I’ve got friends who get health insurance through exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

They run small businesses. If they worked for corporations, they could get insurance through their employers, but they struck out on their own. They took entrepreneurial risks. They’re giving the American dream their best shots.

The Affordable Care Act works as a buffer. It offers access to health insurance on the individual market that’s comparable to that offered by employer-sponsored plans, though my friends don’t have employers to share the cost. They don’t like how much they pay, but they like the security the plans provide.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress say they have a better way but don’t know exactly what that is.

In his statement about the House of Representatives’ Trumpcare vote, Sen. Roger Wicker bashes Obamacare and then says, “The bill passed by the House today is an acknowledgement that we are committed to doing better. It is not the end of the conversation by any means. The Senate has yet to debate the bill and make changes, but House passage sends a signal that we are prepared to act on behalf of the American people, who deserve health-care reform that produces real benefits in their lives.”

It’s a hopeful message without any specifics. That’s understandable, since members of the House, including Rep. Trent Kelly, passed their Trumpcare bill without knowing its full effects.

It could be the best piece of legislation since the last time Mississippi needed federal disaster relief.

Or it could be a Frankenstein’s monster unleashed on one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

There were no committee hearings or debates about the final bill, because Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and his team tweaked Trumpcare until the last minute.

House members voted for their bill without getting a score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the impact proposed legislation will have on the country and its citizens. That report is due next week or the week after, but who cares? Certainly not the House of Representatives.

Republican House members have their fingerprints all over this largely unknown, cobbled-together thing. To celebrate its passage, they partied at the White House with Trump.

But others are more sober.

AARP has its concerns, so does the American Hospital Association. According to the American Medical Association, “The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question.”

Let’s hope Wicker and his Senate colleagues take their jobs more seriously than the House.

My friends who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange are good, hard-working people. They deserve more from their leaders than a Frankenstein’s monster rampaging through their lives.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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