There is so much in the content and process of the new Republican- and Trump-backed health care plan, it’s hard to know where to start. The rich get richer, low-income folks lose insurance altogether, the GOP is trying to ram it through without even so much as a routine check on how much it will cost so the president’s spokesman undermines the legitimacy of the office that does the check, and it’s opposed by Democrats and uber-conservatives hate it. All in all, it’s a big, huge, stinking mess.
First, let’s look at the process. Despite what voters in states that Trump carried in the election think, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. So what creative name did the crafters of the new plan come up with? “The American Health Care Act” Very different, right? (AHCA v. ACA.)
The same Republicans who complained that Democrats “rammed the plan down Americans’ throat” are now pushing this “replacement” plan through committee without even so much as a hint from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as to how much it will cost. No matter. Just attack the CBO.
While progressives bemoan a repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with this new scheme, crazy conservatives don’t like because they don’t think it goes far enough in casting adrift lower income folks who can’t afford insurance. The ACA offered subsidies. The AHCA offers tax credits to the same people. Kentucky US Sen. Rand Paul pronounces it DOA.
It will take only two defections in the Senate to kill the bill as is. US Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) already are suspect and there could be others if Speaker Paul Ryan and company hang onto the provision that defends Planned Parenthood.
No one has any idea just how many people will lose their insurance outright under the new system but it could reach the millions. That should give pause to every American who cares about equality in this nation. This Republican plan is health care for the rich and the less fortunate be damned.