How ‘access’ became a dirty word
Watching the recent congressional cabinet hearings, I can’t help but be concerned about the Republican cabinet nominees and the standing speakers’ use and meaning of the word “access” when it comes to health care coverage for Americans.
Under the current system, the Affordable Care Act, there is veritable universal coverage for all Americans, free for the in- digent and subsidies for the working poor. Now, I think we can all agree the current law has some serious flaws, as it has driven up insurance premiums in some instances and many insurance providers have declined to participate given the cap on the subsidies they are receiving. So then, where do we go from here?
The president has said that all Americans will be covered by health insurance with the Republican replacement of Obamacare. Conversely, the incoming head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Thomas Price; the majority leader in the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); and our speaker of the house have countered the president with a proposal to offer all Americans “access” to health care. Just in case you’re not really sure what that means, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defined “access to” as akin to having access to a $10 million mansion but no money to buy it.
Further, a congressional aide to McConnell was quoted recently as saying, “We would like to get to a point where we have what we call universal access, where everybody is able to access coverage to some degree or another.”
“To some degree or another” — does that give you a warm fuzzy?
Bottom line: The “Elephant Party” party has only recently started to include “replace” with its incessant chants for “repeal” regarding Obamacare. Its original position was summarized and defined recently by rightwing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Rush stated that health care should be treated just like any other commodity, meaning the price and access to health care should be determined by the marketplace.
Sadly, it’s more likely this “replace” change in strategy was driven more by a fear of voter retaliation at the polls than it was by some sudden infusion of compassion into the party’s platform.
Meanwhile, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how they will eventually define what they mean by the word “access.” David J. Reed, Lusby