Just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” — Luke 13:11-12
The House health care plan would leave nearly 24 million people without health insurance; the proposed Senate plan “only” 22 million. The numbers are so staggering we lose sight of their meaning, but consider the Research Triangle Region (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) has an estimated population of 2 million. That’s how many people represent the difference between the House bill and the Senate bill. Assessing the Senate bill, we find that of those 22 million left uninsured, 1.3 million of them are in North Carolina (slightly larger than Mecklenburg Co.) and 2,300 of those are children (roughly the size of a large high school).
The numbers, even when we make them fathomable, are not the real story. The real story is taking $800 billion dollars from Medicaid to fund an $800-billion-dollar tax cut for high income Americans. Nearly half of Medicaid enrollees are children, 65% of nursing home residents receive Medicaid, and almost half of Medicaid dollars go to the elderly and disabled. In essence, people who earn roughly $12,000 will lose Medicaid coverage because people who earn $200,000 or more will no longer pay a 3.8% tax on their investment income. Note, that’s investment income, not all income. Just 3.8% on investments.
The Old Testament prophets, echoed by Jesus, lament the accumulation of wealth on the backs of the poor. Or, in the words of another great religious leader: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
If these health care proposals move forward, we can expect 200,000 preventable deaths over the next 10 years. Will you be one who dies unnecessarily? Or will you be one who keeps an extra 3.8% of your investment income? Given those choices, which one would you vote for?