From the Rabbi: When Healthcare is a Tax Cut for the Rich – and Why I’m Not Quoting Torah or Talmud in this Message

Question: When does a healthcare bill equal a tax cut for the rich? Answer: Well, yesterday, apparently.

Yes, the so-called healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives still has to go to the Senate… but no one can predict what the Senate will do. And even if they change it for the better, that’s not really the point. Because this bill is an inhumane and immoral assault on the American public. Here’s why:

First, this bill is opposed by virtually every major medical and healthcare advocacy association in the country, including: the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, the March of Dimes, the American Public Health Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons. No wonder. The bill allows states to opt out of requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Here is a list of just some of those conditions: cancer, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, depression/bi-polar disorder… oh, and pregnancy, a prior C-section, and sexual assault!

In addition, the bill no longer obligates big companies to provide insurance to their employees. It allows insurers to charge seniors up to five times more for the same coverage as non-seniors. And, Medicaid will be cut but nearly 900 billion dollars – meaning that over 70 million people on Medicaid now will lose it – and the poorest of the poor will suffer the most from these cuts – and so will the hospitals who will once again have people with no insurance pouring into their emergency rooms – and then, so will we all suffer, as more area hospitals close because they cannot afford to stay open under these circumstances (and nurses, doctors, social workers, technicians, administrators, maintenance staff, etc., lose their jobs).

And what about the tax cut? This bill gives a tax cut to people earning over $250,000 a year. What does a tax cut have to do with healthcare? Nothing really. But part of the way the Affordable Care Act was funded was through an increase in taxes on those earning over $250,000 a year. This tax cut and the gigantic, draconian cut to Medicaid are in this bill in order to pay for the House upcoming “Tax Reform” bill. According to MIT Professor of Economics, Jonathan Gruber, this is the largest legislative redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich in US history.

Sorry, but tax cuts to the wealthy do not equal healthcare, and there is something truly morally depraved about voting for a bill that denies and/or charges more for healthcare to our nation’s most vulnerable – the sick, the poor, the elderly. And while there’s no shortage of quotes from Torah and Talmud to teach us about how we are to treat our most vulnerable members of society, tell me, do you really need one to know that this is wrong?

Let me know what you think.

B’Chazakv’Ameytz/With Strength and Courage,
Rabbi Susan

Published in Rabbi Susan's Blog on May 5, 2017