The horror show of US healthcare entered one of its darkest chapters last week. The Republican Party has pushed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act through the House of Representatives.
The bill is yet to be voted on by the Senate.
Obamacare was flawed to begin with. And the compromises made to push it through the US legislature left millions cut off from the limited protections it offered.
But the repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), is a wholescale assault on the social aspects of US healthcare that exist.
It is a victory for the right wing of the Republican Party, such as the Freedom Caucus that overturned the first version of the AHCA.
This version is even more vicious. It will cut Medicaid by more than £600 billion over the next ten years.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would leave 24 million people without insurance in ten years time if passed.
It will mean 129 million people with some form of medical condition could see their insurance premiums increase far beyond what they can afford.
It also means that insurance companies can say that a wide range of medical problems are “pre-existing conditions”. Meaning people may not be able to file claims for them.
These include sexual assault, domestic abuse and rape.
Republican congressperson Mo Brooks tried to justify the move by saying that “those people who lead good lives…they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy”.
Employers in the US with over 50 workers are supposed to provide a health insurance plan for them. The AHCA will mean that these requirements are dropped, leaving millions of people looking for insurance on the private market.
The changes will also mean that states will decide whether insurance plans need to cover the costs of check-ups and other standard procedures.
The Trump administration wants to drive the market into most aspects of US society.
The movement that sprung up around town hall meetings during the first Obamacare repeal bill has been reignited (see below). And health campaigners are joining others fighting Trump’s attacks.
That’s the way the movement can win.
Protests took place in over 50 cities and towns across the US on Monday.
They were called by the Women’s March organisation that was behind the huge protests that followed Donald Trump’s inauguration.
People used the mobilisation to push back against the attacks coming from the White House.
In cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Virginia Beach and Normal in the state of Illinois, activists held protests against the repeal of Obamacare.
In other places people held protests outside senators’ local meetings with stalls for people to sign the Women’s March “declaration of liberation”.
Meanwhile the Harvest Movement is building up to its most serious action yet—a seven day strike.
The Harvest Movement is the migrant workers’ organisation behind the Day Without Immigrants protests on 1 May.
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