Senate health care bill would be a disaster for Texas

Emma Berdanier

Upon revealing a new healthcare bill meant to replace Obamacare, the U.S. Senate Republicans had everyone’s worst expectations at heart. These expectations were met and exceeded with the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Despite what the name suggests, the bill doesn’t better our health care, but instead aims to strip it away until all that’s left are bare bones of what once was a working system.

A nonpartisan CBO report released Monday estimated that the repercussions of the new bill would be devastating. Twenty-two million Americans would lose insurance under the new bill over the next decade, adding to our already high rate of uninsured people. And the newly uninsured would come in large part from Texas, which holds the rank of having the largest population of uninsured people, with 16.8 percent of its population lacking insurance.

Under Obamacare, Texas saw its rate of uninsured people drop significantly, from 25 percent in 2010 to the aforementioned 16.8 percent in 2015. This significant improvement, while it still has yet to erase Texas’ name from the top of the list of states with the most uninsured people, is not the product of a failing healthcare system but of a thriving one. To replace it with the abomination that is this bill will only cause Texas to spiral back on these numbers as the uninsured rates increase rapidly.

This bill, while already highly contentious in the Senate among Republicans and Democrats alike, has garnered a uniform no from all Democrats. The Republicans, on the other hand, are exhibiting a greater mix of reactions to the bill, ranging from stringent, partisan support to going as far as backing out of the bill altogether and questioning its legitimacy. To those Republicans in opposition of the bill — including our very own Ted Cruz — I offer my kudos. I didn’t think you had it in you to go against party lines on such a hot issue.

That said, simply acknowledging the issues within this bill, that makes its aim to strip Americans of their healthcare is not enough. Not if, when a final vote is held, the same politicians who spoke largely about advocating for a fair health care reform return to their party lines and instead vote in favor of these strict cuts.

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn both need to be a voice for Texas, the home of our nation’s uninsured, in the Senate when dealing with this bill. They can’t let their partisan beliefs blind them to the needs of Texans.

Both Texans and all Americans need a healthcare bill that will both address challenges and meet needs that are unmet by the Affordable Care Act, not one that is regressing in its capacity to meet even the most basic of needs leaving even less than present covered. They need a bill that includes individual mandate, covers pre-existing conditions and doesn’t take away funding from Medicaid. Texans need their senators to forgo party lines and partisan politics and vote against this atrocious bill that would leave the citizens of Texas devastated.

Berdanier is a philosophy senior from Boulder, Colorado. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @eberdanier.