The spectacle provided by the House Republicans celebrating passage of the AHCA in the Rose Garden on May 4 was sickening.
More sickening was the fact Miami U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, who represent two of three districts in Florida — and the nation — with the highest number of people insured under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), voted against their constituents’ interests.
Republican criticism of Obamacare is that it takes away personal liberty to “choose” the level of coverage by the individual. The problem with that approach is that a preexisting law (EMTALA, signed by Ronald Reagan) forces hospitals to care for people who have no insurance and can’t pay.
So, uninsured and under-insured ultimately are covered by the public, but in the most expensive and inefficient way, with the hospital emergency room as the point of service.
Yet for all the talk from Republicans about the shortcomings of Obamacare, not one has proposed repeal of EMTALA as a disincentive for those who can afford, but choose to be without insurance, from still getting care paid for by others using emergency rooms.
The idea that a young healthy person should be able to buy a cheap, bare-bones plan because they are well, ignores the reality that illness or accident can strike at any moment. Healthcare is unlike any other commodity. No one can predict when, if, or what level of care we may need.
After celebrating with House Republicans, the president congratulated Australia’s Prime Minister on Australia’s “great system,” apparently completely ignorant of the fact that they have universal coverage.
Shame on him, shame on the House Republicans and especially shame on Diaz-Balart and Curbelo for supporting a plan to deprive Americans of healthcare.