Trumpcare vote was a mistake

Representative Ken Buck is my representative in the Colorado Fourth District.

Dear Representative Buck,

You made several mistakes in voting for the House version of AHCA or Trumpcare. It’s a mistake to obsessively continue to pursue “repealing and replacing Obamacare.” Eight years of a quixotic quest to oppose anything associated with President Obama is an obsession, especially when it started before President Obama was even in office. Improving the ACA and making healthcare available and affordable to more people would be laudable. Keeping a “promise” is honorable only when the original promise was honorable. As a former DA, you know we don’t honor people just because they never gave up on a promise to kill someone.

It is immoral to weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions. Such protections should NOT depend on the state in which a person lives, the particular job they have or how much money they earn. Allowing health insurance corporations to increase profits on the backs of people who have been sick or injured (or even just pregnant) is inhumane.

It is also shortsighted to allow insurance corporations to reduce or eliminate essential benefits. Addiction and mental health treatments are crucial basic services that prevent suffering and subsequent health problems. And for someone who claims to be “pro life,” limiting maternity and pregnancy care and defunding Planned Parenthood, the agency that reduces abortions more than any other single agency by providing contraception to more people, makes no sense at all.

The most cost-effective health care is preventive health care. Any plan that does not eliminate out-of-pocket costs for preventive services will cost all of us much more in the long run.

Eliminating the expansion of Medicaid will be particularly devastating on rural hospitals, including those in your congressional district. And you know Colorado will not make up the difference because of our right-wing tax restrictions.

Underlying all of these mistakes is the fallacy that “free market” solutions or state control are morally or economically superior to federal programs. A person’s health coverage should not depend on the state in which they reside. Profiteering corporations do not make better decisions than government agencies, even with the idealistic benefits of competition. In forty years of post-doctoral practice as a clinical psychologist, I have never seen an insurance company improve mental heath care or contribute to the mental health of a single person. The failed attempt to reduce mental health care costs through insurance-controlled “Managed Care” in the 1990s did the opposite. It simply restricted care and increased cost by adding more profit-motivated insurance contractors between providers and patients.

Representative Buck, you can correct your mistakes by not supporting any plan that does not significantly improve and expand the ACA and does not just dump the responsibility for healthcare onto the states. Mistakes can be stepping stones towards understanding and wisdom if we learn from them.

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