Health care fight

7/21/2017, 1:48 p.m.

Republican efforts to dismantle health care in this nation are not over, despite the setback handed to the GOP leadership earlier this week. On Monday, a handful of their own U.S. Senate colleagues refused to go along with a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The fervor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Trump and their GOP cronies to destroy any legacy of former President Obama is dizzying. They would rather snatch the health care rug out from under millions of Americans than to acknowledge anything positive about the former president’s signature program.

We know that more than 24 million Americans have health insurance thanks to health care exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.

We also know that each attempt by the GOP to repeal Obamacare puts the health and lives of millions in jeopardy.

The fight is not over. We ask our readers and all Virginians to continue to support U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner in their efforts to protect health care for all Americans and to express thoughts about the GOP’s harmful efforts to President Trump and the GOP leadership in Washington.

On Tuesday, a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 100 million adults in the United States are living with diabetes or prediabetes. That’s 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the U.S. population, who actually have the disease, and another 84.1 million people who, if not treated, may have type 2 diabetes within five years.

We cannot stress enough the seriousness of diabetes. If not controlled, the disease puts people at risk for grave complications, including kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness and lower-limb amputations. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015.

The CDC calls it a growing health problem, with rates of the disease higher among people of color. The study found the prevalence highest among Native Americans and Alaska Natives at 15.1 percent; African-Americans, 12.7 percent; Latinos, 12.1 percent; Asians, 8 percent; and white Americans, 7.4 percent. The total cost of caring for Americans with diabetes in 2012 was $254 billion.

These statistics reinforce the critical need for and importance of the Affordable Care Act and its provision for regular preventive health screenings and its mandate that pre-existing conditions be covered.

To repeal Obamacare would be disastrous, particularly with nearly half of America’s adults having diabetes or prediabetes.

We must continue the fight to protect our health and our lives.