Senator For Seniors
Disheartening as it is, our all-Republican congressional delegation has spent years dissing the Affordable Care Act and voting countless times in a wasted political show of disdain to end it--and all that time these reflexive partisan yes-people haven't had a clue as to what a replacement would look like. Now that the House of Representatives--in a show of fealty to President Trump and his reckless promise to repeal and replace ACA immediately upon taking office--has hurriedly trotted out a poorly conceived and politically poisonous replacement, our elected reps are forced to pay attention to the details of healthcare policy.
Not much has been heard from Senator Rounds or Congresswoman Noem, who've long been part of the GOP chorus determined to undo ACA with nary an afterthought about what would occur next. No surprise there, as neither has been much of a distinguishing force in Congress. Thanks to seniority, Thune has advanced far enough in party leadership to grab some attention now and then, though his lock-step voting behavior has been predictably partisan. That he has some public reservations about the bill says much for the growing GOP hostility toward a replacement of its own party's creation. An overhaul is likely now that enough recalcitrant Pubs in both houses may
That should be welcome news to aging South Dakotans. A study of the replacement bill by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that it would raise health insurance costs for lower- and middle-income 60-year-olds on average by $3,000/year. Considering the rapid growth of the aging population of our state (South Dakota State University calls it a "dramatic increase"), our nearly 200,000 residents aged between mid-40s and mid-60s stand to get financially hammered as the years go by if the GOP plan goes into effect. That's the aging group that probably most needs health insurance, just at a time when they're most likely to develop penny-watching retirement plans and budgets.