Skeptical about replacing Obamacare

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Several years ago, before Obamacare  was approved, I was on a fishing trip in Canada. At the lodge, I met a woman who worked for the Ontario Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

The OLCC’s job is to be the sole retailer of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

The profits from the sales are used to fund Canada’s single-payer health system.

She said she felt sorry for Americans for their antiquated health system. The poorest Indian on a Canadian reservation has better health care than many Americans.

Then she told me the story of one of her American uncles who was a farmer in Minnesota.

The uncle had a serious health problem, but because he was self-employed and not making a whole lot of money, he couldn’t afford the insurance premiums.

She said his plan was to eke out a living until he turned 65, when Medicare would kick in and he could get proper health care. He didn’t quite make it, dying at age 64.

Ironically, one of the lies invented by right-wing critics of Obamacare is about to make an appearance.

I’m talking about death panels.

However, instead of shadowy bureaucrats making decisions on who lives or dies, the new death panel will feature President-elect Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress, including our new representative, U.S. Rep.-elect State Sen. Tom Garrett.

The reason for this is the clamor for “repeal and replace.”

While I do see it’s likely for Obamacare to be repealed, I’m extremely skeptical about the replace portion.

Republicans have supposedly been working on a replacement plan since 2009, but no one has stepped up to enlighten the American people.

Trump, during his campaign, gave his usual claptrap of big promises with non-existent details.

The very serious problem is that if a replacement plan is not implemented at the same time as repeal, millions of Americans will lose their insurance while thousands will end up dying thus.

They will die because things will revert to where they were before Obamacare with sick people being unable to pay the premiums or being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

They will try to live with a serious medical condition and pray to reach age 65 to be under Medicare.

Many won’t make it.

I would like to ask Garrett what he’s going to tell the families of Americans who lose their insurance and have members die unnecessarily because he votes to repeal Obamacare without a viable replacement plan available.

Will the decedents’ epitaph be “Died prematurely due to conservative ideology”?

James Peca is a retired government analyst who lives in Farmville. His email address is