There are times where nobody wins

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Whether you follow the news or not, almost everyone you know was affected by last week’s vote on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare. 

Was the impact good or bad for you?  The answer is “it depends”.   We are all passengers on a train running on rails that have no known destination.  Healthcare costs are continuing to spiral out of control.   Yet, tens of millions more Americans now have access to insurance, even if they can’t afford it.

Healthcare has never been uniform or cheap.  My own grandmother suffered from a brain tumor in the 1930’s.  My grandfather worked most of his life to pay off the debts incurred by the surgery to remove the tumor. 

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Months after the operation, Granny Ponder woke up from a long coma.  Miraculously, she lived another 60 years.  Would everyone have had access to the surgery that saved her life during the Great Depression?  Certainly not.   Did the government assist in the payments of the enormous cost of the cutting edge treatment at the time?  Absolutely not. 

What has changed?  Not so much, yet quite a bit.  Healthcare is still biased towards those who can afford the best care, or at least the best insurance to pay for that care.  Despite the heroic efforts of generations of rural doctors and hospitals, rural Americans still suffer from a lack of quality care that is often available in urban areas with research and university facilities.

Donalsonville and Bainbridge are luckier than most rural cities.  These hospitals provide quality care, with dedicated doctors, nurses and staff at both facilities.  You don’t have to drive very far to see other communities that are failing economically, contracting in size and services.   Cities that lose their hospitals usually never recover.

For the past three hours I have been listening to the political spin about the removal of the healthcare plan vote in the House of Representatives.  Who is to blame?  Democrats that uniformly planned to vote no?  Republicans that could not unite behind a single plan?    

Who are the losers and the winners?   President Trump?  Speaker Ryan?  Nancy Pelosi?   These questions are all framed in the context of politics.  The rhetoric is passionate, but almost devoid of any true understanding related to average Americans who are only interested in good healthcare at an affordable price.

We now move on to the Supreme Court Justice vote.  Then Tax Reform and Immigration Reform.  The travel ban has been struck down twice.   The Healthcare vote may or may not happen again, if anyone could actually agree on a genuinely better plan.   Tax reform may be as contentious a discussion as we have had yet in this newly formed Congress.

For now, we can just reflect on what might have been with the new Healthcare Bill.   Some may have been better off with the bill passing.  Some may be better off now that the vote is postponed.  Most have no clue, beyond what the talking heads on so-called news programs tell us.  Heaven help us if that is how we are going to make our decisions moving forward.

Sometimes no one wins.   Certainly not those who need the help the most.  I believe this to be one of those times.