Twenty-two million. Over the next two decades, 22 million Americans are expected to lose their health insurance under the proposed U.S. Senate Republican health care bill.
Since it’s implementation, Republicans have been eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” During his campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly promised that repealing and replacing Obamacare would be a main concern for him once he was elected. Since his election, Republicans have been hard at work trying to do just that.
Unfortunately, the plan for the GOP’s health care bill that was released Monday doesn’t exactly have Americans jumping for joy. In fact, according to a poll released by NPR, only 17 percent of Americans approve of the bill. What’s more startling is the fact that although many recognize the bill is a train wreck, it still might get passed. Senate Republicans are eager to see Obamacare repealed, no matter the cost.
The Congressional Budget Office stated that 22 million Americans would be without health insurance over the next 20 years. They expect 15 million to be uninsured by 2018. On a positive note, the legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade. But is a lower deficit worth the health of American citizens?
What we find troubling is just how out of touch most conservatives are when it comes to the cost of health care. Most conservatives want to see Obamacare replaced at whatever cost, and many have no idea what health care actually costs without insurance.
Tomi Lahren, a notorious right-wing icon, said in an interview with Marie Claire magazine Wednesday that she doesn’t understand why women can’t afford birth control. She said although her birth control is free under her insurance, without insurance, it would cost only $9. She genuinely believes all birth control costs only $9. Without insurance, most forms of birth control cost more than $100. Even with insurance, many women are still paying upward of $40 or $50 to get their birth control. In a perfect world, Lahren is right. Most women can afford $9 a month. Unfortunately, she is living in a state of delusion, and her case is a rare one.
Although Lahren’s blunder is just a one-minute example of the misconception many conservatives have about the cost of health care, it serves as a startling example of their reality. Without services like Medicare and Medicaid, most Americans are out of luck. A visit to the emergency room, for example, costs more than $1,000 if a patient were to pay out of pocket without insurance. A check-up at the dentist costs nearly $300. A visit to a primary-care doctor for a checkup typically costs more than $200 without insurance and often about $50 even when you are insured.
These prices are simply what it would cost for a healthy American. This does not consider the cost of freak accidents that could require emergency surgery or overnight hospital visits. This does not consider the cost of serious illnesses someone may need treatment for. This does not consider maternity costs for a pregnant woman. This does not consider the cost of medications a person may need. This does not consider the cost of visits to specialized doctors like a dermatologist or a gynecologist. This does not consider the cost of visits to a psychologist for someone who is mentally ill. This does not consider the cost of staying alive.
For Americans living in poverty, health care is a luxury, even though it is a necessity. Those fortunate enough to have never lived without health care have difficulty understanding what it’s like to live without it. Should this new health care bill pass, millions would be forced to live without something that should be a basic necessity. We can only hope senate leaders question whether their bargain rights for repealing Obamacare is truly worth it. Is it worth engineering the lives of the 22 million who will be uninsured? The 15 million? We say no, and we can only hope Senate leaders will say the same.