Reader Response: Don’t pass Graham-Cassidy health care bill | Local News

A majority of area readers believe Congress should not pass the upcoming health care proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a Free Press member question.

Out of 277 total respondents, 188 — about 68 percent of the vote — believe Congress should oppose the bill. Only 89 respondents supported the bill.

The newest effort by Republicans to craft health care legislation made headlines last week. Sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, the bill gives more authority and flexibility to states to waive current federal insurance mandates. The bill also makes deep cuts to Medicaid and authorizes more federal block grants to states.

Yet the bill came under fire and public scrutiny as GOP lawmakers rushed to pass it before the Congressional Budget Office could estimate how it would affect Americans. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel notably lambasted the bill and its authors, and several prominent GOP senators backed away from the bill over the weekend, leaving Republicans scrambling to shore up support. They were unsuccessful, however — Senators announced Tuesday they would withdraw a scheduled vote on the bill, effectively killing it.

The Free Press online question, sent to readers Sept. 22, asked the question, “Should Congress approve the Graham-Cassidy health care bill?”

There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no.”

Commenters were largely divided over whether Congress should pass Graham-Cassidy. Some believed the bill was a good way to start reforms on health care and insurance costs, while others said the bill wasn’t fully thought out and needed more input from the medical industry and Democrats.

Rebecca Oerman wrote, “While I would love to have a complete repeal of ‘ObummerCare,’ my fear is that this is probably as close to that as we’re going to get. It’s not perfect, but it is an improvement. As for bipartisanship, I fear that ship has sailed; neither side seems willing to compromise. We need a couple of things: term limits and all government officials and workers from the top down need to be subject to the same health care that they pass.”

“Replace yes but not in a vacuum,” wrote Don Wesseling. “Involve both sides and the health care industry along with the health insurance providers. Our Congress seems to think they are the experts in all matters. Believe it or not, there are others that may have some real good ideas on how to improve cost and coverage.”

Other commenters vehemently opposed the bill and chided Republicans for trying to push it through without a CBO score. Others felt Congress needed to have more discussion on a universal health care system.

Gwen Henricksen wrote, “Any health care changes or modifications need to be a bipartisan undertaking with input from all sides, including expertise from insurance and medical providers. There is usually room for improvement, but it makes no sense to pass a new bill which removes protections for pre-existing conditions and lifetime coverage maximums. Everyone should consider what they vote for today might have a huge impact on their constituents and their own families in the future.”

“While I advocate for universal health care that covers all Americans, I think the cost of that would devastate the economy … if we didn’t change the delivery system,” wrote Nancy Zwickey. “At some point in time (and it had better be soon) the leaders of this country (and the voters who put them there) need to face the reality of what has happened to health care in the United States and do something about it. When I look at the cost of the deductibles and co-pays that my children are paying … it’s easy to understand why so many people do not carry health insurance.”

The Free Press question is emailed to Free Press readers and not the general population.

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