Progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall talked with United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Republicans’ resistance to the idea of providing access to health care for all Americans.
They opened their discussion by talking about the almost $1.1 billion in rebates that insurance companies are paying out to customers because of a provision in the ACA requiring at least 80 percent of premiums be spent on medical care rather than on administrative costs.
Before the ACA, insurance companies could deny patients coverage due to pre-existing conditions and could deny certain medical practices or some health care procedures for women. Gerard recalled a case in which a woman was raped and doctors considered that a pre-existing condition.
They talked about the Republican attitude toward the sick and needy. “What they are saying is, if you’re too poor, too bad, you’re on your own.” Gerard said. “If you can’t afford health care, too bad, you’re on your own. What if I get cancer and can’t get treated? Too bad, you’re on your own.”
They recalled an incident during a Republican presidential debate in which an audience member yelled, “Let them die” during a discussion about patients who could not afford health care. No one Republican nominee stood up and said that was wrong.
“Any civilized society should be proud to do for their citizens,” said Gerard.
Click the audio link below to listen to the interview.