The American Health Care Act is finally here!
Music via the the Free Music Archive under Creative Commons licensing. Today’s music by Broke For Free, Evil Bear Boris, Blue Dot Sessions, Shake That Little Foot, The Joy Drops, and Darksunn. Show image via Flickr under Creative Commons licensing. This modified image by Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy...
Senate Republicans have released their amendment to the already passed House bill - also known as TRUMPCARE. The bill is part of the “repeal and replace” campaign promise made by Donald Trump to eliminate the Affordable Care Act also referred to as Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office or CBO is the independent group charged with scoring the bill to see what kind of collateral damage we are looking at. Their score is expected to be released in the final week of June, but things already don’t look very good. The CBO had already warned that the House version of the bill which Donald “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated” Trump creamed his jeans f0r, would potentially throw 23 million Americans off of insurance.
While the Affordable Care Act actually expanded Medicaid to most states, the Republican bill all but eliminates it while giving massive tax breaks to corporations and billionaires. The bill is so unpopular that 4 Republicans have already come out in opposition to its passing. This act of GOP mutiny is being led by Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Texas’ very own Ted Cruz.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but if Ted Cruz thinks it’s bad for America then it must be reaaaallly fucked up. Because that’s like the shadiest car salesman ever telling you that all the cars on the lot are real lemons. Go. Run.
A quick comment about Obamacare - when surveyed, a vast majority of people were in favor of the “Affordable Care Act” but when referred to as “Obamacare” many were adamantly opposed - EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE SAME LAW. Which leads me to believe that humans be FICKLE WITH THE DETAILS.
While Obamacare was never perfect. I mean far, far from perfect, it is the best thing to happen to American’s health care since the invention of diet and exercise. Good things like not kicking a person off of insurance for being sick with a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, though perhaps too little, too late, many American’s are keen to this as promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act have resulted in overflowing town halls of angry people in motion - democracy in action - to Republican members of congress letting them know they are “displeased” with their representatives.
And why wouldn’t they be? The new measure would not allow insurance companies to boot recipients off of insurance for pre-existing conditions, but if there is EVER a gap in coverage… oh boy, oh boy - to charge those same unfortunate souls seeking coverage astronomical amounts of money to punish them into better health, like luring a starving animal with a loaf of stale bread, only to beat it with it upon arrival.
Of course the bill doesn’t eliminate Medicaid - it just guts it from the inside like a child told on Christmas morning that they were an unwanted pregnancy. NOBODY WANTS YOU BILLY! WHY DON’T YOU RUN AWAY AND JOIN A PETTING ZOO! Politicians can’t simply come out and say, “To the wonderfully average people of the great state of (fill in state name here) - my billionaire friends who fund my campaign each election have asked me to kill Medicaid. They said this so-called entitlement is rather inconvenient during this time of immense profitability for the most opulent and affluent among thee.”
What they do instead is de-fund, de-fund, de-fund, mismanage and de-fund until citizens come and beg them to kill it off. This is essentially the Republican’s mantra. Step one: Place clowns in administrative positions. Step two: gut funding. Step three: Pop popcorn. Step four: Prepare lotion and Kleenex. Step five: Roll cameras. Ewww.. sounds sticky.
But it is always darkest before the dawn. The California Senate just passed SB- 562, a single-payer health care bill called the Healthy California Act. Sometimes called “Medicare for all” a single-payer system is what is used in most other developed countries. SOCIALISTS! It means, there is one bill - and it goes directly to the government. If it sounds expensive, it’s because it is. Remember, “nobody knew healthcare would be so complicated” - or expensive!
So we must ask the question - how the hell does California plan to pay for this cost saving measure? And how dare they? WAIT, WHAT??? That’s right, California plans to SAVE 8% on overall costs with a 2.3% tax on businesses. “The tyrannical government at it again - coming after small businesses!” Well, hold on there, Paul Revere. The first $2 million of every business is exempt, so my guess is this wouldn’t apply to you. California guesses it would apply to only 20% of you. So the richest and biggest businesses. “Oh, that poor Wal-Mart. How will they ever afford it with their low, low prices? And Mr. Mc-a-Donald? How is a dollar menu to remain a dollar menu in such times?” California will also set a 2.3% sales tax, offset by a 2% tax credit for the poorest families.
So as California is actually ramping up its plan to save its taxpayers BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, we need to drop the façade that somehow having a single-payer, government ran healthcare system would be more expensive, because the numbers do not reflect this truth. These must be the same mathematicians hired by Creationists. “Hmmm let’s see, 5000 years ago for the bronze age (Jesus’ favorite metal btw)… 12,000 for natives in the Americas… 33,000 for cave art… 40o,ooo for stone spear hunting… weird plants, dinosaur bones - 120 million.. 240 million… 440 million, … Hallelujah! Earth is 6000 years old.”
