The Republican’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will result in millions of Americans being cut off from basic medical care, both physical and mental. This will cause suffering and illnesses, and even deaths that would have been prevented with basic health care, especially for those most in need. We know from the 2017 World Health Report what contributes to our happiness, and our misery—an important factor is our health, both physical and mental, and this is true as we age.
Mental illness causes misery. In a study of U.S., Australia, and Britain, mental illness is more important than poverty, unemployment, or low education in explaining misery. The most powerful policy to reduce misery is to eliminate depression and anxiety disorders, our major forms of mental illness.
Without the ACA, pregnant women, homeless people, and many others in need of critical health care will find their access to health care has disappeared, and local health clinics will not have the funds to stay open. Already the homeless and working poor families are having a hard time getting the health care they need. Mental health care for depressions and anxiety are almost nonexistent. Now the line of Americans not seeing doctors will become vastly longer. Health problems will dwarf people’s happiness, and misery will skyrocket.
Repealing the ACA also hands out billions of dollars in tax cuts for the rich. Too bad this will not make rich people happier, because higher income doesn’t increase your happiness once your income has reached a certain point (around $80,000). The United States will end up with sick kids and adults needing medical care, while the rich have more money for fancier yachts and exotic vacations. This action is immoral. We must let our Congress members know that they will be defeated in the next election if they don’t provide decent, affordable health care for all Americans.
Surely Americans want “Health care for all!” and not “More money for the rich!” Together we can move from a “closetful economy” to a “mindful economy” that provide a comfortable meaningful and healthy life for everyone.