Now, I understand the Republican response is that the Democrats did the same thing when the ACA (also known as Obamacare) was passed. That is true, but only in the House. When it got to the Senate there were many hearings and endless meetings with Republican amendments not just being offered but also many being accepted. It did have bipartisan input. But most importantly, there was much time for special interests, the press, and citizens as well to comment and at least to some extent know what was coming.
It is important to acknowledge that there are changes that need to be made in the ACA. However, repealing and starting from scratch in a very partisan way is not a responsible step forward. If this bill is crammed through with only Republican votes, do you think the Democrats when they control Congress next are going to do anything but put this whole issue back up for change? Given the polls showing the American public’s opposition to many of the anticipated changes, as well as opposition from many areas of the health care industry, there will be public pressure to do so.
But maybe most important, for rural states like Kansas, is to understand that huge cuts in Medicaid will not just impact thousands of Kansans, but will really put additional pressure on our rural hospitals regarding their fight to survive. I don’t think I have to tell you what that loss would do, to not only health care coverage, but also consider the impact that losing so many good jobs would have on the local rural economy. States like Kansas that did not accept Medicaid expansion from the ACA are already hurting in this area, so how could more cuts to Medicaid be the answer? It will be interesting to see how our Congressional delegation will react and vote. If they will not speak up on behalf of rural America—and be willing to back up these words with appropriate action—then how can they say they are representing our best interests? I want to believe there are the few Republican Senators needed to stop this cruel action, even if a couple of them voted no because the cuts were too small. But that shouldn’t stop citizens from expressing their thoughts and making it clear that this bill will harm our future.