Well, we're back to the Groundhog Day fire drill about access to health care again. I'm so glad. Really. I was getting so complacent thinking that we'd all be fine since maybe the Affordable Care Act covers radiation poisoning. You know, just in case the Rocket Man gets mad enough at the dotard and launches a missile our direction. This may be that "sick of winning" feeling we were warned about.
Strangers are emailing me to tell me to urge Sen. Lisa Murkowski to vote against the newest death panel offering called the Graham-Cassidy bill. Jimmy Kimmel is begging people to call their senators to oppose the bill. The AARP, and every other group that uses just letters with the exception of the KKK and NRA, is opposed. The bill is so bad for Alaskans the power brokers in Washington, D.C., who want this bill to pass, have offered Murkowski a really sweet bribe. See, their plan is so terrible, they have offered a special pass for Alaska. We can keep Obamacare if our senior senator votes to take it away from the rest of Americans! If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is. Oh, here's another way we can keep it — she can vote no. It is immoral to vote to take away something from our countrymen and women in other states in order for us to keep what we already have.
Premera, the biggest health insurance company in Alaska, announced the 2018 premiums will be dropping by 26.5 percent. That's great news. Much of the credit goes to the work of the state insurance division. That's the way it's supposed to work. States manage the federal assistance for their citizens to achieve affordable coverage. It helps to have a governor who isn't trying to sabotage the system for some political points he hopes to cash in during an election year.
The board of directors of the National Association of Medicaid Directors condemned the Graham-Cassidy bill. They had several issues, but one was particularly conservative. They wondered how this could possibly be considered without knowing how much it was going to cost. Voting before a Congressional Budget Office report seemed irresponsible. They have a point.
This bill would have been better for America if Shawn Cassidy and Graham Nash went on a camping trip with a case of beer and hammered it out. I wish I was kidding. The AARP sent out an update to their members. Just stop there. So we are clear I am not a senior citizen, not that there's anything wrong with that. They represent a lot of people and broke down the coverage by state. Under the ACA, a 60-year-old adult living in Alaska making $25,000 a year currently pays $1,140 for coverage. Under Graham-Cassidy, for the same coverage and income, they would pay $28,126. THAT'S $3,126 MORE THAN THEIR YEARLY INCOME. How can you consider health insurance to be "affordable" if it is more than what you make in a year? Good grief.
Remember that thing about "death panels" a few years back? Oh, this is what they were talking about. You can just drop dead, Fred, and we'll all call it freedom. Wahoo! In the meantime, the guy who was appointed to run health care for the country is flying around in a private jet like he's on a frequent flyer plan. Hey Grandma, we can't afford your nursing home because Secretary Price likes the $300,000 worth of snacks on the jet.
It isn't lost on me that not one email, phone call, post or plea has asked me to contact Sen. Dan Sullivan. Why do you think that is? He's a sure thing to vote against Alaskans. I have to hand it to him, he's got that whole "dance with the one that brung ya" thing figured out. They say "jump" and he says "how high?" Sullivan and his family are covered by the government, so, he's good.
The attitude from a certain political party and their media outlets is, "Congratulations, the healthy people are paying for the sick people." You don't say. That's the whole point of insurance. It's like buying into a lottery that you never want to have to cash in on. Wouldn't it be fantastic if you paid your premiums every month, your whole life and you NEVER had to file a claim because you and your kids and your wife were so brilliantly healthy that it would shock you to know they have magazines in the waiting room. Wow. Would that be a bummer? Would you feel totally ripped off that you never got to use that money you'd been sending in? If you felt jilted that your hard-earned dollars were going to pay for some preemie kid's breathing machine and a ventilator for the lunch lady's husband, you have bigger issues than a doctor can see you for.
Thanks to Murkowski for her strong spine. Suggestion to Sullivan to grow one. Good health to you, Alaska. Winter is coming.
Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.
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