GOP makes war on health care

70 years of health care in the UK:

It’s starting to feel like the ’60s again. The odor of marijuana is ever present at large events downtown. Students are organizing “die-ins” to protest gun violence. In Reno, hundreds of people showed up twice in one week to protest the cruel immigration policies of Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump.

Many people have reached their personal tipping points and are ready to confront elected officials wherever they might be encountered, in restaurants or other public spaces, and hold them accountable for their actions. It’s refreshing and encouraging in these frustrating times to see citizens take action and exercise their democracy.

Is the tide really turning? Happily, corrupt EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned last week after widespread evidence of ethical transgressions, wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, and misuse of staff to resolve his personal concerns, like finding his wife a $200,000 job. Even our imbecilic president couldn’t save him from himself.

But every day brings a new outrage. It’s heartbreaking to see immigrant children languishing in detention centers, still separated from their parents. And a looming Supreme Court appointment could have disastrous consequences for our nation for decades to come.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are after your health care again. In June, the Trump administration announced it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against yet another challenge to its constitutionality by 20 red states who argue that now that the requirement to have health insurance is no longer valid, insurance companies cannot be expected to uphold consumer protections embedded in the law.

The most prominent of the consumer protections is the prohibition against considering someone’s pre-existing medical conditions when setting the price of insurance premiums or denying coverage altogether. One health advocate noted the change “would be breathtaking in its effect. Of all the actions the Trump administration has taken to undermine individual insurance markets, this may be the most destabilizing.”

Protect Our Care, a Nevada advocacy group, estimates that 51 percent of Nevadans have a pre-existing condition that could make them uninsurable. Before Obamacare, about 18 percent of individual market applications were rejected by insurance companies due to a pre-existing condition.

Trump is also sabotaging Obamacare by cutting funding for “navigators” who conduct outreach activities and assist people in determining their options for health insurance, an especially important service in these volatile times when premiums are expected to rise sharply thanks to the Republicans’ zeal to ruin Obamacare even if it leaves millions of people without insurance.

Many Republican leaders at the state level are waging a “War on Medicaid.” In Kentucky, Governor Matt Bevin reacted to a federal judge’s ruling that the state could not impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients that were “arbitrary and capricious” by announcing the cancellation of dental and vision benefits for Kentucky’s Medicaid population. Back in Nevada, our more moderate GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval has taken a decidedly different approach, supporting the expansion of Medicaid to childless adults without such arduous requirements.

But GOP Atty. Gen. Adam Laxalt continues to crusade against reproductive rights, signing onto an amicus brief in Texas to support banning a specific type of abortion utilized in the second trimester of pregnancy. In an interview with KOLO’s Terri Russell—who, unlike Laxalt, lived in Nevada in 1990 when the voters approved a ballot measure to protect access to abortion even if Roe v Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court—Laxalt displayed his ignorance of the referendum before hinting that he would look into changing it if he becomes governor.

The fundamental question we should all be asking GOP candidates this election cycle is why are they working so hard to take away our health care? And if you don’t like their answers, eliminate their power by voting them out.