This article was written and submitter by Cath Kestler, activist and resident of Silver Creek, NY (#ReedsLastTerm)
“A great victory for the American people. We are finally on the path to fixing our broke and broken health care system. The AHCA upholds protections for pre-existing conditions and the expansion of Medicaid, which help our most vulnerable populations. The bill will also provide much needed tax relief for New Yorkers who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid. We care about giving people the freedom and flexibility to make their own health decisions…” –Rep. Tom Reed
The above statement is the memorized version of what Reed wants and hopes you believe—lock, stock and barrel. But the bottom line is the AHCA will again benefit Reed whereas the ACA hit him in his wallet.
I hope most of you know Tom Reed, the lawyer was and still is benefitting from R & R Recovery, a medical debt collection agency where he would buy up medical debt at pennies on the dollar and in-turn sue the patient or the survivor(s) of those who couldn’t afford health insurance. His actions could garnish your wages or Social Security checks, seize your tax returns, and yes even cause you to file bankruptcy, which the latter would allow him to have inside information on whether you owned property with minerals rights and we all know how he was snapping those up with greed over the chance to frack New York—but I digress.
Professor Ken Thomas, a political economist had wrote that medical bills were one of the main reasons, if not THE biggest reason for a person to file for personal bankruptcy, in Consumer Reports.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) played a considerable role in the marked decline of people filing for personal bankruptcies which hit a substantial high of 1.5 million cases in 2010 alone.
In 2006, the US had a rate (6000 per million population) which was twice of Canada’s (3000 per million population), which in turn far outstripped #3 Germany (1200 per million population). The US and Canada rates have long been the highest because they had the most debtor-friendly bankruptcy systems, so debtors, like Reed, took advantage of it when they could.
Back in 1982 we (Canada and the US) had similar rates, but after US rates increased substantially more rapid than Canada. At this time US health care costs rose exponentially outranking other OECD countries—evidence medical bills were contributing to our higher rates of bankruptcy.
We can thank the ACA for the rapid decline in personal bankruptcy rates in the US due to the consumer protections built into the ACA. Those protections included a ban on yearly/lifetime limits, guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ policy until the age of 26.
With the possibility of “Trumpcare” passage could reverse many of the protections with the conclusions being obvious that personal bankruptcies will rise again. This bill was rushed through the House in March and it was withdrawn at the last minute because it didn’t have the support it needed to pass; not to mention it didn’t have a CBO score (which would determine the outcome financially for the population) and it was brought up again last week and passed the House. Now it is up to the Senate to come up with their version and the committee is made up only of men, absolutely no representation or voice for women.
Take a look at the name of the bill and it shows you who exactly the Republican Congress is protecting—it surely isn’t the people who they work for it the big donors and in Reed’s case, his business, which is still being run by the family. Can you say ‘conflict of interest’???
With Reed’s vote, it doesn’t represent what his press release stated. Reed and his co-horts voted to:
- Cut 76,000 from Medicaid in the NY-23rd.
- Cut $11 million from Medicaid funds to NY-23rd Counties.
- Allows insurance companies to charge seniors up to five times more than 18 year olds for the same insurance.
- Allows insurance companies to sell policies without outpatient care, hospitalization, maternity/newborn care, mental health services (but these patients can more easily access guns and ammunition), addiction treatments, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services/devices, lab services, wellness services, chronic disease treatments and pediatric services.
- Encourage patients to the use Emergency Rooms instead of going to seek treatment from your Primary Care Physician.
- Exempt Congress and their staff from having to use AHCA health care.
- To give people making over $200,000 (or a couple $250,000) per year a huge tax cut.
If “Trumpcare” is such a fantastic program, why did Congress exempt them from having to have these restrictions?
This bill was voted on by Reed because the ACA cut into his money-making abilities under his medical debt recovery business. In 2010, there were 1,536,799 bankruptcies per year because of medical debt and with the implementation of the ACA personal bankruptcies per year fell to 770,846, which is a huge decline—the repeal of the ACA will see the filings of bankruptcies rise and Reed’s family will be rolling larger at the cost to his constituents losing their health care.
Reed’s self-interest may partially explain his vote, but he would have voted with his party anyway. Republican mis-leaders, unable to improve on Obamacare, have long been determined to destroy it at any cost to the public. The word “broke” in Reed’s press release reflects his belief that healthcare for all is less important than low taxes for the rich and super rich.
Rep. TOm gReed.
Is Reed required to disclose his finances and tax returns each year?
The Federal Elections Commission website has his donor and campaign financial info. I haven’t seen any income tax disclosures by Reed. Opensecrets.org also has campaign donor and other info.
I wish he believed in transparency like Senator Gillibrand does; she posts her tax returns and financials on her website.
Members of Congress file financial disclosures on May 15 for the previous year. Watch here for it on Monday.