It is time for consequences. A time for the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted for this abomination of a health care law to feel the earth shake beneath their feet. It does not matter that they know what just passed does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing the Republican-controlled Senate. It does not matter if they intended for it to be a starting block for negotiations. And it does not matter they intended to give President Trump’s fragile ego a win. What matters is intent. What is their intent?
Murder. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at how murder in the first degree is defined by the Colorado Revised Statute (18-3-102): A deliberate, intentional killing of another; or, causing someone’s death by knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a serious risk of death, because of an attitude of malice and extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), for one full year Planned Parenthood would no longer receive federal funding. Planned Parenthood serves approximately 2.5 million people, mainly women, 60 percent of whom are relying on government programs like Medicaid. A Guttmacher report found that, among women who receive care from a family planning center like Planned Parenthood, nearly four in 10 report that it is their only source of health care. Planned Parenthood provides preventive care services such as well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, vaccinations and birth control. For many women, removing these screenings will undoubtedly lead to untold numbers of people finding out that they have cancer at far too late of a stage to be treated. People will needlessly die.
Medicaid will be cut by $880 billion even though it is a lifeline for approximately 70 million Americans, many of whom rely on it for long-term health services. Nearly two-thirds of all Americans in nursing homes are covered by Medicaid; it covers 44 percent of all children with special health-care needs, nearly half of all births, as well as half of all women with serious disabilities. This cut to Medicaid is done so that the wealthiest among us can receive a massive tax cut on the backs of those who are the neediest and most vulnerable amongst us. It also rolls back state-by-state Medicaid expansion which covers millions of low income Americans without anywhere else to turn. Without their health insurance coverage, untold numbers of Americans will die because they made the grave mistake of being poor.
Insurance companies would also be able to charge older Americans upwards of five times the price they would an 18-year-old; eliminate required coverage, called essential health benefits, including maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs; and charge more or deny coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or arthritis. As for the consequences, need I repeat myself?
This is the quintessential definition of having an attitude of malice and extreme indifference to the value of human life. If the Republicans presented the bill in a way that showed the true horrors and untold deaths that will befall our fellow Americans, you would never support it. You would be outraged and red in the face mad. So why do you continue to support them? This is a heartless, callous and dangerous piece of legislation that completely reveals the Republican Party’s true colors. The time to act is now, pick up your phone and call your members of Congress and tell them what you think they should be doing with this repugnant piece of legislation. The next time there is an election, sentence them with your vote.
Brian Litwin describes himself as an outraged citizen living in Longmont.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.