Silicon Valley entrepreneurs call for progress in healthcare, not just ‘reform’

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In Silicon Valley, it is unthinkable to introduce a new product that has fewer features, higher cost, and is unusable by millions of existing customers. That’s beyond absurd. The new version of the deeply flawed, Republican and now Freedom Caucus-backed, American Health Care Act makes no improvement on the original draft, and neither attempt to improve healthcare.

It cut services, increased costs to consumers, and made it inaccessible to tens of millions of ordinary Americans. It was the public policy equivalent of asking people to give up their iPhones and return to using Motorola Razrs.

{mosads}Republicans made the public claim that their goal was to provide more choice and “freedom” to Americans with the AHCA. They touted it as the less restrictive and less costly solution to ObamaCare. They continue to do the same with the new, barely changed version of the bill.


And yet they have no fundamental guiding principles, no overarching ideology that remains consistent between each iteration of the bill. In fact, the only constant in each revision of the bill is the tax cut it would provide to wealthy Americans. It’s no surprise they were so secretive about the bill– they knew that it is unlikely to obtain approval from most Americans. Perhaps some of the 1% would like it. But not us.

We think that it is wrong and regressive to push healthcare “reform” that takes away services and protections from the American people. Not only that, we think it is bad business to sell people a service that is a worse version of the what they already have.

Though ObamaCare was imperfect it still exemplified progress. It allowed people who had never had access to health insurance before to be insured for the first time and made insurance affordable for the people who need it most: those with pre-existing conditions.

The new Republican bill should have continued the progress of ObamaCare and looked to fix the things that are not working. Instead the bill continues to give tax cuts to those like us who do not need it and now will likely increase even further the number of people who lose their insurance.

Republican backers of the bill should have learned their lesson from the first time the AHCA failed. Instead, they have made the same bad bill even worse.

Congressional Republicans must start being honest with the American people. Their primary goal is to make the wealthiest Americans pay less taxes. They can call it many different things: trickle-down economics, supporting the job creators, and so on. All of this is nonsense. They should just tell the truth: they want to give money to their supporters at the expense of real progress for ordinary Americans.

Real healthcare reform should be innovative and efficient, working to correct the problems in the system and to provide better and more inexpensive care. And most importantly, its main focus should be on improving healthcare, not cutting corners to give us a tax break we don’t need.

But it does not look like Republicans have any intention of changing the AHCA into anything that resembles real healthcare reform. It seems like the only real change between the last failed iteration and the newest one is an amendment that effectively allows states to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. This is disgusting.

We had hoped that this time if they insisted on keeping the bill as regressive as they have that they would call it what it really is: the American Wealth Care Act (AWCA), the  — a regressive tax cut for the care and feeding of the wealthy.  

Rich Boberg is a serial entrepreneur, Boberg co-founded or was an early employee at several startup companies in Silicon Valley. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Innovation Quest, a nonprofit promoting entrepreneurism for the benefit of universities.

Charlie Simmons has lived in Silicon Valley for 42 years, having worked in defense electronics, commercial lasers, and then almost 10 years at Sun Microsystems. He retired from NetApp, a leading supplier of computer storage, as VP of Corporate Development.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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