cold and mortal

January 24, 2017

(display images, it’ll help)

Back to this project’s roots. I’m going to devote each of the next few newsletters to a specific topic, giving an overview of recent developments and a look at what will be coming next.

First up: healthcare. Republicans have been champing at the bit to repeal Obamacare for years, and they’re finally getting their chance. Despite the fact that the American Care Act has generally been a success, and nobody has any idea how to replace it, it looks like the Act’s days are numbered.
 1. Trump’s first executive order directed government agencies to scale back as many aspects of Obamacare as legally possible.

The one-page order, which Mr. Trump signed in a hastily arranged Oval Office ceremony shortly before departing for the inaugural balls, gave no specifics about which aspects of the law it was targeting. But its broad language gave federal agencies wide latitude to change, delay or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug makers, doctors, patients or states, suggesting that it could have wide-ranging impact, and essentially allowing the dismantling of the law to begin even before Congress moves to repeal it. (source)

Here’s a more detailed look at the executive order and what it actually means.
 2. Repeal will be bad for a lot of people. It is still unclear exactly which parts of the law will be scrapped. However, there are signs that the protections for preexisting conditions will be removed. Currently, health insurers are not allowed to deny you coverage or charge you more based on any preexisting conditions.
 Here’s a look at some of the things that may no longer be covered by policies (or that could make your healthcare more expensive):

 3. Repealing Obamacare will kill more than 43,000 people every year.

The story is in the data: The biggest and most definitive study of what happens to death rates when Medicaid coverage is expanded, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that for every 455 people who gained coverage across several states, one life was saved per year. Applying that figure to even a conservative estimate of 20 million losing coverage in the event of an ACA repeal yields an estimate of 43,956 deaths annually. (source)

That’s about four times the gun homicide rate in this country.
 4. The Democrats will not help:

5. A Lucille Clifton poem: