On the same day he voted to take insurance away from the poor, the sick, and the elderly, Dennis Ross celebrated the National Day of Prayer. In a blog post about the importance of prayer, Ross encouraged his constituents to seek the guidance of the Almighty--advice Ross himself should consider. As someone who hasn’t stepped foot in a church in years, I don’t deign to call someone a “Bad Christian,” but I can call bullshit when I see it.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), or “Trumpcare,” is a slap in the face to the Christian ideals professed by Dennis Ross. If the bill becomes law, his constituents with pre-existing conditions risk finding themselves priced out of the marketplace and subjected to exorbitant insurance price hikes. The AHCA, under the MacArthur amendment, keeps the requirement that insurers must offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, but it does not require that it be affordable. Additionally, funding to Medicaid — and by way of our complicated healthcare system, Medicare beneficiaries — would be reduced by a staggering $880 billion. 11 million people across the nation, the poorest and sickest, would be the victims of the devastating effects of this cut. These are disabled individuals, the elderly, and the very sick — people who need help with daily activities like bathing, eating, and going to the bathroom. Though he says we should all kneel humbly before the Lord, Dennis Ross is not aiding the least of these in his role as a public servant.
In FL-15, Congressman Ross’s district, The Center for American Progress predicts an additional 68,000 people would lose coverage by 2026. 14,000 of these losses would come from people with employer-sponsored health insurance under Obamacare. Ross aims to make life harder for these working individuals, to make it more difficult for them to make ends meet, and to force those with small savings to live paycheck to paycheck in the future if, god forbid, they get sick.
This is in contrast to the benefits received by wealthy individuals under AHCA. Given the $600 billion tax cut targeted at the most wealthy, it would be more accurate to describe AHCA as a tax cut rather than health care reform. In case you were wondering where much of that $880 billion cut to Medicaid services that help the elderly feed themselves went, here’s your answer.
Ross joins the ranks of others in his party who bowed to back-door dealing, who have straight-up lied about the effects of this bill, and who chose to fall in line with their party rather than represent the best interests of their constituents. The effects of the AHCA are either unknown (because they didn’t wait for a review by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office) or clearly outlined by those who know more about this than Dennis Ross does. Paul Ryan likes to claim this bill puts the patient first. Yet if that’s the case, why do the groups who are closest to the patients--the American Medical Association, AARP, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Nurses Association--oppose the healthcare bill representative Ross voted for?
In his support of this cruel bill, Ross exhibits the behavior that drives young people away from the church in droves. Millennials such as myself who spent foundational years in the Christian community see the inherent hypocrisy in what is espoused from the pulpit but disregarded behind a political podium by people who claim to represent both. Ross referenced Psalms 145 in his call to prayer, and I can’t help but wonder if he read it all. For are we not all children of God, made in his image and called to act like Christ?
By voting for the American Health Care Act, which disproportionately affects those who Christians are called to protect, Dennis Ross has acted in no way like Christ. On this day of prayer and worship, I encourage you to pray for Congressman Ross. Because if the Almighty attempted to provide him with guidance, I don’t think he heard.