Who will protect us from the Trump and Republican attacks on our health care?

By Larry Kilian and Mary Jane Kilian

Right now, pull out your car insurance policy and look at what you are paying to pay for uninsured motorists. It’s surprisingly high, given that the vast majority of drivers do have insurance as required by law. However, if all motorists were not required to have insurance, the cost would go up astronomically. Apply the same analysis to predict what will happen to the cost of our health insurance if everyone doesn’t have to be covered.

Trump and the Republicans have repealed the individual mandate to have health insurance. Their capacity for analysis has been blinded by misguided ideology in their world of “alternate” facts where truth doesn’t matter. The Congressional Budget Office tells us premiums in the individual insurance market are going to go up ten percent each year. The number of people with insurance will decrease by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million by 2027—a very large increase in uninsured patients.

It’s hard to explain Trump’s repeal policy with no plan of how to replace or improve how we pay for health insurance—no regard for the millions of people who will no longer be insured!

On the other hand, perhaps the Republicans do have some inkling of the dire effect of their attack—the repeal of the individual mandate will not take effect until 2019, after the coming mid-term 2018 elections.

We need representatives in Albany with the courage to fight back against this attack on our health care system. The repeal of the individual mandate is going to exacerbate the long-term problem of the rising cost of health care insurance.

  • The cost of employer provided health insurance has more than tripled since 1999: from less than $6,000 to more than $18,000 with the employee paying more than $5,000 a year
  • Seniors on Medicare have seen their co-pays increase. For example, seniors with Aetna for their supplemental insurance have seen their co-pays triple from $10 in 2013 to $30 in 2016.
  • A father of a family of four who lost his job when his employer declared bankruptcy has only been able to work as an independent contractor. He pays $20,404 a year for medical insurance plus a $10 co-pay for his primary care doctor and $40 for a specialist; and he pays $2,849 for dental insurance. He was just notified that his health insurance is going to go up almost 8% next year. This is outrageous!

One reason our health insurance costs are out of control is the obscenely excessive salaries of the health insurance executives. For example, the Aetna CEO was paid $18.7 million in 2016, up 8% from 2015 while our co-pays have been rising dramatically.

Right now, pull out your health insurance records to find your health insurance company. Then click on the link below, scroll down and click on each man’s picture to find out how much your CEO is making.

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/health-insurance-ceo-pay-tops-out-at-22m-2016

If we can find a doctor to head up the CDC—our country’s most important agency for public health—for $375,000 a year, why are our health insurance executives making tens of millions?

We need representatives in Albany with the courage to protect us from the obscenely excessive salaries of health insurance executives and from the following disturbing trends:

  • Corporations are drastically reducing the number of people to whom they offer medical insurance—the U.S. Census Bureau tells us that only 55.7% of the U.S. population had health insurance provided by their employer in 2016. In New York, it is below 50%.
  • The percentage of alternate arrangement jobs (e.g. independent contractors and part time workers without health insurance) in the US has increased by 50% from 2005 to 2015.
  • Drug companies are raising the price of drugs without any regard for the welfare of the people who have to pay the increasing prices or stop using the drugs they desperately need.
  • A congressional report found that the 20 most commonly prescribed brand name drugs for seniors paid by Medicare Part D increased an average of 12% each year from 2012 to 2017. For 12 of these 20 drugs, manufacturers increased prices by over 50% over the 5 years.

Our health care system is under attack by Trump, the Republicans in Congress, and big corporations. Yet we can find no evidence in the legislative records of our State Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Byrne of any attempt to protect us from the Republican attacks and the rising costs of our health insurance.

We need representatives in Albany with the courage of Teddy Roosevelt, a New York Republican who became President in 1901. He began by filing a suit to break up the largest railroad monopoly at the time controlled by 3 of the most powerful men in the country: J. P. Morgan, E. H. Harriman and James Hill. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled in the people’s favor. He filed 42 more suits to protect people from bad monopolies which gave him the reputation as a “Trust-Buster”, but actually he did much more to protect people from corporate greed through regulation. He started USDA inspection to protect people from adulterated meat and through the Hepburn Act gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the power to regulate excessive railroad freight rates hurting consumers.

Who is our Teddy Roosevelt? Please contact Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Byrne and tell them you want them to protect us from the Republican and corporate attacks on our health care.

Sources:

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53300

http://files.kff.org/attachment/2016-Employer-Health-Benefits-Survey-Release-Slides

https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Manufactured%20Crisis%20-%20How%20Devastating%20Drug%20Price%20Increases%20Are%20Harming%20America%27s%20Seniors%20-%20Report.pdf

http://www.infoshare.org/main/Economic_Analysis_New_York_Health_Act_-_GFriedman_-_April_2015.pdf

https://krueger.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/akrueger/files/katz_krueger_cws_-_march_29_20165.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt#Presidency_(1901–1909)

Posted in Important Issues, News Articles.