A look inside Jim Jordan’s Obamacare replacement plan

by Josie Setzler | People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County | March 2, 2017

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When Jim Jordan took questions from a crowd at the Harding Home in Marion last week, he told us, “Health care gets better and costs less when Obamacare is gone.”  He offered no explanation for how this might happen.  Just a few days earlier, Jordan had joined with other House conservatives in the Freedom Caucus to back Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Act (S. 222).  What’s in this plan?

Does Jordan’s plan make healthcare affordable?

The plan offers a $5000 nonrefundable tax credit to every taxpayer, regardless of how the taxpayer gets his/her insurance.  Even Jim Jordan, who is provided excellent benefits as a member of Congress, is eligible for this credit.  The money must be placed in a health savings account.  This nonrefundable tax credit is limited to your tax bill.  If you are low income and don’t pay income taxes, you get nothing.

For example, a couple with two young children and a family income of $40,000 would owe zero taxes, thus receiving no subsidy to buy health insurance under the plan Jordan endorses.  Meanwhile a childless couple earning $150,000 would receive the full tax credit of $5,000 per person ($10,000 total) to place in their Health Savings Accounts.  If they are insured through their employers, their out of pocket costs might be far lower than this.  Not to worry, however. The Rand Paul plan allows HSA money to pay for lots of upper middle class goodies, like exercise equipment, gym memberships, personal trainers, nutritional supplements, medical concierge services, and more.

In the Rand Paul plan, we find a familiar theme: the rich get richer.  Meanwhile, many low income workers will lose their healthcare.

What about pre-existing conditions?  Jordan assured the crowd in Marion that they would be covered.  The truth is more complicated.  In the first two years of the law, no one would be excluded.  After the first two years, however, it’s back to the old rules before Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The Paul plan restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions rules that were enacted in the 90’s.  These rules depended on maintaining continuous coverage, and many people had difficulty meeting the conditions.  Those anxious times would return under the plan that Jordan endorses.

What happens to coverage for maternity care or mental health care?  The Paul plan repeals requirements for essential health benefits like these.  If a woman is buying an individual health plan and wants maternity coverage, she will pay dearly for it.

What about other GOP healthcare plans?

If Jordan and the other members of the Freedom Caucus don’t get their way, what else are Republicans proposing?  Republicans are designing their plans around three reform concepts:

  1. Basing tax credits on age instead of income.
  2. Penalizing those who experience lapses in coverage.
  3. Scaling back Medicaid expansion

The plan will be worse for people who are poorer and sicker, and better for people who are richer and healthier. According to an analysis commissioned by the National Governors’ Association, millions of people near the poverty line and those with poor health may not receive enough tax credit to afford the coverage they need.

This graph from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the difference between the Obamacare income-based tax credits and the proposed age-based tax credits.  Notice that the Obamacare credits shown in dark blue are larger at the low income side of the diagram, while the Republican plan credits shown in gold are uniform across all three income levels shown.

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The Republican plan gives the same tax credit to everyone regardless of his or her need.  Because the subsidies are not means-tested, they are likely to increase the deficit above and beyond Obamacare costs.  Yet the plan will not expand coverage, since credits are being given to people who can afford coverage without them.

What values shall we embrace?

Obamacare was developed as an answer to Americans’ concerns about people who couldn’t afford healthcare.  We value taking care of the most vulnerable among us: children, low income workers, the poor, sick, and aging.  Meanwhile Republicans like Jim Jordan are reluctant to provide that help.  They agonize over creating new “entitlements.”  Rand Paul says he favors a smaller tax credit that “not everyone” would get.

Not everyone, indeed.  Republicans apparently regard healthcare as a privilege, not a human right.  That’s why they seem to be ok with denying healthcare to many people who provide assistance for their daily lives, like the folks who serve them coffee at the fast food drive thru, the waitress who brings them their lunch, or the janitor who cleans their office.  In Republican eyes, it would seem that healthcare is a ‘privilege’ these people have not earned.  Many Americans beg to differ.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and ratified by the U.S. has this to say about medical care:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate to the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…..” Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25

If Republicans are unwilling to honor these rights through the Affordable Care Act, then I suggest they check out a bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers along with 61 cosponsors, H.R. 676 Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.  Learn more about the cost-effective and humane single payer approach to healthcare from SPAN-Ohio.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said generations ago, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”  The moment is urgent; we must speak out now to defend healthcare for all Americans.

