Posted by: morgan1965 | August 5, 2017

Health Care: The President’s HAND

All Americans need health care! This is a human right and not a privilege. As a member of the United Methodist Church, I affirm the fact that “from our earliest days United Methodists have believed that providing health care to others is an important duty of Christians.” Health care should be made available to all people without regard to their ability to pay. The reality is that in the United States the ability to pay for health care varies from person to person. The plain truth is that most people need help to pay for medical costs. That is the reason for health insurance.

In the current debate about health care for all people, there is very little conversation about the reality that the American health care system is built on a profit platform. First, insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Their profits are significant. Second, the drug companies are in business to make a profit. Their profits are huge.

In light of the above, in its Social Principles, the United Methodist Church “affirms the duty of government to assure health care for all.” The Affordable Care Act was adopted to make health insurance available to a greater pool of people, many of whom previously had no insurance, could not afford insurance or had preexisting conditions. Attendant issues are the matters of access, quality and cost. Health care costs have been spiraling ever higher for years. Passage of the Affordable Care Act, however, has enabled more people to be covered by health insurance. Now, it is estimated that nearly 17 million Americans are covered under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA has been under attack from its inception. The Republican controlled Congress and the POTUS have been attempting to repeal and replace the ACA. At this time, the U.S. Senate has rejected five different ACA (Obamacare) replacement bills. Senate Republicans have considered a wide variety of ACA repeal plans, but none mustered the necessary 51 votes needed for passage in the Senate. Polls have noted, in the meantime, that there has been a significant rise in the popularity of the ACA.

The Senate defeated the “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act at 1:35 AM, Thursday, July 28, 2017. This was a slimmed down repeal package.

President Trump has been of the opinion that it would be “so easy” to give people “great health care at a fraction of the price.” Health insurance is complicated. The ACA is complex. There are no easy answers to fixing it. Rather than repeal and replace the ACA, Congress should be working in a bipartisan way to fix the problems that hamper the ACA. But, there is a complication. POTUS said, “Let Obamacare fail,” apparently abdicating any responsibility on his part.

David Horsey in a recent essay (The Baltimore Sun, August 2, 2017) used this caption: “Defeat of ‘skinny repeal’ bill leaves U.S. health care in Trump’s careless hands.” Note his observation: “After complaining about Obamacare for seven years, Republicans failed to offer up any legislation that would not make the present flawed health care regime dramatically worse.” Horsey concludes his essay with this statement: “The frightening reality is that, for now, the fate of America’s health care system rests in the hands of a president who seems perfectly willing to let it disintegrate into chaos.”

I am reminded of “The Gambler Lyrics” by Kenney Rogers:

“You’ve got to know when to hold’em

Know when to fold’em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

You never count your money

When you’re sittin’ at the table

There’ll be time enough for countin’

When the dealin’s done.

In poker terms, the POTUS has stayed with his hand (repeal and replace). It is, however, a matter of “when to hold’em and when to fold’em.” Perhaps it is time to fold’em, and get on with the task of fixing the ACA for the good of the nation.

What would it be like for the President to sit down with the leadership of the House and Senate, and admit that the people of the United States deserve affordable health care? Congress should confess that the process to secure repeal and replacement used so far is not working. Such a negative effort, if successful, would deny health insurance to millions of people.  The POTUS, however, could invite the Congressional leadership to craft a bipartisan fix to the ACA. Now that would be presidential leadership.

Mr. President: “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.”

Think about it!





  1. Bishop, you are so right. However, I doubt if 45 has this capacity. Has not demonstrated ability or willingness to explore other avenues besides winning.

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