Republicans are not working for all of us

This past week, Senate Republicans unveiled their version of their long awaited Obamacare repeal.

The bill was written in secrecy, without any Democratic input, and by a select group of senators — all of them older white men.

One would assuredly think that any legislation that affects the lives of all Americans, and drastically restructures one-sixth of the economy, would be discussed and debated publicly. That type of thinking would be wrong.

To assume that legislators actually care for public input or are trying to solve the fundamental flaws within the American health care system is naive, to say the least.

Republicans keep insisting that they must act for the benefit of all Americans because Obamacare is in a death spiral.

Obamacare is not perfect, but no massive legislation is at birth. It was never intended to stand alone in perpetuity. But, instead, it was meant to be tweaked, enhanced, or reformed where necessary.

However, Republicans have not just been torpedoing any and every opportunity to do so, they have been actively sabotaging it by destabilizing the exchanges.

The entirety of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are about one thing, and one thing only — tax cuts. The philosophical idea that the top 1 percent pay a sliver extra in taxes to pay for a government benefit for others keeps the Paul Ryans of the world up at night.

Instead of focusing on the return of wealth to the already wealthy, there are real questions with Obamacare and the health care system as a whole that need answers.

Why is it that 20 percent of Americans qualify for Medicaid? Are employers to blame for low wages and benefits? Why do Americans pay overwhelmingly more for health care than any other country? What obligations does our society have for its sick and poor? How does all of this affect the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis?

I am sure of one thing: The vaunted “free market” is not the solution. In fact, it’s one of the causes. The profit motive should not have a place in life or death health care decisions. No one person has all the answers to these questions.

I’m sure the Senate’s 52 Republicans don’t, either.

Zach Winkler

Altoona

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