insurance company would you only insure drunk drivers, people that speed and those who cause lots of accidents? Yet that’s what Medicare does. It only insures those 65 and older. Statistically speaking, who has more health problems, a 25-year-old or a 75-year-old person?

At the end of the day, what’s heath care really about? Money!

UnitedHealth Care (“UNH”) is the nation’s largest healthcare provider with annual revenues of $185 billion and a market capitalization of $218 billion. Its stock price on Jan. 1, 2009 was $28.33. (President Obama was about to be sworn into office.) Today it’s $226. It’s the fifth largest U.S. corporation by total revenues and has 300,000 employees. In 2017, its CEO David Wichmann made $17.4 million. It also owns Optum, which is used in four out of five hospitals in the U.S., and also Optum Rx, the pharmacy care partnering with 67,000 pharmacies across the nation.

Now throw in the other large health insurers like Anthem/Blue Cross, Aetna, Humana, and CIGNA. Do you think they will want to go for “Medicare For All” and dismantle the company or might they lobby Congress with millions of campaign contributions and think tanks and editorials producing opinion papers on why it’s best to leave things status quo?

Health care premiums have been increasing dramatically each and every year, especially if you’re a private sector employer/employee. Back in January 2018 Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway (with 1.2 million combined employees) partnered to curb health care costs and create better medical services for their employees. They are calling this venture “Haven.” A year later they haven’t come up with anything yet. But if nothing else they’re trying to disrupt the stranglehold on the medical industry by pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefits managers, health care insurers and hospitals.

Next time you’re talking with a friend, ask them their thoughts on medical costs. I totally get why you would vote Republican if you’re self-employed or wealthy. But if you’re not, why would you vote against your own self-interest? Why would you vote for a political party that’s trying to take away your family’s medical coverage or charge you higher medical costs so corporations and the wealthy can make even more money? If you’re someone with limited education and job skills, why would you vote Republican?

I believe it comes down to the Big 5 social issues for those on the right: God, Guns, Gays, Gestation and Ganja. They’ll overlook the fact that they’re getting screwed by corporations as long as those godless gays aren’t trying to take our guns away, killing babies while smoking that devil weed.

Congrats, Fox News!

Matthew Owen resides in Eureka.

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