AHCA Will Hurt Basically Everyone Who's Not a Billionaire

For protecting University of Michigan lecturers--heck, all teachers anywhere--there is probably no bigger priority, right now, than killing the American Health Care Act of 2017.

 

The provisions of this disastrous bill--which is so much more than a repeal of the still-controversial Affordable Care Act--have been well covered everywhere. CBO (Congressional Budget Office) projections indicate that it will lead to 24 million uninsured by 2026. It will drastically cut Medicaid too, a scary thought for those of us who have poor elderly, disabled, or young people in our lives, whom we can't take care of on a lecturer's salary. (It's also scary for those of us who can't anticipate retiring from a tenured position someday.) And don't go thinking our BlueCare plans make us immune from the impact of this bill. It will affect us via the folks in our lives not blessed with similarly good insurance, and the impact on our students and communities. (It's hard to watch good students die because they can't afford insurance that covers their preexisting conditions.) And experts predict the bill will gradually worsen even private plans.

My favorite detail about this bill, buried on page 33 of the CBO's report: "CBO also estimates that outlays for Social Security benefits would decrease by about $3 billion over the 2017-2026 period." In other words, CBO expects so many people to die younger as a result of this bill that it will cut Social Security spending by $3 billion.

It's a uniquely bad bill, and it's not popular. But Republicans in the Senate are bent on passing it. Michigan's two Senators are solidly opposed to AHCA, but this is an issue on which your friends and family in other states could stand to hear from you.

This bill will make life worse for just about anybody who works for a living. And it's even scarier as a bellwether of coming legislation. As the writer and podcaster Matt Christman recently observed, "You don't push a bill like AHCA unless you're confident the electorate has been fully pacified." If Republicans pass this bill, it's a signal to them that American workers will take anything. We can't afford to send that signal.

Email everybody you love. Tell them what this bill will do to them, and ask them to call their Senators or, if possible, visit them in person--as these brave disability activists did. (When their cowardly Senator refused to see them, they stayed three days.)