How can you call it a “health care plan” when it would deny millions of people insurance and raise medical costs for everyone else?
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 4, 2017
The American Health Care Act, passed by Republicans in the House last week, is inhumane, an abomination, heartless and a death sentence for millions of Americans. There is no language too strong to describe the cruelty of what the GOP just did. If the AHCA becomes law, it will lead to massive death and pain-filled, excruciating lives. It’s as if the GOP has voted to commit an act of war against American citizens.
It allows states, for example, to opt out of a provision in the current law that prevents insurance companies from gouging people with preexisting conditions. That’s why the “opt out” provision is in the bill. It’s there for a reason. It’s obvious millions of people will get priced out of insurance altogether.
It also slashes funding for Medicaid, leaving 14 million people without any coverage, according to earlier estimates. Oklahoma, which never accepted the federal expansion of Medicaid under the current law, would be hit hard, and even more people would go without much needed health care.
Employers insurance costs are sure to rise under this non-plan, which will be passed on to employees.
Let’s face it: (1) People will either lose their health insurance altogether (2) or pay much more for less coverage while rich people get a tax cut under the AHCA. That’s the Republican plan in all its clarity. It’s not an over-simplification. It’s not an issue of choosing one’s doctor or “freedom” of choice when it comes to treatments.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, had this to say about the bill:
Each year now for at least a decade, there has been a smorgasbord of really bad and extremist right-wing bills introduced into the Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature, from anti-abortion measures to actions that allow discrimination against the LGBTQ community to religious intrusion initiatives that threaten the teaching of real science in our schools.
— Blue In Oklahoma (@LEngelhorn) February 20, 2017
Some actually make it through the process and are later overturned by lawsuits. Others don’t make it through the process because somewhere along the line a bit of common sense kicks in among the legislative leadership. It’s a circus, and all of this has been happening in the last eight or nine years as the state faces very real fiscal problems. Nothing like a bit of cray cray to take everyone’s minds off major cuts to education funding, right?
House Bill 1277, sponsored by Rep. Travis Dunlap, a Republican from Bartlesville, is one such bill that needs to get stopped by common sense. The bill, which would restrict no-fault divorce in Oklahoma, would make children more vulnerable to the emotional upheaval of divorce and manufactured even more conflict when it’s terribly unnecessary.
Dunlap was quoted in a local story about the bill this way: “I call it human flourishing or family flourishing or those sorts of thing.” Okay, “those sorts of things” really doesn’t sort it all out for anyone. Strong families are diverse and have their own unique qualities. Single-parent families, blended families, singles with a strong friendship network, all can and do flourish.
The bill would restrict the use of incompatibility for divorce for couples married 10 years or more or have minor children or when at least one of them objects to the divorce. The couple then would then have to undergo counseling. I especially think the reference in the current version of the bill stating this could come about “where one party objects in writing” is problematic. What if someone does this simply out of spite or anger? The bill has passed out of a House committee, which is not a good sign that cooler heads might prevail. Maybe the Senate will stop the bill from advancing.
One has to wonder why investment bankers aren’t the state GOP’s villains du jour.
The greedy actions of Wall Street investment bankers in recent years has brought this country its biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, but here in Oklahoma the Republican mob says the bad guys are lawyers and their clients.
The Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee is slated to consider House Bill 1602, which would cap contingency fees for the state’s attorneys. This is an unneeded, ideological bill that could prevent people from recovering damages in legal cases because they can’t afford to hire a lawyer or can’t find a lawyer to take their case.
The bill, if eventually approved, would create a ballot measure asking voters to cap attorney contingency fees at 33 percent for the first $1 million recovered and 20 percent for damages exceeding $1 million. Under the bill, the ballot measure would be presented to voters in the 2010 election.
In a contingency fee arrangement, lawyers only collect money from clients in certain cases if they are successful in suing for damages. In this arrangement, attorneys work for a percentage of the recovered damages. This allows people access to the court system because they might not be able to afford steep, upfront legal fees. The system also encourages lawyers to work diligently for their clients, who may have suffered serious injuries because of negligence.
BLUE OKLAHOMA, ANYTHING BUT SAD.
Blue Oklahoma has been a part of the Oklahoma political blogging scene since 2006. It originally began as a progressive, diary-like site with a handful of contributors and still remains open to people who want to write liberal and center-left commentary. It also serves as a companion site for Kurt Hochenauer's Okie Funk blog, which has been part of the news media here since 2004.
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- Despite GOP Rhetoric No Raises For Oklahoma Teachers May 29, 2017
- College Staff Vital To Higher Education Mission May 16, 2017
- Trump Fires Comey In Attempt To End Russian Collusion Investigation May 10, 2017
- AHCA Is An Immoral Disaster May 7, 2017
- Oklahoma Faces Budget Problems Once Again May 2, 2017