By Bob Weaver

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R} has joined Sen. Joe Manchin (D), both announcing they will oppose the most recent Republican plan to reform Obamacare, while all of WV's Republican congressmen remain for it.

The current bill would eliminate coverage for 22 million people, and takes a major hit at eliminating coverage for millions more of Medicaid recipients.

It drastically hurts older Americans not yet on Medicare.

These changes would be particularly devastating in West Virginia, which currently receives 78 percent of funding for the state's Medicaid program from the federal government.

Republicans deny it will cut Medicaid benefits, but the analysis by the government says otherwise.

The "health care bill" isn't really about health care at all. It's the first step in a massive redistribution of wealth from struggling wage-earners to the rich — a theft of historic proportions.

It would likely be the greatest single shift toward America's wealth holders in the nation's history, albeit that Obamacare has many flaws. The bill is not about fixing them or looking to control the usurious cost of healthcare, medications and private insurance providers.

Despite Donald Trump repeatedly campaigned against downsizing Medicaid and calling the present bill "mean," he's on board with the Republicans that control congress for passage. Trump said the new bill would have "heart" in a tweet.

What Republicans in both chambers want to do is cut nearly $1 trillion over the next decade from the Medicaid program, which presently serves almost 70 million people.

Medicaid provides health care not just for the indigent and disabled but also for the working poor — low-wage employees who cannot afford health insurance, even the plans offered through their jobs.

The working poor in WV will take one of the biggest hits among the 50 states.

Several thousand West Virginians would have to take their loved one out of nursing homes, including middle-class seniors whose savings have been exhausted. Roughly two-thirds of those in US nursing homes have their care paid by Medicaid.

Children's health services, including coverage for 6,000 WV foster children, will take a hit.

Why would Republicans want to slash this vital program, although they have long been about entitled reform and reducing the national debt?

It is the GOP's intention not to use the savings to pay down the national debt. Instead, slashing Medicaid spending creates fiscal headroom for what is euphemistically being called "tax reform" — a soon-to-come package of huge tax cuts favoring the wealthy.

This is being called fake news.

But the bill calls for cutting Medicaid for tax cuts.

The main course is intended to be big cuts in individual and corporate tax rates that would benefit the rich.

The ACA is far from perfect, but recall that it was designed with input from the insurance and pharmacy industry.

Yes, Obamacare is in trouble in many states. Republican governors and state legislatures refused to set up exchanges that would make insurance more affordable and declined the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage.

Neither the House nor the Senate bill fully dismantles the scaffolding of Obamacare, wanting to erase the central concept that the ACA established - that health care is a fundamental right, not a privilege depending on one's income.

Pig's lipstick is being applied with a trowel to make it sound good, but it is sacrificing Medicaid for tax cuts, and thousands who voted for Donald Trump in WV will be directly affected.

West Virginia has been called "ground zero" of the opioid epidemic that is ripping across the nation, with the highest death rate in the nation.

There have been so many overdose deaths in West Virginia that medical examiners and funeral homes are overwhelmed. The state's fund for indigent burials was depleted five months before the end of the fiscal year.

The proposed Medicaid changes essentially eliminate drug treatment.

Vital programming reliant on federal Medicaid dollars, including school-based community health clinics that are a lifeline in our rural communities, would likely be unable to continue.

With nearly 30 percent of West Virginians receiving health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, the loss of this funding would mean significant reductions in the number of people and the scope of services eligible for coverage.

Again, low-income West Virginians would face the loss of care, and rely mostly on emergency room visits. Many of them blame "the takers" for abusing the system, when in fact the working poor outnumbers the so-called "takers" as beneficiaries.

The impact on rural hospitals and clinics would likely lead to closings.

In West Virginia, federal funds provided through Medicaid expansion offset $43 million in state behavioral-health program funding in 2015 alone.

Unfortunately, in the political hubris, most do not put faces to real people who would suffer and die.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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