Note:  Rep. Jim Jordan’s constituents in Ohio District 4 have an opportunity to speak up at Jordan’s Norwalk office on March 7 at 11 am.  Join us for this demonstration and meeting with Jordan’s aide.  Read more and RSVP here.

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March events

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People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County
Monthly Meeting: March 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
First United Church of Christ, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont
All are welcome!

Our meeting begins with a potluck. Over dinner we’ll start with report backs from any of you who have attended events or taken action since our last meeting.  We’ll talk about the possibility of sponsoring a fair booth this summer.  And we’ll finish the evening with a half hour video about the Danish resistance to Hitler during World War II  from the PBS series A Force More Powerful.

By the way, our regular weekly vigils for peace and justice continue, weather permitting.  They take place 4:00 – 5:00 pm every Wednesday except the third Wednesday (when we have our monthly meeting) at the corner of Front and State in Fremont.  When Daylight Savings Time begins (March 12) we will change our schedule to 4:30 – 5:30 pm.

Upcoming event: Demonstration and meeting on healthcare at Rep. Jim Jordan’s Norwalk office, Tuesday, March 7, 11:00 am. We will be meeting with Jordan’s aide, Neil Lynch, to challenge Jordan’s statements about his healthcare plan. When Jordan took questions from a crowd at the Harding Home in Marion last week, he told us, “Health care gets better and costs less when Obamacare is gone.” We know that is patently false. He claimed that pre-existing conditions will be covered, but the truth is that in the final analysis his plan will take us back to the dark, old days before Obamacare. If you would like to give your comments or personal story at the meeting with his aide, we will make you a part of the meeting. If the room is not big enough for all who would like to speak, we will cycle people in and out. Meanwhile the rest of us will demonstrate in front of his office. Please bring signs related to healthcare. We will alert the media. Questions? Email Josie at fremontpeace@gmail.com.

We invite you to join us for one or more of our March events!

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PPJ Meeting Feb. 15

People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County (PPJ)

Monthly Meeting this Wednesday, Feb. 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

First UCC, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont
All are welcome!

6:30 pm – Our meeting begins with a potluck.  We will discuss business and announcements over dinner.  In particular, we’ll share opportunities for resisting the Trump agenda.  Please bring any ideas, efforts, or events you’d like to discuss.

7:30 pm – We’ll view a half hour film segment from the PBS series, A Force More Powerful.  This segment portrays how a grassroots people’s movement helped bring down the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile.  We’ll look for and discuss elements of active nonviolence that contributed to this campaign.  We believe it’s the right time to learn what history can teach us about people power.

All are welcome to attend and bring a friend!  If you’d rather have dinner before you come, we encourage you nevertheless to enjoy a cup of coffee or soft drink and dessert with us and join the conversation.
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Ask Governor Kasich to veto the anti-BDS bill HB 476

Please contact the governor (http://governor.ohio.gov/) to protect boycott as a means of nonviolent action for human rights.

Project Peace

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Last week over 20 Ohioans, including members of Project Peace and Northwest Ohio Free Speech Alliance, traveled to the Ohio Statehouse to give testimony opposing House Bill 476, the bill to prohibit a state agency from contracting with for-profit entities that divest from or boycott Israel.   In spite of our best efforts, the bill was rushed through the lame duck session of the Ohio General Assembly and is now sitting on Governor Kasich’s desk.  Will you call him this week to ask him to veto the bill?

House Bill 476 is a response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It runs counter to the core values of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions. The bill punishes economic boycotts, which are entirely lawful acts of free speech. It interferes with US foreign policy and rampantly violates Ohioans’ free speech rights.

If passed, any company, including all for-profit sole…

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Lessons on affordable health care

Great work by our friend from Fostoria, Jim Bailey!

Tiffin Area Pax Christi

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Pax Christi member Jim Bailey’s letter to the editor was published in the Review-Times on Nov. 14.  His analysis of the healthcare issue is outstanding.  Keep this letter for reference as the new administration attempts to “reform” the system.  Thanks, Jim!

