For a party that claims to represent the common man, the passing of the new Republican health care bill through the House of Representatives is a kick in the face. The American Health Care Act is supposed to be the replacement for former President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. The new act is retaining the previous act’s most popular features, such as an extended coverage for young people under 26 years of age.
It, however, has proven to be nothing less than a vile attempt at cutting costs for insurers and will, therefore, cause thousands of preventable deaths simply because people who need medical assistance will not be able to afford it. The Republican Party is initiating a level of politically induced killings in the subtlest way possible—not by gunshot or by hanging, but by preventing someone from accessing care.
The first thing that should catch anyone’s attention is what is considered a pre-existing condition according to the AHCA. Pre-existing conditions include, but are not limited to, being a victim of sexual assault, having had a cesarean section or suffering from postpartum depression.
Step one of the AHCA appears to be making the risks of being a woman in the 21st century a pre-existing condition, which only adds to the Republican Party’s record of being a breeding tank of misogyny. The easiest way to cut away a segment of the population is to make the risks of its existence a liability.
This does not account for the fact that mental illnesses are now at greater risk of being considered pre-existing conditions as well. This will further alienate a segment of the population that has long been hurt by mental health facility closures and faulty medical practices promoted by a brutally conservative atmosphere. It is as if no one in the Republican Party has had a firsthand experience with someone mentally ill, other than the occasional homeless person he or she passes by on the street.
No one should be surprised by such a bill from the party whose ideals may be boiled down to supporting problematic societal norms. It is the party of male supremacy, of discrimination against the mentally ill and a reprehensible disgust for the poor it so proudly claims to represent. The Republican Party abandoned whatever it may have called values long ago once it employed the Southern Strategy under former President Richard Nixon, instead appealing to an extremely conservative base that it knew would vote. It fed into liberal assurances of progress and completely twisted them on their heads.
Now the country will suffer because the nation's conservative population decided that a changing world was too much for them and because liberals decided not to visualize change for them. They simply assured a better future without creating a vision where everyone was uplifted. The modern version of the U.S. conservative has taken that as an existential threat to a way of life that serves no purpose other than mental comfort.
The number of people losing their insurance because the AHCA was touted as a remedy to the socialized-central exchange mess of Obamacare will undoubtedly be shocking. The number of people dead because their payments will suddenly not be enough will be just as shocking.
Of all the recent actions the Republican Party chose to take in order to appease the Trump administration, this will be the one that has the most severe and immediate domestic effect. When U.S. citizens begin wondering why their medication is being denied, the GOP will not be able to ignore that cry.
The GOP will have to wonder why the people it claimed to protect—and failed to do so—are so angry. It will most certainly have to explain the blood that cakes its hands in a desperate bid to help someone other than its constituents.
Reuven is a sophomore studying Literary Form and Writing. He is a frequent contributor to The Ticker and an editor for Refract Magazine.