And just when you thought this message didn’t apply to Democrats, think again! Senator Cory Booker, a man of the people, a David to Goliath, a Sonny to our Cher - just sided with Republicans to stop a measure allowing the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada. Why? I don’t know, but I can tell you it’s probably part of his interview process for his next job: pharmaceutical lobbyist. Classy bastard.
So people are worried American health care is going to get more expensive? Well, not only do the numbers not pan out, but American health care per capita is already the MOST EXPENSIVE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD. And not by a little bit. By a lot. Like Usain Bolt 100 meter sprint competitions against Stephen Hawking - lot. But not forever. Professor Hawking has you exactly where he wants you, Bolt. So if American spends the most, it’s care should be the best, right? WRONG! Because, it’s also consistently rated as ONE OF THE WORST HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD. And I mean that from the most objective place in my cold, lifeless, snow-flaky, libtard heart.
The US consistently ranks as one of the worst systems in terms of efficiency when comparing life expectancy vs cost of care. We spend a whopping 18% of GDP on health care. While it’s true, the average American life span, though not the best at all, is still high 70s - this does you no good if every time you come back from the hospital you have a heart attack when you open your bill. So the good news? We are doing better than Russia. The bad news? According to Bloomberg, we rank 50 out of 55 in efficiency. Now, that doesn’t exactly mean life expectancy, even though maybe that’s how we should measure it. Let’s just keep with the status quo for arguments sake and treat every human like a number.
One reason costs are so much more affordable in places like France and Germany is because the government will aggressively bargain with hospitals, medical providers, insurance companies, and pharmaceuticals. Remember that human turd, Martin Skrelli? He’s the guy that bought the Epipen and jacked up the price by a billion percent, because “fuck you”. That shit doesn’t happen in other countries? Why not? Because they have laws against that type of crap.
So here’s a poem to help you remember which countries are better than us:
Hong Kong and Singapore, man you know they’re first on the list,
but them little shits is city states - and so I think you get the gist.
Spain, South Korea, and Japan all made it to the top 5,
One has massive unemployment but still manages to keep you alive.
Mazel Tov in Israel even though we pay their military bills
But it’s Emirates in the Middle East that’s healthcare really kills.
Greece is in depression, a recession - but still livin' nice and old.
Hell even Canada’s better, maple syrup mofos must be always cold.
Mexico is filled with dead journalists run by gangs, murderers and drugs,
but even they make our pharmacist lobbyists look like a flock of 3rd world thugs.
For those keeping score at home, that means the US is stuck in a rut,
between our Northern and Southern friends who no longer give a fuuuuu.
Maybe they’ll get sessions wall-building lesson commies over in China,
where you have better luck to find a doctor to examine your lady’s vagina.
Former soviet Romania has more than bandaids in this rap,
Apparently Malaysia too, but I can’t even find them mother fuckers on a map.
Turkey is on its way to dictatorship but still better than Peru,
even those terrorist-lovers in Iran have a working ICU.
SAUDI ARABIA can cut off your neighbor’s head,
and still give him a doctor when he’s clearly dead!
Libya had great health care before the US screwed with it,
bread is now harder to find anywhere, but the healthcare is still legit.
In Ecuador, Belarus, or Serbia, you can find a nurse who plays the tuba,
but the country with the most doctors are the sons of bitches down in Cuba.
There’s a list of countries with healthcare better than the US of A,
just remember that the next time you got medical bills to pay.
Net Neutrality Day July 12th, mo-fers. Graphs and visual aids and shit are all available for this shit online. Google at it, dog.
The United States is the most expensive country on the list, and also one of the worst upon delivery. Spending 18% of GDP, the second most spent by a country is a very distant Sweden at 12%. And in third place, Germany - where I just happen to have lived for the last 4 years. So I may be able to provide some insight on this topic.
I pay about 25-30% of my paycheck in taxes. Is that a lot? Hell yes it’s a lot! But in reality it really ain’t much more than you pay right now in the states. Go look at your tax return. I’ll wait. I’m not gonna wait for you - this is a podcast. And what does that effectively mean in a country that spends over 10% of its GDP on healthcare? Well, instead of me telling you what a typical doctor’s visit is like. Let me instead offer you a reenactment of it. Forewarning, my German isn’t perfect so the grammar will not be the best. Deal with it.
Gregory goes to the German Dr.’s office
GREGORY: Hallo, Guten Tag. Ich habe mein Bein gebrochen. Es tut echt weh, und jetzt gibst Blut überall eure Boden. Es tut mir leid.
Hello, good day. I have broken my leg. It really hurts, and now there is blood everywhere on your floor. I’m sorry.
FRONT DESK: Grüß Gott. So es ist kein Notfall. Super. Haben Sie eine Versicherungskarte dabei?
Greetings. So it is not an emergency. Super. Do you have an insurance card with you?
GREGORY: Ja, natürlich! Was bin ich? Eine dumme Ami? Hier ist es.
Of course! What am I? A dumb American? Here it is.
