Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 20, 2018

Rural Iowans stand to lose from new health care bill

By Eva Smith | Jun 30, 2017

To the editor:

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better, and said that he would never cut Medicaid. He also told us that unlike other politicians, he’d stand by his word.

Now, we’re presented with a Senate health care bill that will cost 22 million Americans their health insurance and cut $770 billion out of Medicaid over the next 10 years. The bill uses most of those cuts, not to reduce the federal deficit, but to give $700 billion in tax savings to wealthy Americans — with $300 billion going to the top 1 percent, according to Brookings Institute.

Medicaid pays for 49 percent of births in this country and 62 percent of seniors in nursing homes, according to NPR. These are middle class Americans who have worked and paid taxes all their lives, and who can’t afford the high costs of nursing care.

Medicaid also is responsible for 18 percent of the income in rural hospitals.

Hospitals have low margins, and if the income from Medicaid gets reduced, we are likely to see many rural Iowa hospitals having to close their doors, reports Iowa Public Radio.

What would a drastic change in funding mean for a rural hospital such as Jefferson County Health Center? Keokuk County Health Center CEO Robb Gardner recently told Iowa Public Radio that Medicaid cuts are expected to damage the hospital, and they expect to have to reduce their services.

Will this be the case with Jefferson County Health Center as well if the new health care bill passes? Could the day come when our local hospital might have to downsize — or even close, and we have to travel far distances to get basic services?

If Donald Trump promised to make health care better, why does he stand behind a bill that even he (when describing the House version of the bill) characterizes as “mean?” Is this really what Donald Trump had in mind when he promised to replace Obamacare with something better?

Is cutting health care from 22 million Americans, slashing nursing care funding from our seniors and health care for the poor, while giving $700 billion in tax cuts to the wealthy making America great again?

Or is it just that Donald Trump is like any other Washington politician: He will say whatever it takes to get into office and once in, work hard and long to help his rich friends get richer?

Don’t become a victim of this bill. Call Sen. Grassley at 202-224-3744 and Sen. Joni Ernst at 202-224-3254 and ask them not to support a health care bill that hurts millions of Americans.


– Eva Smith, Fairfield

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