Skip to main content

The All-Male Club That Will Decide Your Health Care

The All-Male Club That Will Decide Your Health Care
By Pablo Ros ·

We’ve all heard stories about how politics used to be done, with deals being made in secret, in smoke-filled back rooms.

The smoke may be the only thing missing from today’s U.S Senate negotiations on health care. A group of 13 men from the same political party, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), is meeting behind closed doors to make decisions about the future of our healthcare system.

They are all conservative lawmakers and they’re excluding all others from the process – women and members of the opposing party.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri recently expressed frustration about this lack of transparency and inclusion.

“There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions,” she said, referring to the coterie that’s drafting a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. “We’re not even going to have a hearing, on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy.”

Watch her full comments here:

There’s a lack of information regarding the details of the bill. But if it’s anything like the cruel version passed by the House in May, it could leave 23 million people without health care insurance and cost thousands of lives.

Even President Donald Trump, who previously praised the House bill as “a great plan,” now calls it “mean.”

Here is how reports so far describe the bill being drafted by the good old boys’ Senate club. It would:

  • Take away Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion that now covers more than 11 million people, although more gradually than the House bill;
  • Threaten health care for the millions of children, seniors, and disabled Americans who rely on Medicaid by restricting federal Medicaid payments to the states;
  • Weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and allow states to eliminate the essential health benefit standards that make insurance companies cover things like maternity care or prescription drugs.

In a column published in The Columbus Dispatch this week, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders underscored Medicaid’s importance to the states.

In the two years following the implementation of Obamacare, Saunders wrote that the uninsured rate in Ohio fell by half, from 12 percent to 6 percent. Cuts to the program, he wrote, would be devastating to the Buckeye State, which is experiencing a growing opioid addiction crisis.

“All told, the program – which 1 in 5 Americans depends upon for health care – would be slashed nearly in half over the next decade,” Saunders wrote of Medicaid. “Meanwhile, millionaires and large corporations would be in line for a huge tax giveaway.”

It’s time for the secretive Senate club to exit its back room and listen to the rest of us. This is still a democracy, after all. AFSCME will continue to oppose congressional attempts to weaken or kill the ACA.

Related Posts