FRONT DESK: Toll. Sitzen Sie bitte in unser Wartezimmer.
Great. Have a seat in the waiting room.
Fünf Minuten Später
Five Minutes Later
FRONT DESK: Herr Haddock, der Arzt wird Sie jetzt in Zimmer eins sehen.
Mr. Haddock, the doctor will now see you in room #1.
GREGORY: Boah! Das war richtig schnell!
Wow! That was really fast!
FRONT DESK: Ach! Ja Klar! Was denken Sie? Dass sind wir jetzt in Amerika?
Ach! Of course! What do you think? That we’re in America?
ARZT: Hallo, Herr Haddock - was ist genau der Problem?
Hello Mr. Haddock - what is the problem exactly?
GREGORY: Ich habe mein Bein gebrochen. Können Sie es reparieren?
I broke my leg. Can you fix it?
ARZT: Gott im Himmel nicht! Des ist ein Arzt Büro, kein Unfallstation! Sie sind nicht nur Depp aber dämlich. Sie müssen direkt ins Krankenhaus gehen. Ich rufe Ihnen ein Krankenwagen sofort an.
God in heaven no! This is a doctor’s office, not an emergency room. You are not only stupid, but also dumb. You need to go directly to the hospital. I will call you an ambulance immediately.
GREGORY: Oh, dass weiß ich nicht. Es klingt echt teuer…
Oh, I don’t know. That sounds expensive.
ARZT: Ach, Quatsch! Wir sind in Deutschland, nicht ein Drecksloch wie Amerika.
Nonsense! We’re in Germany, not some shithole like America.
GREGORY: Hoppla! Ha ha - Sie haben Drecksloch gesagt!
Whoa! Ha ha, You said shithole!
ARZT: Wie Amerika!
GREGORY: Hoppla!! LOLZ
ARZT: Hier ist auch ein Rezept für Schmerz Tabletten. Sie werden die brauchen.
Here is also a prescription for pain pills. You will need them.
GREGORY: Oh, ist das teuer?
Oh, is that expensive?
ARZT: Nein, ist kostenlos!
No, it’s free!
GREGORY: Mein Besuch ist aber teuer, ja?
But my visit is expensive right?
ARZT: Nein, was ist los mit dir, du total bescheuerte außerordentliche dumme Mensch.
No, what’s wrong with you? You totally, stupid, inordinately dumb person.
GREGORY: OK! Danke, Dr!
Ok, thank you, doctor!
ARZT: Bitte! Schönen Tag noch!
Your welcome! Have a nice day!
I have one more anecdote for you. I know an older German couple here quite well, and am very familiar with their medical situations. Last year, the older man had a heart attack. He had chest pains in the morning, and decided to go to the hospital. Being a tough SOB he first showered before going, because - have some self-respect for yourself. In fact, his wife was angry with him for not shaving too. When we visited him in the hospital the thing that really struck me as odd about the situation was how calm he was about it all. And then it hit me - he had already surgery, and I found that the doctor was unusually helpful and friendly. The first and only question this sweet old man had was this: “When can I mow the lawn again.”
Can you believe that shit? The entire mood of the setting was nothing but jubilant over the prospect that this man needed urgent care - and RECEIVED IT IN A TIMELY MANNER. No more than he had received his needed care, had he begun to forget the situation altogether. It was a shining example of how a society ought to treat the people they claim are part of the national family. No concerns about bills, about the next time - no what ifs, buts, or regrets. You have pain, you come in. Finished.
He’s got a list of prescriptions and a collection of drugs that would put Charlie Sheen to shame. Eat shit, Charlie Sheen! And when I asked him how much he pays for his medication he told me next to nothing. Sometimes he has to pay a 5 Euro co-pay, but that’s it. That’s like $6. Otherwise, he doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over the whole ordeal, and he gets the care he needs when he needs it. A stark contrast to a country that constantly reminds its citizens that they don’t work hard enough, can’t help but sell guns and drop bombs, and healthcare is a privilege, not a right. That somehow there is nothing immoral about asking Americans to pay significantly more for good insurance by treating access to healthcare the same as being able to afford healthcare. There is no greater shame than this.
This wonderful old man is alive and well today, and yes, still mowing the lawn as often as humanly possible - and boy does the grass look sharp. He is not plagued with anxiety about the future to come, because he lives in a country that gives a shit.
So while what little healthcare Americans do have is under attack, I urge you in a CALL TO ACTION.
If you are a female senior citizen who is struggling with drug addiction to cope with depression while simultaneously concerned about family planning or you are concerned about HUMANS dealing with any or all of these issues — you need to run, not walk - or perhaps get the neighbor boy to drive you to your elected representative’s office and tell him or her to drop this Trumpcare nonsense, and move to support a single-payer or medicare-for-all bill - because all that you hold near and dear is in the hands of a group of seedy politicians desperately eager to please their financiers by selling your healthcare to the god damn devil.