July 18, 2017

Behold my congressman for less than one more term, Rodney Davis.

In many ways, Rodney is a typical Republican congressman. He does not "believe" in town halls. He says he wants "free market solutions" to health insurance. And to "take Washington" out of the Medicaid program.

Confronted with statements from Republican governors expressing "concern" (yeah) about the Senate healthcare bill, Davis says with a straight face that he hopes Republican governors will see the Republican Congress tossing responsibility for Medicaid as "a challenge they look forward to tackling."

Really, Rodney? You do realize that Republican governors must balance their budgets and can't print money, right? That most of them are in states that are near bankruptcy already, thanks to their own tax cuts and an abandonment of revenue sharing by...you guessed it...the Republican Congress of years past?

And Rodney made the local news here, too. My local paper, The State Journal-Register, had an unusual page-one above the fold story on Davis and how his party's ideas for healthcare are widely seen as "unworkable."

Able-bodied adults need to be removed from the program and placed into employer-based health coverage, he said. Otherwise, states such as Illinois “aren’t going to be able to afford to cover their share of Medicaid’s expenses” for people “who truly need it the most,” he said.

What Davis and other Republicans want to see happen — somehow moving low-income, non-disabled adults from the ACA-funded, expanded Medicaid program to jobs with employer-sponsored private coverage — won’t be easy, and their plans probably won’t work, according to a health-policy expert at the Chicago-based Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

“It’s just unrealistic,” said Stephanie Altman...

This gave me an opportunity to write the SJ-R a letter to the editor, reprinted in its entirety here. I have already written to Congressman Davis and received his two page form letter about "freedom from Washington."

Dear Editor:

This weekend Congressman Rodney Davis argued that Medicaid was being used by "able-bodied people" and that Medicaid expansion was creating medical shortages for the elderly and disabled. He also advocated those same "able-bodied" people be moved to employer-based policies.

If Congressman Davis is correct about medical shortages, that means that every time an able-bodied person signs up for a private insurance policy, that somehow makes for less medical care for sick people on those same policies. That is not how insurance works.

Also, are Mr. Davis and his Republican colleagues planning on introducing legislation to force the nation's largest employer, WalMart, and other retailers and part-time employers, to provide health insurance as a benefit to all of their employees? Is he advocating laws that force companies to convert their workforce to 100% full-time status with benefits?

That would be wonderful. But that is not the Republican argument.

It's time to abandon the Republican notion that somehow there are Americans who do not "deserve" health insurance.

Frances Langum

Feel free to steal any of this language for your own letter to the editor or to your congressman.

Ed. Note: Fran wrote this before the news broke that the current Trumpcare bill in the Senate is dead. But it is still relevant, given that Mitch McConnell plans to revive the 2015 version of repeal that takes health insurance from 32 million people and jacks premiums for everyone else. Maybe the specifics change a bit, but it's still a good idea to write and keep the pressure on.

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