Democrats fight Graham-Cassidy as legislation dies in the Senate

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and other elected officials blasted the latest effort to repeal the ACA. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local Democratic elected officials gathered at City Hall to protest the latest efforts from Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday morning, a day prior to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrapping the planned vote.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who was joined by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and other healthcare advocates, said that the latest iteration of the bill, dubbed “Graham-Cassidy” for its co-sponsors, Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, was just as harmful as previous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Maloney noted that although local elected officials oppose the bill, it would still negatively impact New Yorkers if it passed because the state would lose funding.

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Opinion: Obamacare repeal: What’s at stake

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

We all have friends or family who are ill, some seriously. There are some in nursing homes, some in hospitals, and others being treated at home.

My good friend Bob has been courageously battling cancer for several years. He had surgery and follow up treatment, which to a large extent was paid for by his private insurance. He was doing well for a while, but now the cancer is back with a vengeance and has spread to his liver. He is in the fight of his life, literally. His future is uncertain, maybe no future at all. But at least he does not need the added worry about whether he can access treatment or afford medicines that might save or at least extend his life.

Giving this peace of mind to all Americans was the whole point of the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” which President Trump and his cohorts in Congress are so intent on dismantling.

After vowing to “quickly” do away with Obamacare during his campaign, Trump subsequently declared “who knew health care was so complicated”?

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Maloney warns seniors about possible repeal of ACA

Crowd at the Stein Center (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the Stein Center (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is putting seniors on alert about how a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) would affect their drug prices.

“(The ACA) is helpful to seniors and it would be dangerous to repeal it,” Maloney told seniors at the Stein Center on Friday. “It would threaten the economy, children and seniors. Healthcare is better under the ACA and seniors have more protections.”

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Op-Ed: Obama’s cure for the common cold

Satire but true political commentary by former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Dateline Washington D.C. April 15, 2014…

President Obama announces that his administration working with the Center for Disease Control has found a cure and vaccine for the common cold!

The immediate response from Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is that the cure does not go nearly far enough. “Do you know how many other diseases this President has ignored? He should be ashamed of himself,” House Speaker John Boehner added. “This President continues to preside over a nation that spends too much and taxes too much. On this the day that we file income taxes, where is the tax cut in the President’s announcement?” Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin proclaimed, “What a travesty that this failed President is wasting the time of the American people instead of working 24/7 to stop the onset of the common cold by keeping illegal immigrants out of the country who spread germs and sickness.” And finally Rush Limbaugh declared on his talk radio program, “Let them try to give me or one of my family members a cold shot, the only shots that are protected by the Constitution are those in the second amendment, which come a from a gun.”

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Oct. 31, Letters to the Editor

Obamacare by the numbers

To the Editor:

In his letter, “How the Affordable Health Care Act Works,” Floyd Smith was kind enough to clarify my “Who Does What for Whom?”  Mr. Smith contrasts a 20-year-old and a 70-year-old within an individual private health insurance plan, a group private insurance plan, and lastly, within the Affordable Health Care Act. The chief difficulty I have with Mr. Smith’s clarification is his framing. He freezes our focus on claims, cost and payments, then infers correctly that (his) 20-year-old subsidizes (his) 70-year-old, but leaves out other considerations that bear more fully on the question, “Do 20-year-olds subsidize 70-year-olds?”

According to Mr. Smith, since the 20-year-old belongs to a group that will, on average, make fewer claims than on average for 70-year-olds,the price for a 20-year-old who purchases health care for himself/herself from the “free enterprise insurance market” will be less than the price for a 70-year-old.

Fair enough! (Though I should add “All things being equal.”)

Second, however, when the 20-year-old, as a member of an employer’s group, purchases from the same market, his/her payments become based on the risk presented, on average, by the people in that group, but now includes higher costing 70-year-olds. When costs here are averaged over the population in the group, the premium level of 20-year-olds will be higher than when he/she bought private insurance. Thirdly, when the 20-year-old finds himself/herself part of a huge nation-wide group, she/he is again subject to higher premiums because this group includes those that make greater claims. So, again, the question: Do 20-year-olds subsidize 70-year-olds?

Grant for a moment that a 20-year-old who purchases a private individual health policy pays less than a 70-year-old who purchases the same insurance, but let’s look into the (actual) life of the 20-year-old and ask:

1. What in fact did the 20 year-old-pay when the 20-year-old paid as a private individual in the free enterprise health insurance market policy?

2. What does he/she pay when he/she pays into a free market group policy?

3. How do these private market policies for the 20-year-old compare with premiums within the government/private Affordable Health Care Act?
Equally,

4. What happens within each if the individual cannot pay the premium?

5. What are the costs of drugs within each policy type?

Do we just assume throughout, along with Mr. Smith, that because a group contains 70-year-olds, the pristine 20-year-old paid more as a member of that group than he/she would have paid as a single buyer winging it on his/her own? That strikes me as too narrow a focus, and grants too much.

Within my knowledge, a 20-year-old going it alone will find health care exceedingly expensive, indeed, perhaps too expensive and often problematic.

John Giannone, ST

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Reckoning in Congress

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

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Steven Sanders

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King has never been one to mince words. Over the weekend he charged that some of his fellow Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives were behaving like “political terrorists” and literally threatening to damage the United States and our economy if they cannot get their way in delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare.”

Representative King has hit the nail on the head.

A small group of right wing and Tea Party affiliated Republicans in Congress have shut down the federal government and could possibly devalue the credit worthiness of the U.S. dollar if they cannot achieve by threats and extortion what they failed to win by legislation and that is to derail the new health care law which they loathe. It is hard to know whether they hate the law or despise the President more, but that is what they are doing.

Don’t get me wrong, any member of Congress or any citizen for that matter has every right to oppose a policy they disagree with and they have every right to dislike anyone that they choose. However, what is terribly disturbing and destructive is that after having lost their fight against Obamacare in the votes in Congress and in the vote from the last Presidential election, and after the law was upheld by the United State Supreme Court, these right wing militants have decided to put the entire United States economy in jeopardy lest the President and the majority of the House and the Senate give in to their extortion. This brand of extreme politics and blind “no compromise ideology” is common in the Middle East, but it is something new to American political discourse. It is fundamentalism practiced in a three-piece suit.

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