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Doctors And Patients To Congress: Don't Sacrifice Health Care For Wealth Care In The GOP Tax Scam

12/08/2017 17:58 EST | Updated 12/09/2017 12:25 EST
Dr America
Dec 7, 2017: Sanjeev K Sriram, MD, MPH (aka Dr America), between Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Ben Cardin, speaking about the Republican tax bills’ devastating impact on health care.

My patients are struggling to survive the Trump Administration and the GOP Congress. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. The GOP tax scam is yet another assault on the health care of my patients and their families. All year long the Republicans have attacked the ACA and Medicaid with no regard for the millions of everyday people who will suffer.

Let me tell you a little bit about my patients. They are children struggling with poverty just a few minutes away from where we’re standing right now. I worry about their survival because politicians in Congress are not prioritizing their basic human right of health care. Rather than extend CHIP and give my patients’ families peace of mind about their children’s coverage and health care, Republicans have prioritized huge, unnecessary tax cuts for the super rich.

If the GOP tax scam becomes law, the federal deficit will explode. My patients will suffer even more because their federal government will tell them it can not afford basic necessities like health care, nutrition, and housing.

But that is a lie. We can afford all of these things when we stop giving enormous, unnecessary tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations.

The parents and grandparents of my patients are working hard, often at multiple jobs, just to make ends meet. Senator Hatch, they are not just lifting a finger to help themselves. They are lifting ALL their fingers. They are sweeping floors, serving coffee, stocking shelves, working security, pouring drinks, waiting tables and contributing to comforts and cleanliness for their fellow Americans. They are pinching every penny they earn, Senator Grassley, not spending it on booze, women and movies.

Patients and families across the country need Congress to support Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. The Senate version of the GOP Tax Scam repeals the individual mandate to have health insurance. 13 million people will lose coverage, 5 million will lose Medicaid, and premiums will skyrocket for millions more. To make matters worse, the GOP tax scam causes enormous deficits that will trigger major cuts to Medicare: $25 billion in the next year and $400 billion in the next ten years.

Patients will die. That is not an exaggeration. After the 2013 sequestration cuts, Medicare lost funding, and elderly cancer patients needing chemotherapy were turned away by doctors and hospitals. Under the GOP tax scam, Medicare loses, and so do patients and families. What does Congress want us to do? Is GoFundMe how they expect all but the super-rich to pay for health care?

We do not need this tax reform. We need to reform our attitudes toward children and families with low incomes. We need to treat health care like the basic human right that it is, regardless of a person’s income or employment status. Doctors, patients and families have a very clear message for Congress: stop the GOP tax scam. We will not sacrifice health care for wealth care.