I lowered my head and prayed yesterday as I watched the votes roll in for the American Health Care Act. I wondered, how can elected leaders vote on a plan without knowing its impact, it’s total cost, or its benefits? How could they, in good conscience, believe that agreeing to something blindly is the right way to protect any American?
By the time my prayer was over, the tally was in and the measure passed in the House. I watched as President Trump heralded Republicans for a bill that will allow states to get a waiver to let insurers off the hook for covering people with pre-existing conditions. I wondered how the same man who denounced discrimination just hours before could applaud a bill that is biased towards the chronically ill. Before the vote, President Trump signed the Religious Freedom Bill. He said his administration wouldn’t allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, silenced or discriminated against again. Was his outrage over oppression genuine? Or, is it reserved for people who shared the same income, values or political views?
Of course, the executive order the president signed relaxes the tax rules for religious organizations and the rules regarding punishing them for participating in political campaigns. Conservatives hope this will mean more money in their pockets and speaking opportunities. In the meantime, the AHCA they support will take more money from the working poor, elderly, and chronically ill Americans. Aren’t the people affected by the AHCA the same ones religious leaders should be striving to protect and help?
The AHCA will also defund Planned Parenthood, removing medical care options. Conservatives see this as a victory for family values and the right to life movement. But, who will care for sick children born to parents without health care? What kind of quality of life will they have without proper medical attention?
I can only assume the President has decided the sick will survive on faith if the AHCA passes in the Senate. Or, perhaps his administration is sending message that discrimination against the sick is okay if it’s good for his political clout.