November 10, 2016

Review Times

To the Editor,

The Affordable Care Act (aka,”Obamacare”) received much undeserved negative attention in the recent presidential campaign.  While “Obamacare” is imperfect, it is a significant improvement on what America had before.  This is true because of the millions of people who have gained health care coverage  and because there are less excuses for insurance companies to deny coverage.  For example a pre-existing condition can no longer be used as a reason to deny coverage.

Despite these improvements there are still significant life threatening deficiencies in our health care system.

Every other rich country has made the moral decision to guarantee health care to…

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In troubled times we find our way in community

At last night’s PPJ meeting, we began talking about the Trump era and how we respond collectively, that is, from community.  We began with a go-round in which everyone shared what was foremost in their minds and hearts as they confront the specter of the Trump presidency.  Several members expressed their concerns about racism, xenophobia, and hate stoked by this election. As we finished going around the circle, Dave Pasch urged us on to action, insisting we cannot accomplish anything as lone individuals looking at our television screens.  Instead we need to work together with others, and this group is our place to start.

With that segue, we were ready to brainstorm ideas for mobilizing.  Here is our (tentative and partial) list for future consideration:

  • Women’s march on Washington – Jan. 21
    • See this Washington Post article.  It states “Women and men across the country plan to participate in a “Women’s March on Washington” in the nation’s capital the day after the inauguration as a rebuke to President-elect Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks about women and minorities during his presidential campaign.”
    • See the  Public Facebook page for the event to read the organizers’ Official Statement (or scroll down to the addendum at the end of this post.)  Search Facebook for the Ohio page for this event to learn about transportation.
  • Fremont:  Martin Luther King Day Breakfast and March, Jan. 16.  The Fremont chapter of the NAACP is sponsoring this event and will provide details at a later date.   We are considering marching behind our group’s banner to show solidarity.
  • Run for state and local office or recruit others.  Many incumbents ran unopposed this time.
  • Political Party involvement – Local political parties should be truly communities that foster relationships and stand ready to advocate and serve local residents, not just at election time but always.  For those who are interested, local Democratic party meetings are the 4th Thursday, 6:30 pm, at the Board of Elections.
  • Getting money out of elections.  Members still want to work with the national and state movement, Move to Amend.  Dave J. will be reporting back about the latest state wide actions we can join.  Current advice is to visit our state legislators.  We’ll be looking for folks to form a delegation and for a delegation leader.
  • Abolishing the Electoral College.  Amy will be reporting back about how we can get involved.
  • Supreme Court nominees.  When the time comes, many of our members would like to advocate with our senators.  We will need to learn more about becoming effective advocates.  Our website has a page about Legislative Advocacy with advice and contact info.
  • Personal response to hate talk or hate acts we witness.  Here’s some good advice: what-to-do-if-witnessing-harrassment

Our next meeting will be Dec. 21, beginning with a 6:30 pm potluck, at First UCC, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont.  We will continue to flesh out these ideas and determine if there are other causes or mobilizations to bring to the group’s attention.  Please pass the word.  We welcome new members!

Addendum:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT, National Organizers Women’s March on Washington

On January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

 

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Time to Mobilize? Responding in the Age of Trump

Our meeting is coming up this Wednesday, Nov. 16.   It begins with a 6:30 potluck and ends at approximately 8:30.  We meet at First United Church of Christ, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont.  You are welcome to invite friends.

We will hold a roundtable discussion to learn what members view as the most pressing concerns arising from the election of Donald Trump.   Then we’ll proceed to our major question:  What shall we do in response both as individuals and as a group?

We would like to support each other in our personal responses, and we would especially like to explore what we can do as a group (either locally or as part of a larger mobilization).  Our Facebook page has a few useful links about what people can do next.  Here are two of them:
Dave Pasch will update us on what Bernie Sanders is organizing through his movement, Our Revolution.  You may have other suggestions you’d like to share.

Last week, we shared an email with you from the Cleveland Catholic Worker that operates a drop-in center in a poor neighborhood.  They are out of blankets, coats, boots, hats, gloves, toiletries, sleeping bags, etc. for the homeless who come to them.  If you’d like to donate any items, please bring them to the meeting.  Thanks!

Peace and solidarity,

Josie
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about the difference between a one-off protest and a larger campaign or movement, please read:
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