On health care, keep on resisting

When it comes to the ongoing fight over the future of the U.S. health care system — or non-system — Dr. Sanjiv Sri has a message for all of us: Keep resisting.

That’s because congressional Republicans will stop at nothing to take health care away from between 22 million and 32 million people, at least.

Their latest attempt, in the U.S. Senate, went forward on July 25, when solons voted to start debate on the scheme by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to repeal the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act, and allegedly replace it.

GOP Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50-50 tie – two courageous Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski defied their party line to produce that deadlock – to get debate going.  Other potential renegade Republicans wimped out.

The question is: Debate on what?

Details are vague and ever-changing, but McConnell wants the money that repeal “saves” to be used not as the ACA intends — to help everyone pay for health care — but for a tax cut for the rich.

And that repeal and “replace” sent hundreds of thousands of people, including unionists, into the streets on July 29. More protests are sure to follow. Sri is urging them on.

“When they start talking about health care as a privilege, we’re way past that,” Sri, a physician from D.C. who advocates government-run single-payer national health care for told a rally the week before on Capitol Hill. “We believe health care is a basic human right.

“And one by one we have turned into a force to be reckoned with” in the health care war, he told the crowd, just before they headed out to lobby lawmakers on the issue.

But the initial wins in the cause of preserving health care “make me nervous because we still have a lot of work to do in the rest of 2017,” Sri warned. “Not all of us will survive this if we don’t speak up and keep doing what we’re doing today,” namely campaigning against the Republicans’ health care takeaway

“Let’s stay in the streets,” Sri urged. “We’re doing this for our families.”  And “we’re doing this…so that women’s health won’t be treated as a second-class issue.”

That’s it, exactly. We have to stay in the streets, opposing the GOP health care repeal plans until McConnell’s measure, also known as Trumpcare, is dead and buried for good.

Then maybe Congress will come to its senses and, first, improve the ACA — such as legislating against huge drug company price hikes and insurance company gouging — before voting for the real solution, Medicare For All, thus abolishing the rapacious insurers who rake in billions of our dollars in overhead in the middle, while denying us care.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.